Finally: Some DNC Arrests
Thanks to the very smart initiative from Mayor Jim Kenney to decriminalize offenses like disorderly conduct, failure to disperse, and public drunkenness in advance of DNC protests, the Philadelphia Police Department has made exactly zero DNC arrests as of Wednesday morning. But if you mess with the United States Secret Service, well, that’s a different story.
On Tuesday evening around 8:30 p.m., a group of protesters down at the DNC security perimeter — aka The Fence — decided to scale said fence in violation of federal law. According to the Philadelphia Police Department, there were five protesters who went over. Four of them were eventually taken into custody by the Secret Service, making them the first DNC arrests.
In this video, you can actually see an officer on the other side of the fence helping a female protester down:
— Harris from the Post (@rousseau_ist) July 27, 2016
Philly Mag reporter Jared Brey captured this video of the fence jumpers from the other side:
The four protesters, identified as Barbara Burns, Katherine Roberts, Anna Marie Sternberg, and James Williams, were taken to the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center and have been charged with one count each of Entering a Restricted Area. If convicted, they could face up to one year in prison and a fine. The defendants appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon, and the judge set bail at $10,000 for Roberts, Burns, and Williams and $5,000 for California’s Sternberg, the oldest defendant at 69. (Ages and home states for the other defendants were not immediately available.)
Meanwhile, while the Philadelphia Police Department has not made any DNC arrests, the department issued a total of 59 code violation notices to protesters between Monday and Tuesday. Fifty-four were issued on Monday and another four on Tuesday, a day when the police department estimates that some 5,000 people were involved in protests. The code violations come with a fine of $50, but if the violators are from out of town, we’re guessing they’ll just toss the citation in the trash.
Although the Philadelphia Police Department says it hasn’t made any DNC arrests, some activists take issue with that position, since officers have been detaining people temporarily in some cases.
“If you are not free to leave, then you are under arrest,” Michael Lee from the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity told Philly Mag’s Holly Otterbein on Monday.
Either way, when it comes to the police and protestors, this is all going down a lot smoother than it could have. So far, at least.