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Boston judge says protester was ‘wrongfully arrested’ outside Mayor Wu’s home for ordinance violation

Shannon Llewellyn was arrested in late April for “willful violation” of the city ordinance, which prohibits targeted residential demonstrations between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

A woman talks with police officers during a demonstration outside the Roslindale home of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Jan. 25, 2022. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

A judge reportedly dropped a charge against a woman last week who was the first protester to be arrested outside of Mayor Michelle Wu’s home after city officials passed an ordinance limiting when targeted residential picketing can take place.

Shannon Llewellyn was arrested in late April for “willful violation” of this ordinance, according to a police report.

The controversial ordinance, proposed by Wu and backed by the City Council in a 9-4 vote in March, prohibits any demonstrations that target a specific residence between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.

The measure followed months of early morning picketing outside of Wu’s home, during which demonstrators made clear their opposition to COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates.

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Last week, during a hearing in the West Roxbury division of Boston Municipal Court, Judge Steven Key said that Llewellyn was “wrongfully arrested,” since violations of this ordinance are punishable by a fine —  $50 for the first violation, $150 for the second violation, and $300 for the third violation, The Boston Herald reported.

“This should not have been a criminal complaint at all,” Key said during the hearing, according to the Herald. “This should have been, according to the ordinance, it’s supposed to be a civil disposition, not a criminal disposition.”

“That was not an option given to you, and you were placed under arrest and charged in this matter,” the judge told Llewellyn, the Herald reported. “I think you were wrongfully arrested and wrongfully charged as a result.”

The judge also dismissed charges against Marie Brady and Danielle Mazzeo, who were arrested during a separate incident in June for protesting outside Wu’s home during banned hours with Llewellyn and Catherine Vitale, the Herald reported.

Llewellyn and Vitale are reportedly scheduled back in court Sept. 29 for a motion to dismiss charges stemming from that incident, according to the Herald.

The City of Boston did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Boston.com regarding the judge’s decision.

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