Kingsport dismisses citations against Ballad Health protesters

Matthew Lane • Jan 16, 2020 at 5:30 PM

KINGSPORT – Citations against four Ballad Health protesters have been dismissed.

In court documents filed on Wednesday, Kingsport City Attorney Mike Billingsley filed a notice of dismissal of the citations issued against the four protesters — Dani Cook and Tonya Ferguson of Kingsport and Elminia Dougherty and Jamie Farris of Church Hill.

City Court Judge Curt Rose signed off on the request and issued an order of dismissal Wednesday afternoon.

The four protesters were issued citations in December for violating a recently approved city ordinance that prohibited temporary or permanent structures from being placed on the public right of way. These protesters, along with others, were camped outside Holston Valley Medical Center since May protesting the changes to the hospital's trauma level and NICU.

The protesters used a number of canopies and tarps for shelter, setting up on the right of way, in the grassy area between the sidewalk and West Ravine Road.

After 257 days, the protesters removed their camp on Monday. Two days later, the citations were dismissed.

In a Facebook Live video, Cook said Kingsport’s request for a dismissal proves the point that the purpose of the right of way ordinance was solely to get the protesters to move. Cook said she would be talking with her co-defendants and “legal folks” about what to do next.

“As far as I’m concerned, this does not end the matter,” Cook said in the video.

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