Published August 21, 2011
Selling lemonade is not a crime, but selling it on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol is, which is why, police say, three people were arrested Saturday for running a lemonade stand on Capitol grounds.
U.S. Capitol Police did not immediately confirm the names of the three people arrested, but the Facebook page linked to "Lemonade Freedom Day" says they were Meg McLain, Will Duffield and Katherine Dill.
McLain, an activist from Keene, N.H., was involved in arrests tied to dancing at the Jefferson Memorial earlier this year. She also created a stir last year when she was booted from the Fort Lauderdale International Airport after protesting the use of body scanners employed by the Transportation Security Administration.
McLain could not be reached for comment, though her UStream page contained video of the arrests.
One video taped on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol shows a police officer on a bicycle pulling up to the stand to inform buyers that the stand is illegal. After several minutes of calm debate, another officer notifies the group that they can't be selling items on federal property. A separate video shows a police officer handcuffing a woman while a person off-camera yells, "Unchain these women."
In the videos, the activists say they have a right to sell lemonade free of police intrusion because "we own this property, our taxes pay for this property, and your salary."
"Selling lemonade -- that's not a charge," U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider told Fox News in an email. "Three people were arrested by USCP for failure to obey a police officer, unlawful conduct, vending without a permit."
"Lemonade Freedom Day" earned support from thousands of people across the country, including dozens who wrote in on the Facebook page that they created stands for their kids to sell lemonade. The effort to "liberate lemons" was intended as a challenge to a recent string of police actions that have shut down the hallmark childhood entrepreneurism.