Police: Activist in chicken suit was warned not to pester Shaheen prior to arrest
LONDONDERRY — The man arrested for disorderly conduct after allegedly harassing Democratic legislators during the Home Day Parade had been warned to stay off the parade route, police said.
In a report released Wednesday, police described the events that led up to Saturday’s arrest of Manchester resident Michael Zona, 23. As U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen marched past Zona, who was dressed in a chicken suit, police said they saw the “chicken” begin to flap his arms and step into the parade procession. Zona was accompanied by a man holding a video camera, police said.
“Both were in close proximity to the senator and caused her to deviate from her path,” said Sgt. Joseph Bellino, who escorted Zona from the parade route.
“He stated that he was protesting the senator’s reluctance to attend local town meetings,” Bellino said.
Police told Zona and the cameraman that they had the right to protest, but needed “to respect the (Shaheen’s) space and not harass her” or they could face criminal charges.
“Both individuals stated they understood and Michael assured me he would remain on the curb for the remainder of the parade,” Bellino said.
About 15 minutes later, Sgt. Adam Dyer reported spotting a man in a chicken suit farther down the parade route, near Pillsbury Road.
“He was jogging around the group with Senator Shaheen and Governor (Maggie) Hassan flapping his arms,” Dyer said.
Police said that at one point, Hassan had stopped to shake someone’s hand and the “chicken” got within two or three feet, yelling.
“It caused her to stop what she was doing and move back toward her security team,” Dyer said.
Zona was then stopped by police.
“He stated he was sorry and should have listened and began to walk away,” Dyer said. “I advised him he was being detained and told him to stop where he was.”
Zona is due in Derry District Court Sept. 8 to answer to the disorderly conduct charge.