10 protesters won't be Occupying jail cells

Posted: February 24, 2012

THE OCCUPY Philly movement showed up yesterday in a municipal courtroom, where a judge acquitted 10 members of obstructing-a-highway charges stemming from a protest outside police headquarters in October.

Occupy attorneys hailed the victories as a boost to the First Amendment.

"I'm thrilled. It's wonderful to see that free speech still lives in the cradle of liberty," said Lawrence Krasner, one of the attorneys who represented the protesters pro bono.

The 18-hour protest against police brutality unfolded Oct. 22 and 23, and featured protesters sitting in the street and tying up traffic around the Police Administration Building, at 8th and Race streets.

They were arrested after ignoring repeated orders from police to move.

After the prosecution rested its case yesterday, Municipal Judge Patrick Dugan determined that the defense attorneys did not have to present their cases because the state had failed to prove its case. The judge then entered a judgment of acquittal, freeing the Occupiers.

"We're looking forward to acquittals for all of the other Occupy defendants in three other cases," Krasner said outside court.

Forty-five more Occupiers are scheduled to be tried, he said.

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