Armed Pelham man arrested at polls on Nov. 4
By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer
PELHAM—The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Pelham man at the polls on Election Day on charges of voting violation and possession of a firearm at a demonstration.
Robert Kennedy, 58, was arrested at the First Baptist Church of Pelham Annex voting precinct by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office after he allegedly “appeared at (a) polling place with visible signs of no weapons allowed” with a firearm, according to court documents.
“I went in to vote, I had a firearm on my hip,” Kennedy said.
According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Kennedy was allegedly in violation of Alabama Code Section 13A-11-61.2(B)—possession of firearms in certain places and Alabama Code Section 17-17-33—obstruction, intimidation, etc., of voting rights of others.
Section 13A-11-61-2(B) states: “A person, including a person with a permit… may not, without the express permission of a person or entity with authority over the premises, knowingly possess or carry a firearm inside any building or facility to which access of unauthorized persons and prohibited articles is limited during normal hours of operation by the continuous posting of guards and the use of other security features.”
Section 17-17-33 states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to obstruct, intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he or she may choose, or for the purpose of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for state or local office or any other proposition at any election.”
“He was charged under Section 17-17-33,” Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Cpt. Ken Burchfield said on Nov. 4. “It’s the responsibility of the Sheriff’s Office to protect all polling places.”
“I can’t figure out what I did wrong,” Kennedy said, referencing remarks from Alabama District Attorney Luther Strange. “Luther Strange announced last week guns are allowed at polls, no matter what (the local Sheriff’s Office) says… I had the highest attorney in the state say what I did was legal.”
Kennedy also refuted the voting violation charge brought against him.
“I did not attempt to obstruct anyone, I did not attempt to threaten anyone and I did not attempt to intimidate anyone,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy is facing two misdemeanor charges and was released from the Shelby County Jail on Nov. 4 on $1,500 bond.