Four people arrested last year for blocking the entrance to the Valero Memphis Refinery truck terminal pled guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of obstruction of a highway or passageway, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
Criminal Court Judge Bobby Carter sentenced each defendant to one day in jail already served and a $50 fine. The defendants pled guilty to two counts each as their trial was set to begin this week.
The defendants include Spencer Kaaz, 22, of Memphis; Katherine Hanson, 33, of Rutledge, Mo.; Olivia Ramirez, 21, of Skiatook, Okla.; and Erick Conner, 29, of Glenpool, Okla.
The defendants were arrested on Jan. 16, 2017, after they chained themselves to oil drums in the roadway of the Valero plant on West Mallory Avenue southwest of Downtown. They told police they were opposing construction of a pipeline.
Three other protesters, who also had chained themselves to barrels, pled guilty previously to the same charges. Cases against five others with lesser involvement were dismissed.
The case Monday was handled by Asst. Dist. Atty. Scott Smith.