Capitol Police Arrest 86 Protesters

Posted April 28, 2009 at 2:14pm

Capitol Police arrested 86 protesters this morning, herding a group of mostly wheelchair-users off the Hill.

Members of Adapt, a disability advocacy group, had blocked the intersections at New Jersey and Independence avenues Southeast and at Delaware and Constitution avenues Northeast.

Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said 30 people were arrested on the House side of the Capitol and 56 were apprehended outside the Senate side. All were charged with unlawful assembly, she said.

Organizers led the crowd in a chant of “I’d rather go to jail than die in a nursing home— as protesters were escorted down Delaware Avenue Northeast.

“People say, You don’t have to go to jail, you can come in and have a meeting,’— said Amber Smock, a volunteer media coordinator for the group. “Well, Adapt has been doing this for 15 years. We’ve had a lot of meetings.—

The demonstration is part of a three-day campaign to push lawmakers to pass the Community Choice Act, which Smock said would allow low-income families more options in daily living assistance for disabled loved ones.

Medicaid subscribers are now often forced to go into nursing homes or institutions because their insurance will not cover at-home care, according to Smock.

Ninety-one Adapters were arrested Monday after people chained themselves to the fence outside the White House in an attempt to push the Obama administration to get behind their cause.

Representatives from Adapt met with Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, and officials from the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, according to Smock. But the protesters were there to reinforce the message.

“[The] administration needs to put the muscle into getting Congress to push this legislation,— Smock said.

Adapt will partner with the SEIU tomorrow for a rally in Upper Senate Park. Protesters will march from their hotel, the Holiday Inn on C Street Southwest, to the park at 10:30 a.m.

They expect to hear from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) before dispersing to various Members’ offices to make their case for the Community Choice Act, Smock said.