MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Five people connected to the Save Our Selves for Justice and Democracy group held a news conference in front of the Montgomery Police Department Monday before going inside to turn themselves in on pending arrest warrants.
MPD filed the warrants Thursday and Friday following a “die in” protest on the steps of the Alabama Capitol that included a message spray painted on the street.
Warrants were filed against Karen Jones, 45, and Johnny Ford, 77, on Thursday. On Friday, MPD added three additional warrants for John Zippert, 74, Faya Rose Toure, 75, and Juan McFarland II, 25.
The protest was part of the group’s ongoing efforts to get the state to expand Medicaid. Black Lives Matter also took part in the protest, taking turns lying down for eight minutes and forty-six seconds to protest the death of George Floyd.
“We must save lives, here in Alabama and across the country,” Ford said Monday. “I am prepared to be arrested. I am prepared to go to jail. I am prepared to demonstrate and do whatever is necessary to expand Medicaid and save lives of working poor people of all races in Alabama.”
“This is about saving hundreds of lives each year and thousands of lives since we began advocating for the expansion of Medicaid in Alabama,” Toure added. “It is terrible when pavement is valued more than lives.”
Each is charged with one misdemeanor count of “Deface any Public Building or Public Property” for spray painting “Black Lives Matter, Expand Medicaid” on the road.
Police said the paint was deemed non-compliant because organizers failed to request and obtain proper permitting and prior approval, which resulted in a crew being dispatched to the area.