Occupy Philly Members Protest Outside 8th Street Police Headquarters, Release Statement

Members of Occupy Philly, who have shown a growing amount of political clout over the past few days, spread to Philadelphia Police’s 8th and Race streets headquarters Saturday.

After causing House Majority Speaker Eric Cantor to cancel his planned University of Pennsylvania speech Friday and possibly contributing to the temporary tabling of City Council’s stricter curfew bill Thursday, some Occupy members protested outside of the Philadelphia Police headquarters Saturday morning through the night as part of a national day of police brutality awareness.

Despite previously declaring police members part of the 99 percent and having a generally benevolent relationship with the force so far, protestors linked arms in the middle of the street, causing police to block it off. No arrests have been made.

As of 5:30 a.m. this morning, protestors were still engaged in the sit-in.

Occupy Philly stresses that the protestors are individuals and do not represent the movement as a whole, but provided them with food, a medical watch and blankets to weather a chilly night.

8th Street participants released a statement and list of demands this morning. According to the group’s Facebook, the statement does not speak for the Occupy Philly’s General Assembly or for the movement as a whole. It reads:

“The Philadelphia Police Department—like other police forces in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, and around the country—act on behalf of the 1%. The police protect, support, and enforce the interests of the CEOs, the uber-rich, and the politicians, and thus work to perpetuate the economic and social divisions within our society. In fulfilling this duty, the police force in Philadelphia have committed brutal crimes against the people.

We, as members of the Occupy Philadelphia movement, are standing with the 99% in this city to demand police accountability. We are offering this statement and risking arrest in solidarity with those who have been silenced and terrorized by police brutality in Philadelphia and the nation.

We demand:

• That police officers who commit crimes be held to the same legal process and consequences as any other citizen; that they are charged with crimes as any other citizen would be charged and serve the same prison sentences when found guilty. We request that their badge not act as a shield from justice.

• That the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department publicly condemn the treatment by the police of Occupy community members in New York City, Boston, Denver and other cities across the country.

• That the police properly investigate all hate crimes without criminalizing the victims, and that the City and Police Department rid their own institutions of racism, sexism, and bigotry.

• That the police practice of “Stop and Frisk” end immediately.

• That the racist, classist, ageist Emergency Curfew Law be immediately repealed.

• That the arresting officers in the cases of Askia Sabur and Tanya Yates have their schedules cleared in order to testify in the trials, so that Askia and Tanya can be cleared, return to their families, and recover from the injuries sustained during their arrests at home.

• That the City re-open the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and conduct a serious, unbiased trial.

• That the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department publicly condemn the state murder of Troy Davis and all unjust state executions of innocent people.

• That the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department offer a statement endorsing the immediate release of Bradley Manning, who is being charged with treason for allegedly providing information to WikiLeaks.

In addition, we demand that the Philadelphia Police Department, the City of Philadelphia, and the Mayor make formal, public apologies for their crimes against the people. We demand a general apology for all police brutality in this city and for the corrupt system which harbors criminals behind badges. We demand that this apology be made on primetime news for all to see, and that the police who committed the crimes be named in the apology. We also demand that the police force make formal, public apologies for the following crimes:

• An apology for all profiling in the city: for racial profiling and for characterizing all youth as “flash mobs,” all people on corners as drug dealers, and all activists as criminals.

• An apology for the consistent failure by the police to adequately investigate sexual and domestic abuse and to prosecute abusers.

• An apology to everyone who has gone to the Frankford Arsenal or other Sex Crimes Units in the city for relief from their sexual abusers and got turned away, and for every case the City has thrown out when those individuals tried to seek reparations.

• A personal apology to Occupy Philadelphia community member Deborah VonBerg for refusing to adequately investigate her sexual assault case; for ignoring her, for making her insignificant, and for giving her a reason not to trust anyone.

• An apology for the police brutality inflicted on Ian, Shane, and Kayla (Occupy Philadelphia community members) at a private, off-site event where they were beaten with batons, ridiculed, and unjustly detained by the police and for the bigoted behavior of the police officers involved.

• An apology to the family of Billy Panas, who was murdered by Officer Frank Tepper, who remains on desk duty.

• An apology for failing to adequately investigate, because of their transgender identity, the murders of Nizah Morris and Stacey Lee Blahnik.

• An apology for any and all mistreatment of transgender people in the criminal justice system and the prison system.

• An apology for the brutality against members of the Move movement, for the destruction of their first home, and for the bombing of their second, and a general apology to the West Philadelphia community for the crimes committed by the police during those raids.

We, as members of Occupy Philadelphia and the 99%, are standing together to call on the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department to immediately cease and desist their crimes against the people.”

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