Ithaca, N.Y. — A grandmother from Ithaca charged in connection with a peaceful drones protest at the Syracuse Hancock Air Base was given the maximum one-year jail sentence on Thursday, according to multiple reports.
Mary Anne Grady-Flores, 58, was charged with second-degree criminal contempt in February 2013 for violating an order of protection that barred her from going near Col. Earl Evans, according to The Syracuse Post-Standard.
Grady-Flores’ sister said that Grady-Flores was unaware that her actions that day constituted a violation of the order of protection, The Post-Standard reported.
Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman said that Grady-Flores’ role was limited to taking photographs of the drones protest from the roadway “beyond what she believed was the base’s boundary.”
“She was later told the base’s property extended into the road,” Goodman reported.
Judge David Gideon handed down the ruling, according to the Syracuse Peace Council.
Grady-Flores was escorted out by law enforcement after the ruling was announced. Her more than 100 supporters in the courtroom were “stunned as she was led away,” said Jim Murphy in a post at the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
A video posted by “Cris McConkey Productions” of the sentencing shows the reaction from Grady-Flores’ supporters and friends. (See around the 1:00:00 mark in the video above.)
“I find this to be serious because of the continued violations of the orders of this court,” Judge Gideon said, according to the video. Gideon also noted that Grady-Flores twice did not pay fines and surcharges ordered by the court, The Post-Standard said.
“She’s appealing the verdict,” Democracy Now’s Goodman said, “earlier in the day, her supporters walked six miles from the drone base to the courtroom carrying a coffin bearing the words, ‘First Amendment.’”
This is how Grady-Flores finished her speech at the courtroom on Thursday, according to Murphy’s report:
“… who is the real victim here: the commander of a military base whose drones kill innocent people halfway around the world, or those innocent people themselves who are the real ones in need of protection from the terror of US drone attacks?
As I, a nonviolent grandmother of three and caregiver for my mother, prepare for jail – itself a perversion – I stand before you remorseful, less for what I have done than for what I have not yet done to keep my own country from perpetrating its ongoing acts of violence and injustice.