MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A college student from Long Island alleged Tuesday that he was wrongfully arrested for protesting on a Long Island Expressway overpass.
Daniel Martins, 21, of Mineola, was arrested on June 6 while standing with protest signs and flags on a bridge over the busy highway.
He has pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct and criminal nuisance charges.
Martins is a 21-year-old senior at Hofstra University. He said he was expressing his free speech rights in urging President Barack Obama’s impeachment, and told 1010 WINS prosecutors had no right to be going after him.
“They would rather bargain and plea down violent drug and DWI offenders, but I’m being prosecuted for peacefully protesting – which is completely legal,” Martins said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. If that’s justice, then our founding fathers would be turning in their graves.”
Martins said he followed all the rules, and there was never any accident or harm done to anyone.
“I took them down individually after I did the protest, and I brought them back, and I never left any trash or any garbage,” he said. “I always cleaned up after myself, and I was always respectful about the time I was supposed to be there, which was two hours I did every Friday.”
But the state Department of Transportation said only municipalities are permitted to grant permission to post signs on state highways.
In recent years, signs welcoming home war veterans have become a common sight on some highway overpasses.
Prosecutors said that while political protest is a right, people are not entitled to create a public safety hazard.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories:
- Queens Judge Rules ‘Vision Zero’ Law Unconstitutional
- Facebook’s New Update Makes Your News Feed More ‘Personal’
- Police Surround Vehicle That Crashed Into Wall In Morningside Heights
- NJ Math Teacher Charged With Sending Illicit Pics Of Self To Student On Social Media
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)