Tate-Brown protesters acquitted after town hall arrests

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015
VIDEO: Tate-Brown protesters acquitted after town hall arrests
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The so-called "Philadelphia Ten" were acquitted of charges of disrupting a community meeting to protest the deadly police-involved shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown.

CENTER CITY (WPVI) -- The protesters who were arrested at a police town hall several months back appeared in court today.

The so-called "Philadelphia Ten" were today acquitted of charges of disrupting a community meeting.

Those protesters were rallying against Philadelphia Police back in March.

They wanted more transparency from the department in the deadly police-involved shooting of Brandon Tate-Brown last December.

Three months later Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced the officers were justified when they shot Tate-Brown.

That night Williams attended a previously scheduled community meeting in Lawncrest with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

That meeting was stormed by protesters who confronted both Williams and Ramsey, chanting and pointing in their faces.

The police tried to move them away, and several scuffles broke out.

Police arrested ten protesters and charged them with disorderly conduct.

But again, today those protesters were acquitted.

The defendants and their supporters cheered as they emerged from the courthouse.

They held another protest after the trial today, and it turned ugly when one of them turned her attention to a group of police officers.

The woman screamed, "We are mothers. We give birth to these people. You do not have the right to take our (expletive) lives. I (expletive) hate all y'all (expletive) cops."

D.A. Seth Williams says the verdict is what it is, but that the protesters were intent on provoking the police.

"Their behavior was beyond accepted exercise of first amendment rights. They went there to get arrested, is what they had told people," Williams said.

Tate-Brown's mother, Tanya Brown-Dickerson, came to the trial to show her support. She says the outcome gives her hope as she pursues a wrongful death class action lawsuit against the city.

She says, "It means to me that the system can work if you do it the right way. It means that there is a possibility that there is two sides and a reasonable doubt."

The protesters today, clearly emboldened by the verdict, say this issue is far from over, and they will be heard again.