Augusta police ask protesters to work with city to avoid violating ordinances

Published: Apr. 29, 2020 at 3:01 PM EDT
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A state representative who helped organize a protest last week in Augusta urging Gov. Janet Mills to reopen the state's economy received a warning letter from the city's police chief for not following city ordinances.

Police Chief Jared Mills is asking protesters to work with the city and said his department is not looking to prevent people's right to demonstrate.

Mills said the city requires protest organizers to coordinate with police if the demonstration will have more than 200 people present.

A Patriots' Day demonstration held outside the Blaine House had more than 200 people. Mills said the coordination is needed so police can set up roadblocks and make sure everyone is spaced out in an ideal location.

Mills said a letter to state Rep. Chris Johansen informing him the protest violated city rules.

Mills said he is willing to work with organizers so they are still able to protest while abiding by city ordinances.

"My fear is that people are misunderstanding that if they come out they're going to get arrested by us for exercising their constitutional right, and that will never happen," Mills said.

Mills said no action was taken against Johansen. The letter was meant to provide information on Augusta's ordinances regarding mass gatherings.