LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A 13-year-old girl was arrested by Lakeland Police during an abortion rights protest on the Fourth of July.
Lillie Johnson told News Channel 8 she will not be deterred from exercising her First Amendment rights after video of her arrest went viral.
“If anything this has encouraged me more to fight for the freedom of anybody and everybody. No matter what, no matter who,” Lillie said.
Lillie’s mother, Lauren Johnson, recorded video Monday of Lakeland Police officers detaining her daughter at Munn Park.
“It’s important to use your voice and to use it peacefully and appropriately, and I’m just so proud because that’s exactly what she did,” Johnson said.
Lillie said she returned to the protest against the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade after being in police custody for an hour.
Johnson’s mom and attorneys said the teen is charged with violating the city’s noise control ordinance because she was using a megaphone.
Lakeland Police declined to share the arrest affidavit because of the girl’s age.
“Since the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, we’ve had hundreds of people peacefully assemble across our City with few isolated incidents,” Lakeland Police said in a statement. “Officers are in attendance to assure a safe and secure environment for those exercising their rights while doing so in accordance with Florida state statutes and city ordinances.”
Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Democratic candidate for governor Nikki Fried shared the mom’s video of the arrest on Twitter and it has been viewed more than 4.5 million times.
“She wasn’t hurting anybody,” Fried said in an interview with News Channel 8. “She wasn’t attacking anybody. She wasn’t being violent. She was speaking out about something that is going to impact her life.”
Three days after the arrest, Commissioner Fried joined Lillie and her mom at another “freedom to choose” rally at Lakeland’s Southgate Shopping Center.
“I have the right to protest for my body because I’m underage I cannot vote, but those who can vote we can persuade and I want to fight for anyone who has a uterus,” Lillie said.