Student Arrested During Occupy Philly Protest Wins $80K in Damages
A one-time doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania who studied and made a short film about Occupy Philly was awarded $80,000 in damages Thursday by a federal jury for his arrest during a protest.
Gregory Harris was watching police evict Occupy Philly activists from their encampment at City Hall when he was arrested on November 30, 2011, according to his lawsuit filed against the city. Harris was accused of striking Officer Joseph Sisca in the face with his forearm. He was charged with aggravated assault and several other counts.
In December of 2011, the charges against Harris of aggravated assault, riot, recklessly endangering another person and resisting arrest were all dismissed. In 2012, he was acquitted of the lone remaining charge — simple assault.
In the suit, Harris’ attorneys said he was falsely arrested and police “gave false statements concerning the incident.”
The trial in which Harris was awarded compensatory damages was held before U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe.
So, what’s the film that Harris was making at the time all about? “Solidarity and Contention at Occupy Philly” chronicles teamwork, turmoil and love — yes, love — at the encampment. A large chunk of it follows the extraordinary tale of Alicia Nauss and Adam Hill, a couple of kids who met and got married at Occupy Philly in a matter of weeks.
“After the first couple of days of just getting to know each other, we actually started finishing each other’s sentences,” Nauss says in the film.
Harris said he also wrote a term paper and several short essays on Occupy Philly as part of his research on the group.
Here’s the film:
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