Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street Protesters Due in Court
Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 11:18 AM
More than 300 arrested during Occupy Wall Street demonstrations this fall are expected to pack a Manhattan courthouse this week to answer the charges.
Arraignments were underway for 166 people arrested during an October 1 march on the Brooklyn Bridge and other protests. The rest have court dates Thursday or Friday. Most were arrested for disorderly conduct.
The demonstrators were generally charged with disorderly conduct and blocking traffic, both violations. Many took a judge's offer Wednesday to get their cases dismissed if they avoid getting arrested again for six months.
Some others told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Neil Ross they wanted trials.
Amanda Geraci, 29, said it would be a pain to come back to court from her home in Philadelphia. But she turned down the dismissal deal, partly because she didn't like the condition of staying out of trouble for six months.
"I'm not going to have something over my head from a justice system I didn't do anything wrong against," she said after court.
Sixty-five protesters — arrested at a demonstration near Union Square in September — appeared in court in November. Almost all refused prosecutors' offers to dismiss charges if they stayed out of trouble for six months.
Over the nearly three months since Occupy Wall Street began, New York City police have arrested more than 1,200 people in connection with the demonstration.
With reporting by Tracie Hunte and the Associated Press