Boston police on Monday morning arrested a protester outside the home of Mayor Michelle Wu, the first arrest made after months of vocal demonstrations in Wu’s quiet Roslindale neighborhood.
Shannon Llewellyn was arrested around 7:45 a.m. outside Wu’s home, according to a police incident report, and will be charged with “willful violation” of a new city ordinance that prohibits targeted protests between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Monday’s arrest appeared to mark an escalation in police response to the ongoing protests outside Wu’s home.
Since early January, critics of Wu’s COVID-19 restrictions, particularly her vaccine mandate for city employees, have gathered early in the morning outside her Roslindale home to bang drums, blow whistles, and shout their opposition to her policies. Several Boston police officers are stationed outside Wu’s home during the protests, but until recently, they had not taken any enforcement action against demonstrators. Police officials said they were doing their best to balance free speech rights with quality of life in the neighborhood.
Last month, Wu proposed and succeeded in passing a new city ordinance that barred targeted protests between and 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., effectively pushing back by two hours the time when noisy demonstrations could lawfully begin outside her home or any other private residence. Previously, a city noise ordinance had required quiet only until 7 a.m., allowing the demonstrators to begin shouting and drumming when many of Wu’s neighbors were still asleep or just beginning their morning routines.
Neighbors say protests have continued, if less frequently, even after the ordinance went into effect almost a month ago. The ordinance promised fines of $50 for a first offense, $150 for a second offense within a 12-month period, and $300 for a third and subsequent offenses.
Just one day after Wu signed the ordinance, five demonstrators were cited near her home for violating it. Police officials said Monday 10 people have been cited under the new rules and referred to the Boston municipal court in West Roxbury.
According to the police report, Llewellyn and three other protesters were gathered near Wu’s home around 7:30 a.m., Monday. A police sergeant gave the protesters a copy of the new city ordinance that prohibits targeted picketing at that hour and warned them that they would be subject to arrest if they did not leave. Llewellyn refused to leave and began to bang a cooking utensil against a pot she had brought “in a disturbing manner,” according to the report.
This is the second time Llewellyn has been charged with violating the protesting ordinance, according to the police report.
Asked about the arrest Monday at an unrelated event, Wu deflected, saying, “We want to make sure the energy and the momentum is focused on getting things done.”
She said she was grateful for public safety workers and did not say whether she was home when the arrest was made.
Earlier this month, another Wu critic and protester, Catherine Vitale, was arrested for allegedly assaulting a police officer while protesting during a press conference at Boston City Hall.
Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed to this report.