Minneapolis woman arrested for Greenpeace banner protest at Trump Tower

CBS Chicago

CBS Chicago

Minneapolis resident Wendy Jennings faces two criminal charges for her role in an environmentally themed protest aimed to President Donald Trump. 

Jennings, 38, was arrested Friday after a banner hung briefly from the 16th floor of the Trump Tower building in Chicago. The banner showed the word "RESIST" in block letters, with an arrow aimed at Trump's name atop the building; beneath that, the word "DEFEND" was printed over an image of planet Earth. 

The environmental group Greenpeace later took credit for the protest. (Greenpeace's name also appeared on the banner.) At the time the 100-foot wide flag message was displayed, President Trump was attending the G-20 summit in Germany, where other world leaders rebuked the United States as the lone holdout from the Paris climate agreement.

In a statement attributed to protester Taylor Blevons, the group made the connection explicit:  "Ignoring the science of climate change and removing us from the Paris Climate Agreement is just another indication that the billionaires who have hijacked our democracy are putting the short term profit of corporations over people and the planet."

Jennings and another woman are accused of dressing as construction workers (hard hats and all) and laying cones to obstruct a walkway outside the building, the Chicago Tribune reports, allowing other protesters the time to lower a nylon rope used to hoist the banner.

Jennings and three other protesters face counts of criminal damage to property, a felony, and a reckless conduct, a misdemeanor; two others received only the misdemeanor charge. 

Four of Jennings' co-conspirators are from the Chicago area, and another lives in Arkansas. Another alleged accomplice managed to escape without arrest, and is still at large.

The six arrested protesters appeared in court on Sunday, where a prosecutor stated they had "severely damaged" the stainless steel railing by hanging the large banner, doing an estimated $15,000 worth of destruction. 

Jennings has no real criminal record to speak of in Minnesota, where her entire history consists of no more than a handful of parking and vehicle registration offenses.

The four Chicago-based defendants were released on electronic monitoring systems, while Jennings and the Arkansas man were released by a judge to travel out of state before their second court appearance on Friday. The six protesters are also prohibited from visiting the Trump Tower in Chicago until further notice.