Philadelphia jury acquits 12 Wells Fargo protesters in “Citizens’ Foreclosure”
Twelve protestors arrested in November 2011 for occupying a Center City Wells Fargo branch have been found not guilty by a Philadelphia jury. Defendants claimed they were staging a “Citizens’ Foreclosure” on the bank for engaging in discriminatory lending and sapping millions of dollars from the School District of Philadelphia. After viewing video of the protest and hearing defendants’ testimony, a jury found all 12 defendants not guilty on charges of conspiracy and trespassing.
“This verdict shows that the people of this country stand on the side of justice and not the reckless profit-driven motives of big banks,” said defendant and Occupy Sandy organizer Larry Swetman. “I hope this decision will give the United States government the courage to start taking these banks—the real criminals—to trial and to hold them accountable to the people, instead of letting them hide behind back-room settlements.”
One of the only Occupy-related trials in the country to be argued before a jury, today also marked the first civil disobedience Free Speech case in recent Philadelphia memory.
“Today the people of Philadelphia defended the First Amendment,” said Defense Attorney Marni Snyder, one of seven lawyers who volunteered to represent the protestors pro-bono. “We sent a clear message to the District Attorney’s Office: prosecute the real criminals at Wells Fargo; these twelve defendants stand on the side of justice.”
Defendants included a non-profit housing counselor, a Wells Fargo mortgage holder, a local teacher, an activist who participated in Civil Rights Era struggles, and Temple and Penn graduate students. During testimony, they pointed to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s report on Wells Fargo’s prejudicial lending practices and investigations by the Pennsylvania State Auditor General’s Office to draw connections between Wells Fargo’s profiteering and the defunding of our communities and school district.
“I’m excited the jury chose to stand with us and ask the real questions about Wells Fargo and our city,” said defendant and future public school teacher Aaron Troisi, “Questions like, can we really afford to let Wells Fargo to continue robbing from our children and stay silent? Wells Fargo and other banks are partly responsible for the situation our schools are in now. The banks have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from our schools and city.”
+ Top Story
For over 20 years, Temple’s Department of Campus Safety Services hosts a holiday/party for children and their families in the North Philadelphia community. The party is organized by members of the department and aided by volunteers from Temple’s student organizations and community relations professionals.
The College of Global Studies at Arcadia University is pleased to announce a new academic partnership with the prestigious University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa. This collaboration will facilitate new study abroad opportunities for U.S. students in one of South Africa’s most culturally diverse regions.
From Hollywood’s hottest nightclubs to the boardrooms behind the scenes, the trendiest restaurants to the bedrooms of the biggest stars—it’s all here in a steamy murder mystery from the celebrity journalist who knows the entertainment world better than anyone.
Politicians are a lot like sharks…if they smell blood in the water, they run toward it. So if you’re an incumbent governor with approval ratings in the cellar, a whole lot of sharks come to call. While the sharks may not come from your own school of fish, they’re coming… and they’re coming in bunches.
Holidays are all about creating traditions and keeping them alive. Families and friends come together for experiences that become lifetime memories. The performing arts “live” experience does exactly that—transporting audiences to stage settings of dancing sugar plum fairies....
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps program is accepting applications throughout the autumn and winter months. The program provides free education and training for eligible young people, ages 16 to 24, to help them start a career, earn a high school diploma or equivalent credential and find and keep a good job.
It wasn’t a “big” story. In fact, the article published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last June received little follow-up and even less attention. That’s unfortunate – because it’s a story that explains the anxiety so many Americans express about both Obama’s Affordable Care Act and even “reasonable” gun controls.