WARSAW — Misdemeanor charges have been filed against three people who are part of a Black Lives Matter march traveling from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C.
Frank David Sensabaugh, 39; Tory M. Lowe, 44; and Eric Lamar Ajala, 20, all of Milwaukee, Wis., are each charged with obstructing vehicular traffic and disorderly conduct, both class B misdemeanors. Lowe also faces an additional charge of resisting law enforcement, a class A misdemeanor.
Sensabaugh, who goes by Frank Nitty II, is the leader of the march. Following their arrest on Wednesday, Aug. 12, all three men were released from jail shortly after posting bond.
According to court documents, at 4:20 p.m. Aug. 12, an Indiana State Police lieutenant responded to a report from Kosciusko County Dispatch that individuals were walking on US 30 near CR 325E, causing a traffic backup. Upon arriving to the front of the traffic line, the officer noticed eight to nine vehicles in the right-hand eastbound lane of US 30, traveling at walking speed. Approximately 15 to 20 individuals were also seen walking on the berm of the road next to the vehicles. Two deputy sheriffs were driving with their emergency lights on, traveling behind the vehicles in attempts to prevent a collision between approaching traffic and the slow-moving vehicles.
The lieutenant made contact with the driver of the lead vehicle to explain that he could not impede traffic when he was approached by Sensabaugh, who told him that they were a group walking from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C.
As the officer tried to explain to Sensabaugh that vehicles could not impede traffic, Sensabaugh agreed that the vehicles were impeding traffic and that it was their constitutional right to do so. The officer again told Sensabaugh the vehicles were impeding traffic and Sensabaugh allegedly made a comment about how that was the point.
The lieutenant repeatedly told Sensabaugh that the support vehicles and pedestrian traffic would need to be off the roadway and not impeding traffic. Eventually, the pedestrians and support vehicles moved over to the berm of the roadway, out of the line of traffic. The group continued their walk until they passed the officer’s patrol vehicle, at which time the support vehicles drove back into the right lane of the road, remained there and continued to travel at walking speed.
During this incident, the officer was informed that Lutheran EMS had to be diverted around the traffic backup in order to take a patient from Kosciusko Community Hospital to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.
At approximately 6 p.m., near the intersection of US 30 and CR 900E, on the berm, the officer approached Sensabaugh again and told him his support vehicles and pedestrians needed to remain on the berm and not obstruct traffic. At this point, traffic backup was between six and seven miles long. Sensabaugh told the officer that the vehicles needed to drive next to the group for protection.
The officer approached the driver of the front vehicle again when members of the group started to follow the officer into the roadway. Court documents state that the scene became very chaotic and that many members of the group were agitated and yelling at the officer.
After asking Sensabaugh several times to leave the roadway, Sensabaugh asked the officer to speak to his attorney on Sensabaugh’s cellphone. The officer attempted to speak with the individual on the phone, but could not hear anyone on the end of the line. After failing to exit the roadway after repeated requests, Sensabaugh was placed under arrest.
As the officer was arresting Sensabaugh, Lowe told the officer not to arrest him, saying that it was an illegal arrest. Lowe then began pulling or pushing the officer’s hand away from Sensabaugh and at one point grabbed Sensabaugh’s arm in an attempt to make it more difficult for the officer to take him into custody. The officer instructed Lowe to stop interfering with Sensabaugh’s arrest or he would be arrested for his actions. Another trooper was needed to assist to prevent Lowe’s further interference with the officer.
As Sensabaugh was being walked out of the roadway, Ajala became more vocal and walked further onto US 30, saying that officers should arrest him as well. The officer told Ajala that not only had he been in the roadway during the other arrests, but that he was still standing in the roadway. Ajala refused to comply with requests to leave the roadway and was arrested.
Initial hearings for the three men were scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. However, the group is currently in Washington, D.C., speaking during the March on Washington 2020. Aug. 28 is the 57th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
Sensabaugh’s Facebook profile does not show any public Facebook Live videos since Aug. 18. However, Sensabaugh’s Facebook page shows a post with him speaking at the March on Washington 2020.
Earlier this week, Sensabaugh and his group were shot at while traveling through western Pennsylvania. One person in the march was injured and treated for non life-threatening injuries.