Georgia MassResistance activist arrested and jailed for LEGALLY protesting against LGBT agenda in front of State Capitol
Humiliating treatment by police and jail authorities
Absurd, contrived charges filed against her
But she is still not backing down
Part 3 of 3
March 29, 2018
[UPDATE: Marquitta's court hearing will be taking place this summer. The specific date has not been scheduled. She has legal counsel.]
One of our most cherished freedoms is the right to peacefully protest our public officials. But what happens when they don’t like your politically incorrect message? In Georgia, apparently, they can just suddenly arrest you using contrived charges, humiliate you, and throw you in jail. What you are about to read is a civil rights nightmare.
Marquitta R. Ford, a courageous Georgia MassResistance activist, was arrested and jailed and humiliated by the authorities after legally protesting against the LGBT agenda in front of the Georgia State Capitol, and demanding protection from the government. She had been demonstrating on the same spot – a public sidewalk – for nearly three months and had previously been assured by police that it was legal to be there.
Marquitta has been protesting and lobbying public officials because businesses in Georgia have begun allowing men in women’s restrooms – and the government refuses to take action to protect women. Even though she’s only 5 feet tall, she backs down to nobody!
Our report on this outrageous incident has been presented in three parts. Part 1 described the horror stories of men in women’s bathrooms that Marquitta and others endured. Part 2 described her tireless protests and lobbying of politicians, churches, and others. Here in Part 3 you’ll read about her bizarre and unlawful arrest and jailing.
Protesting outside the Georgia State Capitol
Starting in mid-October 2017, Marquitta regularly protested with a sign on the wide sidewalk outside the Georgia State Capitol building. Early on she had been told by a State Police officer that if she kept moving while holding the sign – going back and forth on that sidewalk area – it was perfectly legal. So that’s what she always did.
By late January, State Reps and aides would recognize her and speak to her. Several told her they supported what she was doing. She was also told that a photo of her and her sign was circulating around the State Capitol. She was clearly making her statement heard inside that building! But all of this apparently bothered some powerful people.
Here is what Marquitta related to us:
On Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, Marquitta protested in the same spot as usual.
She arrived about 1:30 pm. An hour or so later a black unmarked SUV pulled up and stopped next to her. There was a policemen inside. He opened his window and told Marquitta that she was not allowed to protest on that sidewalk. He briskly told her to go and protest in a park across the street from the other side of the Capitol building.
Marquitta told him “No.” She said it was a public sidewalk and she had every right to peacefully protest there – and that she had been doing so since October. He told her that if she didn’t leave, she’d go to jail. Then he made a phone call. Marquitta continued her protest.
Absurd show of force against a lone woman
Soon another policeman pulled up, got out of his car, and went over to talk with the officer in the black SUV.
A few seconds later a group of about a dozen police officers came out from the Capitol, and stood near her. She recognized several of them as the same officers who had previously allowed her to protest there. She told them she wasn’t leaving. Then more police cars pulled up and 4 or 5 more officers approached her.
There were at least 15-20 police officers on the scene. Most were Capitol police, but there were also Georgia State Troopers and Atlanta city police. Five of them surrounded her and the others stood a few feet away.
Marquitta not only stood her ground, but she explained to the police in detail why she was there. She told them about her restroom experiences and her attempts to engage politicians. She made sure they all knew exactly what she was protesting.
The officer in the black SUV then drove off. Immediately a Police K-9 unit pulled up with its lights flashing as if Marquitta was a drug dealer. “I think the point was to humiliate me while onlookers drove by,” she told us. “It was made to look like I was a violent criminal.”
One of the police in the group was the officer who, back in October after confronting her, had phoned his chief and was told that Marquitta had a right to protest on that sidewalk. Marquitta glared at him and told the other police about that. He turned his head away, clearly ashamed.
A few of the officers continued to tell her to go to the park and protest. Marquitta said she knew her rights and refused to leave, and continued to discuss the the issue with them. Finally, one of the officers standing behind her handcuffed her arms in back of her. They took her sign, which she had put down while she was talking with them.
She was not read any Miranda rights. Instead, one of the officers told her that “Fulton County Jail is one of the worst jails in the nation for women,” and that she would be there 48 hours before she would get a chance to go in front of a judge. Marquitta did not reply. He then took everything out of her pockets, and others went through her bag and took her cell phone and everything else. Then she was put in the back seat of a squad car.
One of the policemen, who identified himself as Officer Robinson, sat in the front seat and phoned another officer. They were trying to figure out what charges to bring against Marquitta. It seemed like they were not very sure.
Marquitta then looked through the rearview mirror and saw an officer take a photo of her sign and then rolled up her sign and put it a nearby trash receptacle.
Horror at the Fulton County Jail
It certainly appeared that they wanted to teach Marquitta a lesson.
When they got to the Fulton County Jail Marquitta had to wait in the back of the car for about 40 minutes. This was particularly painful because she has a metal rod in her hip, and needed to stretch.
Then, when she was taken inside, they immediately made her go through a strip search. She told us:
"So I had to get completely naked in front of a female guard. I had to squat down and cough to prove I had nothing in my vagina or my rectum – HORRIBLE."
Marquitta was very upset. Then, while waiting to be booked, she was put in a waiting area that was mixed with men and women, not sex-segregated.
For the rest of the day and all night long, she was put in a four different holding cells along with several deranged women. As she told us:
"One woman supposedly had AIDS and was in the first holding cell with me. In the second holding cell one woman licked cell windows, sexually suggestively dancing, singing and making outbursts. Another woman was rolling over on her food and then eating it off the floor because she was experiencing detox from coming down from her cocaine high. Another woman sat directly next to me and she made outbursts and was attempting to provoke a fight constantly with another inmate."
But more than anything else, she was infuriated and angry that her rights had been violated.
The following morning at 9:00 a.m. she was brought into court. It was a quick process. However, the judge seemed confused about the charges. Even the public defender was asking if a vehicle was involved. “Throughout the process, everyone could sense something was wrong,” Marquitta told us.
The judge granted her a “signature bond.” Theoretically, she was free to go. But it continued to be difficult for Marquitta. The Fulton County Jail authorities kept her locked up there until 6:30 p.m. to “finish processing” her. And to get her belongings back, she had to go to a separate building in downtown Atlanta a few days later.
Marquitta’s 20-year-old son wanted to attend his mother’s hearing. It was unexpectedly changed from the county courthouse to a hearing room in the jail. When her son finally got there, he was told that family members were not allowed inside the hearing room. We spoke to him about it; he was quite upset. This was particularly outrageous.
Terribly bogus charges
When Marquitta got into court she was stunned to discover the bogus charges that Officer Robinson had filed against her. We have never seen anything like this.
- Traffic citation – but no vehicles were involved. Marquitta’s charges were in the form of an automobile traffic citation – for a person who had committed a crime with a vehicle! But no vehicles were involved. Marquitta was standing alone on the sidewalk, not the street. Marquitta does not drive a car or own a car.
The traffic citation lists Marquitta’s driver’s license number and her license class is listed as “C”. These are bogus. Marquitta does not even have a driver’s license. The officer wrote in her Georgia State ID number as if it were a driver’s license number. The citation says the offense took place on “blacktop.” The sidewalk is white concrete.
- Ridiculous charge of “Obstruction.” On the traffic citation is a line item for “Offense (other than above).” Officer Robinson filled in 16-11-34.1 of the Georgia State Statutes, which is “Preventing or disrupting General Assembly sessions or other meetings of members; unlawful activities within the state capitol or certain Capitol Square buildings.”
The pertinent part of Statute 16-11-34.1 is:
“(c) It shall be unlawful for any person purposely or recklessly and without authority of law to obstruct any street, sidewalk, hallway, office, or other passageway in that area designated as Capitol Square by Code Section 50-2-28 in such a manner as to render it impassable without unreasonable inconvenience or hazard or to fail or refuse to remove such obstruction after receiving a reasonable official request or the order of a peace officer to do so.”
The sidewalk where Marquitta was protesting was quite wide and was never crowded. No one could seriously claim, or ever did claim, that Marquitta was obstructing anything or anyone in any way. This charge is absurd.
- Disrupting lawful meetings? On the Court documents, the charge against Marquitta lists the parent statute of the original charge: Statute 16-11-34, which is titled “Preventing or disrupting lawful meetings, gatherings, or processions.” This appears to be a purposeful deception by the Prosecutor’s office.
- Other mistakes. In some places in the court documentation Marquitta’s name was misspelled and other information not entered properly. She found this upsetting.
Sealing of Marquitta’s court records
On Feb. 23, 2018, Marquitta called the courthouse to find out about the status of her case. The clerk informed her that her case information suddenly had a lock symbol beside it and could not be opened. She was given no reason for that. A few days later she called again and was told that that the court is probably “protecting” her information from the public (even from her)! She is very suspicious about this.
This is bigger than just an “obstruction” charge
The right to peaceably protest is enshrined in our Constitution and legal system. When the government decides to arbitrarily and without warning deny a politically incorrect message it doesn’t like – and oppress and humiliate the protester – we are all in trouble. This is not just Marquitta’s battle; it is a battle for all of us.
A lot has been written about this because it’s becoming a problem (particularly for conservatives). Last year, the Georgia Law Review published an interesting paper, You Have the Right to Free Speech: Retaliatory Arrests and the Pretext of Probable Cause.
What happens next
Marquitta R. Ford is an outstanding Georgia MassResistance activist, she is fearless, articulate, passionate about protecting people, and does not back down to anyone. She is a devout Christian. And she really understands what the radical LGBT movement is doing to society. We are lucky to have her in our ranks. We all need to come to her aid in this terrible situation.
This past week she was told that her next court date will probably be in late April.
Right now, Marquitta does not have a lawyer to represent her. And in fact, because of the “LGBT” nature of this case most lawyers may not be inclined to zealously defend her.
Moreover, there is a serious Constitutional part of this case that should be addressed in court. It calls for an attorney who will pursue this aggressively.
Marquitta has contacted several pro-bono conservative law groups, but has unfortunately been turned down by all of them. But we are not giving up. We are dedicated to standing by Marquitta.
We will keep you up to date as the court hearing nears.