Philadelphia police

Judge Finds Protesters Who Disrupted Philadelphia Community Meeting Not Guilty

Ten demonstrators arrested at a raucous community meeting in Northeast Philadelphia's Lawncrest neighborhood were found not guilty of disorderly-conduct charges on Wednesday.

The protesters were charged after they disrupted a March 19 community meeting with Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and District Attorney Seth Williams at Lawncrest Recreation Center. They were demonstrating against the D.A.'s announcement that two police officers were cleared in the December shooting death of Brandon Tate-Brown, who police have said reached for a gun during a car stop on Frankford Avenue, prompting officers to fatally shoot him.

During the meeting, the protesters changed, "No justice, no peace," and some started a melee, throwing chairs. Police rushed the meeting and arrested 10 of the demonstrators.

After the arrests that night, Ramsey called the protesters' display "embarrassing."

In a statement released Wednesday morning by the Philadelphia Coalition for Racial, Economic and Legal Justice, activists said they planned to hold rallies outside the Criminal Justice Center in downtown Philadelphia both before and after the ruling.

“Despite what the media implies, we came together to address an issue of life and death to the people who are supposed to address it,” Durmel Coleman II, one of the protesters arrested at the meeting, said in the statement. “How can so many people bring a problem to officers of the law, the District Attorney and the Police Commissioner's attention, and instead of addressing the problem, they try their best to silence us?”

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