Protest organizer ticketed, Hampton police respond

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Hampton Roads streets were shut down Monday night as protesters marched in the name of unity. Police say only one person got a ticket: The event organizer.

“I was 100 percent surprised, shocked and disappointed,” Japharii Jones said.

Jones says he couldn’t understand why police would only ticket him after he organized a series of unity marches around Hampton Roads.

Dozens march for unity throughout Hampton Roads

“We told everybody we were being peaceful,” Jones said. “We talked to officers. We did everything except for what they want.”

Jones was cited at the end of the Hampton march for unity.

“We had a prayer,” Jones said. “It was all peaceful. My disappointment is I got arrested after a prayer.”

Police say Jones was given a ticket because he impeded the flow of traffic by walking in the street.

“When they first went out on to the street, they blocked four lanes of Mercury Boulevard as opposed to staying over where we could allow free flow of traffic,” Hampton Police Chief Terry Sult said.

10 On Your Side learned Jones didn’t apply for any permits in the five cities to hold the protests. A permit is something he would need to do to have streets shut down. WAVY’s Jason Marks asked him why he didn’t apply for the permits.

“I wasn’t ticketed last year,” Jones said. “Why was that, if we are doing things according to the law, if one thing was allowed out of a case, then it is then dismissed?”

“He has been warned every year that he needed the permit on — particularly — on those marches that are pre-planned,” Sult added.

Police and Jones met with the Hampton NAACP on Tuesday to discuss what happened Monday night. Both sides say it was very productive.

“The goal was to make sure that we were collaborative and communicating up front before the event occurs,” Sult said.