Justice for Occupy Protesters
Judge acquits Occupy Philadelphia protesters in bank sit-in – Philly.com
They were charged with “defiant trespass.”
But after a Common Pleas Court jury on Tuesday acquitted the 12 Occupy Philadelphia protesters arrested in a 2011 bank sit-in, the trial judge shook their hands and called them the “most affable group of defendants I’ve ever come across.”
“I think what this really shows is that when the people of Philadelphia make a decision, they want someone accountable,” said Aaron Troisi, a 26-year-old working toward a master’s degree in education at Temple University. “Accountability and justice is not what they experienced with banks like Wells Fargo.”
Troisi and 11 fellow Occupy demonstrators were acquitted of conspiracy and defiant trespass in the Nov. 18, 2011, sit-in inside a Wells Fargo Bank branch at 17th and Market Streets in Center City.
From further down in the article:
Last July, Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, agreed to pay $175 million to settle allegations by the U.S. Justice Department that independent brokers originating its loans charged higher fees and rates to minority borrowers than they did to white borrowers with similar credit risks.
The verdict left the Occupy protesters with a sense of vindication.
“If this jury has found us innocent, then it must mean that Wells Fargo is guilty,” said 71-year-old Willard R. Johnson, one of the 12 on trial.
“We have proof of the importance of free speech in a democracy, especially taking on corporate power,” said defense attorney Paul Hetznecker, one of seven lawyers who represented the protesters without charge. “It’s about speaking truth to power and it’s part of a long-standing tradition in this country.”