Woman arrested on indecent exposure charge during ERA rally to be released on bond

Woman arrested on indecent exposure charge during ERA rally to be released on bond
Capitol Police arrested Michelle Renay Sutherland, 45, of Florida, and charged her with a single count of indecent exposure Monday during a protest in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A pro-Equal Rights Amendment protester was initially held without bond after she was arrested Monday on Capitol Square for exposing one of her breasts during a live action portrayal of the state seal, Virginia Mercury reports.

On Wednesday, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring said Michelle Sutherland will be released in the afternoon and that a request for no bond was a mistake.

The Florida woman is charged with a single misdemeanor count of indecent exposure.

Sutherland was depicting Virtus, who on the state seal is usually shown with a breast exposed as she stands triumphantly over Tyranny, according to Virginia Mercury.

“We were here reenacting the state flag and the state seal of Virginia, which says that we shall not give into tyrants, and Speaker (Kirk) Cox and (House Majority Leader Todd) Gilbert are both tyrants who are stopping the Equal Rights Amendment from getting to the floor for a vote,” Natalie White, who portrayed Tyranny in the tableau, told a group of reporters after Sutherland was arrested.

Sutherland’s arrest came just days after two ERA protesters were arrested for a “die-in” at the Capitol.

The women said there were holding a “Valentine’s Day die in” because the Republican-controlled House of Delegates has killed legislation to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

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