Ithaca Police announced that 12 people were taken into custody today after protests closed the downtown location of Chase Bank in the City Centre building on Thursday.
Eight adults were arrested and charged with third degree criminal trespassing, and are currently being processed. Four juveniles were taken into custody and released to parents or guardians.
The group was protesting JP Morgan Chase's involvement with the fossil fuel industry, and condemning the impact that has had on the worsening of climate change. The group entered the bank, and gathered outside its front, for several hours Thursday afternoon, and arrests were made of people inside who refused to leave as the bank approached its normal closing time of 5 p.m. A request for comment to Extinction Rebellion Ithaca, which was partially leading the protests yesterday and today, has not yet been answered.
IPD Deputy Chief Vincent Monticello said the juveniles were not being charged at this time, but that could change. He added that the arrests were ultimately the bank's decision, and that the company had been appropriately accommodating until the arrests were made.
"There were several hours of conversations that the bank officials were having with them and it comes to a point where this is being disruptive, we're tying up law enforcement resources and so it came to a point where they weren't going to leave, and we ended up having to make arrests," Monticello said, noting that there were no incidents or resistance during the arrests. "[The bank was] very tolerant yesterday and today, but there comes a point where it was very disruptive to a business, and so we assisted them with their wishes, which was that they wanted criminal trespass charges filed."
The adults will be arraigned on Feb. 26 in Ithaca City Court. Tompkins County Sheriffs and New York State Police assisted in the arrests, which Monticello said took about 20 officers in total. He added that it's a possibility that the protests continue tomorrow; protestors earlier said they weren't sure whether they would be still protesting tomorrow.
Monticello said he wasn't aware if any arrests had been made regarding the simultaneous protests at Cornell University over its relationship with the fossil fuel industry.