Two animal-rights activists arrested at protest

By Nathan Crabbe
February 6, 2012
Gainesville Sun
Two animal-rights activists were arrested on Saturday at a protest of the University of Florida’s use of primates in research.

Camille Marino and Lisa Grossman, part of the animal rights group Negotiation is Over, were protesting outside the Gator Gala awards ceremony at Emerson Alumni Hall. Gainesville police arrested Marino on an out-of-state warrant and Grossman for a suspended driver’s license.

Marino, 47, is being held at the Alachua County jail and awaiting extradition to Michigan. The warrant stems from a case in which she posted the home address, phone number and other information online about a researcher at Wayne State University in Detroit. The researcher obtained a court order for the information to be removed.

Marino was held in criminal contempt for failing to do so and ordered to pay more than $6,281 in his legal fees.

Grossman, 50, of Jacksonville, was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for presenting police with a suspended driver’s license. Gainesville police spokesman Cpl. Angelina Valuri said that it’s against the law to have a suspended driver’s license even if the person isn’t driving.

Michael Budkie of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an animal rights group working with Negotiation is Over on the primate campaign, questioned the motive for the arrests.

“It’s my opinion that these arrests took place at the protest in a concerted effort to stifle dissent against the university,” he said.

Negotiation is Over’s campaign against animal research at UF has included posting the personal information of university employees online and seeking public records on research involving primates. Marino sued UF for failing to provide records, leading to an Alachua County Circuit Court judge ordering last month for them to be released.

Marino and Grossman were protesting in December 2010 at a fundraiser at UF when they were issued trespass warnings by university police. Grossman was later charged with trespassing for violating the warning by distributing fliers on campus offering a $100 reward for information on students involved in research.

The warnings don’t apply to the sidewalk outside Emerson Alumni Hall, located on University Avenue across from the main campus.

Contact Nathan Crabbe at 338-3176 or .