Occupy Philly activist Deborah VonBerg, 24, was 10 years old when she had her first encounter with police.
“I went to the Sex Crimes Unit at the Philadelphia arsenal and told police I had been sexually abused for two years,” she said. “They listened for two minutes and told me to go home and forget about it.”
She found herself confronted again Sunday when she was one of the 15 arrested outside police headquarters for protesting mistreatment in solidarity with the national October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.
“I just want an apology,” VonBerg said. “I don’t think they recognize how a few words would help. I was still asking for an apology when I was inside the jail cell and I am still asking for an apology now.”
Nine years after VonBerg made her claims, then-Police Commissioner John F. Timoney ordered a reinvestigation of past sexual assault cases and found that thousands had been ignored or wrongly classified.
VonBerg, who was jailed for about 12 hours, said that she did not go with the intention of being arrested. “But when they started threatening us with arrest, we didn’t want to back down,” she said.
No vegan fare in lockup
Those arrested around noon said the cells where they were held inside the Roundhouse were freezing and lacked padding and the only food served was cheese sandwiches.
They saw a judge at 1 a.m. and were released on their own recognizance around 2 a.m. All are charged with obstructing a highway.