23 Faith-Based Protesters Arrested at Missouri State Capitol

5 years 1 month 2 weeks ago Tuesday, May 06 2014 May 6, 2014 Tuesday, May 06, 2014 1:45:00 PM CDT May 06, 2014 in News
By: Jenna Middaugh, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY - Capitol Police arrested 23 protesters at the Capitol Tuesday after they refused to leave.

The protesters were clergy and faith leaders from across Missouri who support Medicaid expansion.

Mike O'Connell, communications director for the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said around 300 people were protesting in the gallery during the morning session of the Senate.

According to Andrew Kling, of Missouri Faith Voices, the protesters peacefully interrupted the Senate session with a prayer and song.

Capitol Police said when the Senate went for recess, everyone was given the opportunity to leave.

O'Connell said 23 protesters decided to stay, and police arrested them. The protesters were never handcuffed or taken into custody, but police checked to see if they had any active warrants.

O'Connell said all 23 protesters were let go after police found there were no active warrants against them.

The Rev. Dr. John Bennett, of Jefferson City, was among the 23 protesters arrested.

"Missouri lawmakers need a wake-up call," Bennett said in a news release. "This is not about politics - this is about human life. Until they do their job and pass Medicaid expansion, 700 Missourians will die each year and hundreds of thousands will live with untreated illness and in financial fear. This is a moral issue."

Photo provided by Communities Creating Opportunity.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated to include more details.)

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