Tate-Brown protesters plead not guilty to disorderly conduct charges

Sam Newhouse

Protesters who disrupted a police-community meeting to challenge the District Attorney’s decision to not file charges against police officers who fatally shot Brandon Tate-Brown were in court Monday.

The protesters all asked to go to trial on charges for the March 19 incident at the Lawncrest Recreation Center.

“I don’t feel as though we did anything wrong,” said Rufus Farmer, 32, a Philly native who now resides outside the city.

The group disrupted a community meeting attended by Commissioner Charles Ramsey and D.A. Seth Williams the night after Williams announced his finding that officers acted properly in shooting Tate-Brown.

On Dec. 15 last year, Tate-Brown was shot during a traffic stop in Mayfair after officers saw him running for a gun. At that time Williams called Tate-Brown’s death “a tragedy, but not a crime.”

During the March protest, fighting broke out but the protesters deny they initiated the violence. Some accuse other attendees of the meeting, while some say it was police.

“The Philadelphia Police Department initiated physical aggression toward us,” Farmer said. “I’m not gonna take a class, I’m not gonna plead guilty.”

“This is a free speech issue. We didn’t do anything that was not protected activity,” said protester Caleb Gallus, 30, outside court.

Protesters still want video footage of Tate-Brown’s traffic stop and shooting publicly released, as well as the names of the two officers who pulled him over.

“What is contained on this footage that is preventing it from being released?” Farmer asked.

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