fb-pixel Skip to main content

Man arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace with a bullhorn at Mayor Wu event at Dorchester park

A man was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly disturbing the peace with a permit-barred bullhorn and struggling with officers during an event that Mayor Michelle Wu attended at a Dorchester park, according to authorities.

Legal filings in Dorchester Municipal Court identified the man as Shawn Dwayne Nelson, 43, of Dorchester. His lawyer declined to comment.

“Our Neighborhood Coffee Hours are an opportunity to speak directly with residents in our communities and address constituent concerns right away with city staff from many departments present in our parks,” Wu said Thursday in a statement. “I’m grateful to the Boston Police Department for their quick actions yesterday morning to ensure our residents could safely enjoy the coffee hour at Ronan Park.”


According to a Boston police report, several officers were assigned at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday to Ronan Park for one of Wu’s regular Neighborhood Coffee Hour chats with constituents. The officers, the report said, were anticipating potential protesters, who “have confronted Mayor Wu over various issues” during her tenure.

Around 9 a.m., the report said, police approached a group of four demonstrators including Nelson, who held a bullhorn despite a permit for the event that said no devices creating excessive noise would be allowed besides a pre-approved DJ and sound system.

“Mr. Shawn Nelson expressed disagreement with such a permit and stated that the Police would not take his bullhorn from him or touch him during this event,” the report said.

Things transpired differently, however.

From the mayor’s arrival around 9:30 a.m. until about 10:05 a.m., the report stated, Nelson “continually used a black bullhorn with extendable microphone to verbally protest Mayor Wu,” and he also got into a “heated” argument with a coffee hour attendee.

An officer informed Nelson he’d be seizing the bullhorn since it wasn’t allowed under the permit, but Nelson allegedly refused to surrender the megaphone and “violently” pulled it away from the officer, the police report stated.


“Several Officers assigned to the Coffee Hour had to intervene and bring Mr. Nelson to the ground to gain control of him,” the report said.

Nelson was eventually handcuffed but allegedly refused to stand up for transfer to a police wagon.

“Several Officers had to carry Mr. Nelson and carefully place him in the rear compartment of the Boston Police Patrol Wagon for transport to District 11 for booking,” the report said.

Nelson was arraigned later in the day in the Dorchester courthouse on misdemeanor counts of disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, according to legal filings. A not guilty plea was entered for him and he was released on personal recognizance, records indicate.

A call to a number listed for Nelson wasn’t immediately returned Thursday morning. The police report didn’t indicate what he was protesting at the coffee confab.

His next court hearing is slated for July 18.

The arrest of Nelson comes after the Boston City Council in March adopted a controversial proposal to further restrict the hours when protesters may target private residences with their demonstrations, following months of near-daily antivaccination demonstrations outside Wu’s Roslindale home.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.