For Immediate Release
City Manager Orders Raid of OccupyDallas Camp
DALLAS - Police officers in riot gear raided the OccupyDallas camp early Thursday morning after City Manager Mary Suhm rescinded the agreement with protesters and ordered evictions. Members of the camp who have been protesting for over 42 days were given no notice from the city before police strategically surrounded them.
In an excessive show of force, mounted officers on horseback trotted onto the scene while police sport utility vehicles lined the streets. Jonathan Winocour, the lawyer working with OccupyDallas, was sent a fax at 11:46 p.m. from the City Attorney's office informing him of the city's intention to forcibly remove the peaceful protesters. Minutes after Winocour relayed the message to protesters, the members of the media were warned to leave by police loudspeaker. They were relocated across the street while the police loudspeaker issued a statement to the remaining OccupyDallas members. The protesters were given 20 minutes to collect their personal property and vacate the park.
After the 20 minute deadline had expired, police officers carrying shields lined the sidewalk and began moving into the camp. They searched each tent before arresting those who had chosen to stay. In total, 17 protesters were arrested for refusing to leave the park.
The raid on the camp comes less than 24 hours after Winocour met with city officials who assured him that there were no plans to evict the protesters. Protesters were warned by members of the media that police officers were being briefed and prepared for the raid on the camp. OccupyDallas advisor Glynn Wilcox was shocked to discover that City Manager Suhm failed to notify Mayor Rawlings and the members of the City Council of the police action. The raid comes on a day which has been planned as a National Day of Action across the country.
The OccupyDallas movement began Thursday, Oct 6 with a march from Pike Park to the Federal Reserve building. Over 1,000 people gathered to protest corporate greed and money influencing the government. The movement currently has more than 100 members occupying City Hall Park in downtown, with hundreds more joining in daily for marches to various corporations and banks throughout the city. The movement stands in solidarity with similar Occupy movements happening across the nation and the world, including the original Occupy Wall Street protest that featured tens of thousands of marchers and continues to grow.