Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Occupy protesters confront Nutter at Harvard

Mayor Nutter got schooled last night -- literally. In the aftermath of the tumultuous police raid that ended the 55-day Occupy Philadelphia encampment on Dilworth Plaza, the city's chief executive spent the day touring and speaking out at Harvard University. In response to a question, he explained and defended the city's handling of the protesters. A short-time later, Nutter was "mic-checked" by several members of Occupy Harvard who challenged the mayor's account and accused him of sending "storm troopers and horses" to evict the protesters. The Harvard protesters were asked to leave the event -- you can see the confrontation on the video below.

Occupy protesters confront Nutter at Harvard

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Mayor Nutter got schooled last night -- literally. In the aftermath of the tumultuous police raid that ended the 55-day Occupy Philadelphia encampment on Dilworth Plaza, the city's chief executive spent the day touring and speaking out at Harvard University. In response to a question, he explained and defended the city's handling of the protesters. A short-time later, Nutter was "mic-checked" by several members of Occupy Harvard who challenged the mayor's account and accused him of sending "storm troopers and horses" to evict the protesters. The Harvard protesters were asked to leave the event -- you can see the confrontation on the video below.

A couple of quick commentaries. I'd be the first to agree that the eviction was not flawless -- it seems like mounted horses like the one that broke the foot of a protester were over-the-top and unnecessary. But the big picture is that the police in Philadelphia handled this situation and other confrontations 1000X better than the cops in New York, Oakland, Berkeley, Davis, and many other jusrisdictions. I realize that's a low bar, but I think it's a mistake for the Philadelphia Occupyers to make over-the-top claims about what happened here -- because it undermines righteous indignation about the major abuses elsewhere.

On the other hand, I'm dismayed at the cluelessness of Nutter's dismissive comment that the protest at Dilworth Plaza was merely "natiional issues playing out at a local level." Seriously? Is there any city in America where the 99 Percent gets a shorter end of the stick than Philadelphia? Day in and day out, Occupy Philadelphia called attention to the abuses suffered by the working class and the unemployed in our fair city -- from wrong-headed foreclosures to corporate welfare for Comcast to the ignored (until now) plight of the city's homeless. Early on, Nutter claimed he was listening to the protest. Maybe it's time for a hearing check-up.

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Will Bunch
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