Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Justice happens

Justice happens

With all the injustice in this world...occasionally there's justice:

A Common Pleas Court jury today acquitted 12 Occupy Philadelphia demonstrators arrested in a 2011 sit-in in a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Center City.

The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated a total of about 13 hours since Friday before it returned, shortly before noon, to announce the verdicts: not guilty of conspiracy and defiant trespass against each of the 12 protesters.

The 12 - one woman and 11 men - were arrested Nov. 18, 2011 when they staged a sit-in inside the Wells Fargo branch at 17th and Market Streets. The protesters said they wanted to call attention to what they called Wells Fargo's "racist predatory lending" policies that caused a disproportionately large number of home foreclosures in African American neighborhoods.

"If this jury has found us innocent then it must mean that Wells Fargo is guilty," said an elated 71-year-old Willard R. Johnson, one of the 12 on trial.

That's certainly the conclusion I would reach. Interestingly, the judge in the trial said afterward that there were "the most affable group of defendants I've ever come across." Really? You mean they weren't the urine-soaked lunatics I kept hearing about on right-wing talk radio? How could that be?

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Will Bunch
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