In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Amber Frazier, a member of Lewis’ group, asked for funds to cover legal costs. The Rev. Cornell Lewis, a longtime Hartford activist, is leading the group that is planning the occupation.
Lewis responded: “We are not kidding around.”
Frazier’s post reads: “**Attention Activist** We will be needing funds to pay bond for those of us who will be arrested while occupying the Amazon site in Windsor CT. We will be setting up a donation site soon. They will have to taze us. They will have to beat us. They will have to drag us away.”
As of this morning, the group raised $415, with a goal of $5,890.
In an interview on Thursday, Lewis said it was his idea to start the fundraiser.
“We want to be prepared in case we are dragged off to jail or incarcerated or we are hit with certain charges during and after the occupation of the Amazon construction site,” he said. “We’ve made it clear that they’re going to have to beat us, drag us, and taze us off that property. … We look like we’re going to be charged.”
The group is responding to the discovery of nooses on the construction site this spring. Town officials have said that two ropes were fashioned into nooses, while six others could have been interpreted as something else.
Lewis said the group could get fined, but it might be more likely that they would have to be forcefully removed from the property.
Police and the FBI are investigating, surveillance has been increased at the site, and there’s a $100,000 reward offered for information on the incidents.
“If they want us off the property, that’s what’s going to have to happen,” he said on Thursday. “They think we’re joking, and we’re not.”
Lewis met with Mayor Donald Trinks and Town Manager Peter Souza last week to discuss his concerns about the Amazon site and come to a resolution.
Subsequently, town leaders reached out to Amazon to see if they would meet with Lewis to discuss his concerns, but Lewis has yet to hear back from Amazon.
“I think they’re just stalling. They don’t believe we’re going to do anything,” he said. “Fine with me. They want a fight, they got one.”
Trinks said Thursday that town leaders are attempting to resolve the issue amicably, adding that the actions of Lewis and others who disrupted last month’s event are not constructive.
“I don’t think crashing a peace rally with bull horns and loud voices is a way to get what you really want,” Trinks said. “I somewhat disagree with his methods. I don’t know that having anybody get arrested will help us move forward.”
In an interview Thursday, Frazier said the group is raising money because they are starting to use unconventional methods that could land some members in jail.
Trinks said that he is hopeful physical and verbal confrontations can be avoided.
Frazier said there could be anywhere between 20 and 100 people at the site once the group chooses a date, but “we’re aiming for 50.”
“I think the bond money is necessary at this point because we are upping our tactics,” she said, but added that she hopes nobody gets hurt when the group occupies the Amazon site.
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