5 arrested in 'black lives matter' protest at Hartford stadium s - WFSB 3 Connecticut

5 arrested in 'black lives matter' protest at Hartford stadium site

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Dozens of Moral Monday protestors gathered at the new Hartford Stadium construction site on Monday. (WFSB photo) Dozens of Moral Monday protestors gathered at the new Hartford Stadium construction site on Monday. (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

Dozens of protesters took the "Black Live Matter" movement to the grounds of the new baseball stadium in Hartford.

They said they were there in support of the Minority Construction Council to condemn the lack of enforcement in affirmative action rules. They argue that local contracting standards require equal employment opportunity and minority set-asides on large construction projects.

The protest was so disrupting, according to authorities, that heavy equipment couldn't make it to the construction site.

Organizers blocked Trumbull Street. They claimed only 6 percent of stadium job hours are set aside for minority contractors. They said that's not equal and not fair.

For the most part, police said the protest was peaceful but loud.

By the end of it, they said they arrested five people, including city councilor Larry Deutsch.

Eyewitness News cameras caught the moment he was escorted by police for blocking workers from getting to the site.

"It's very important because it affects them," said Rick Rowe, a Hartford contractor. "We hire blacks, we hire Hartford residents too as well, who aren't Latino or black."

"The disparity of 83 percent black and brown city residents and only 1 percent of the stadium work going to our residents is unacceptable," said Bishop John Selders, a founder of the group Moral Monday CT. " We demand that the City of Hartford revise its set-aside rules so that at least 50 percent of the work on any city contract or public works project is awarded to qualified minority contractors."

Work was disrupted for about an hour.

Colin Dawkins is a Hartford contractor of MCM Acoustics, and put in a bid for the project but wasn't low enough.

"They say our bid was $300,000 higher, but this was a moving target. So being a moving target, walls could change tomorrow," Dawkins said.

Moral Monday calls itself a social justice and civil rights movement. 

Over the summer, the CT chapter of the group staged a protest in downtown Hartford that led to the arrests of 17 people. Police said that protest disrupted the evening rush.

"Today we call on city leaders, developers and financiers who claim to be supportive to be transparent and accountable," Selders said. "We don't need more latte bars and high-priced hotel rooms, we need jobs. And we demand respect."

The Dunkin' Donuts stadium is to be the new home of the Yard Goats minor league baseball team.

Ground was broken on the $58 million project last February. It will include a supermarket, a brewery, apartments, stores and restaurants.

Hartford officials argued that it helped keep the former New Britain Rock Cats franchise from moving out-of-state.

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