Police removed 10 protesters from Comcast’s headquarters in Center City on the fourth day of demonstrations around the city against the Democratic National Convention.
Occupy DNC members were protesting what they say is a failure by the mainstream media to report the truth. They cuffed themselves to railings inside Comcast’s lobby, and remained there until police removed them.
Police gave them civil citations, which results in a fine – but no criminal record – for the offender. The citations are part of an overall strategy, which includes keeping officers in their regular uniform blues instead of riot gear, to defuse street tensions before they explode into confrontations.
“Sometimes if you go looking like you’re prepared for a fight, then that’s what you get,” Philadelphia police Commissioner Richard Ross said during a Wednesday security briefing. “For us, we don’t believe in that. It doesn’t really say a lot about what you feel about protecting people’s constitutional rights if you start out looking like you’re in a bunch of protective gear. We believe it works.”
Ross reminded protesters, though, that other law enforcement agencies might not be as tolerant.
Federal authorities Tuesday night arrested five people who scaled a fence into a restricted area near the Wells Fargo Center, where the Democratic National Convention is being held.
“When that black fencing is up, it is a federal violation to enter those restricted areas. We don’t believe these people knew that,” Ross said, adding that city officials have talked to federal authorities about moving those cases back to the state system.
“But that is not up to us,” Ross added. “People should know, from this point forward, if you reach that fence, it is not Philly PD you’ll be dealing with. It’s the U.S. government.”