Occupy Tulsa protesters who were arrested in early November 2011 will begin their trials today, July 23rd at 9:30 AM. The first Occupy protester set for trial is Ms. Lindsey Scotney, mother of five, who was arrested while pregnant last fall. Mrs. Scotney and others feel good about the opportunity to present their cases at trial by jury.
Pam Huey, an Occupy Tulsa member and supporter, had this to say:
I was infuriated when I saw the way that the police pepper sprayed the protesters. Certainly it’s in our tradition as Americans to stand up and say something when we feel wronged. The Occupy Tulsa people were engaging in this time honored tradition when the city police came at them in force and pepper-sprayed them for doing nothing but engaging their rights. What we see is that Citizens United has turned money into speech in such a way that anyone who wants to have a voice has to buy one, or a politician.
Ms. Scotney, in addition to being a mother of five, has volunteered with the Tulsa Police Department, a registered Republican and has no priors.
John Harlien, who will be reporting to court on Tuesday, said:
The first Amendment doesn’t need a curfew, and as an American, it’s my right to peaceable assembly at any time of day. What those officers did in response to people sitting peacefully on the grass is atrocious, and they should be ashamed of themselves.
Occupy Tulsa protesters were arrested on their fifth day of encampment in protest against large banks getting corporate bailouts, the
continued expansion of government powers for overseas wars, the marginalization of the middle class and working poor by government interests, bank abuses, and a lack of response by the government to global financial fraud and economic corruption.
Central to their message is the idea that corporate money has robbed the citizens of this country of their voice in government..
The following four Occupiers are ordered back Tuesday, July 24th at 9:30 a.m. in Division 2 of Tulsa’s Municipal Court to hear when their trials will begin. Each of them, including Mrs. Scotney face up to 90 days in jail–if convicted:
1. Thomas G. Miller,
2. Joe Briggs,
3. John VanZant, and
4. John Harlien.
The 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
All other Occupy Tulsa trials are expected to begin on October 19, 2012.
Raw video of the November 2011 arrests:
23 Occupy Tulsa protesters were arrested between November 2 and 3, 2011 for violating a city curfew. At least five were pepper sprayed, reportedly to ensure their compliance. Occupy Tulsa maintains that the pepper spray was excessive given the peaceful nature of their resistance.