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State Rep to defend trio arrested before mask meeting at City Hall

By Staff | Jul 9, 2020

Three people who were arrested Monday and accused of causing a disturbance at Monday’s Cape Coral City Council meeting will be represented by a state representative who has taken on cases for others who have been charged and arrested in connection with mask-related protests.

Anthony Sabatini, R-32, has taken the cases pro-bono, saying the three defendants, Bevelyn Beatty, Edmee Chavannes, and Kenneth Scott, were unlawfully arrested for not wearing a mask.

Scott was arrested and charged with trespass after warning and resisting an officer without violence. Chavannes and Beatty were also charged with trespass after warning and resisting an officer without violence, as well as both being charged with disturbing a lawful assembly.

Sabatini said he specializes in cases involving government overreach, and that this case is a criminal version of that. He defended a business owner arrested in the first case in Florida involving the opening of a non-essential business during the full lockout early in the pandemic.

“I have been very vocal against the lockdown, overreach and government mandates and it’s blended into my legal practice,” Sabatini said. “People hire me for causes that have to do with overreach.”

In this case, Sabatini believes this is a purely political charge, that there is no evidence, even in the video, that the three committed any crime of which they were accused.

“They said they resisted arrest when they weren’t even told they were under arrest. We have a both of defenses and I’m not sure the charges will be brought to begin with,” Sabatini said. “It’s a classic political case.”

Sabatini said the effectiveness of masks is questionable, saying no consensus on masks was reached until two months ago.

“They dropped the hammer on the scientific community, saying they needed to mandate face coverings permanently,” Sabatini said. “Not only is it outside the role of government, the effectiveness of masks is greatly exaggerated. The media has ignored this.”

According to the Cape Coral Police Department, the three were arrested after causing a disturbance at Monday’s City Council meeting and disregarding officers’ multiple warnings and lawful orders.

According to the CCPD, several officers responded to assist officers working security for the meeting due to a disturbance. The three allegedly caused a disturbance and attempted to enter City Hall via a restricted stairway. Officers say they tried multiple times to have the three enter properly through security, which was met with continued defiance.

Officers advised the three they would need to leave City Hall property or be placed under arrest for trespass after warning. They reportedly continued to advance on officers, and Chavannes and Beatty entered City Hall via the restricted stairway and entered Council Chambers, disturbing the lawful assembly.

Chavannes, Beatty and Scott were all detained to regain the peace and escorted from the building while still resisting, a CCPD release states.

All three defendants are from out of state.

Beatty is from Maine, Chavannes from New York and Scott from Colorado.

All three plan to plead not guilty, Sabatini said, adding they are not paid demonstrators, calling it a conspiracy theory.