I never understood why Occupy Philadelphia protesters who voluntarily left their encampment on Dilworth Plaza and then were chased all over Center City and ended up on an empty sidewalk at 5 a.m. were arrested by the city cops.
After hearing from the lone prosecution witness, police Capt. William Fisher, watching video of the protest and hearing arguments from lawyers on both sides, Municipal Judge Karen Y. Simmons concluded that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to bring their case to a jury and declared a judgment of acquittal. The same ruling was handed down Feb. 23 when 10 other Occupy protesters were tried for blocking traffic outside the police department's administration building.
"Social justice and the struggle for social justice finds its protection in the First Amendment," said Center City attorney Paul Hetznecker, one of 14 defense attorneys representing the defendants. "Certainly this is a perfect example and expression of the court's recognition of how important our rights are."