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Philadelphia Police Officer Killed by Protesters

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
This just happened two hours ago 2 blocks away from where I work. And my job is workers compensation case manager, for the City of Philadelphia's Police Department. This is hitting me hard. Yes, I agree that the pharmaceutical industry is making huge profits while so many people cannot afford health care...but this is no way to protest.

Officer Dies Following Protest

PHILADELPHIA-June 21, 2005 — A Philadelphia police officer who was hurt trying to make arrests during protests in Philadelphia has died. Protestors are demonstrating against a major bio-tech conference in Center City. Sources tell Action News that some of the radical organizations were threatening violence today.

The protest was at 12th and Arch streets in Philadelphia. Officer Paris Williams, 52, was kicked by at least one of the protestors after falling to the ground. He was an 18-year veteran of the police force and a father of 2.

Philadelphia police commissioner Sylvester Johnson was heading to North Carolina. He had his plane turned around came back to Philadelphia because of Williams' death. Johnson says it may have been a heart attack, but the exact cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

The incident that preceded Williams' death happened just outside the Pennsylvania convention center at about 12:45pm.

Homicide detectives are now investigating the case.

Police sources say the anarchists are in Philadelphia, but they know where they are staying and they know what they are planning.

At noon, protestors were starting to rally at Love Park. Just before noon, Chopper 6 spotted protestors crowding the intersection of 16th and Arch.

Philadelphia police are showing a big presence throughout the city today.

Demonstrators will gather at a handful of locations. They started with a rally outside GlaxoSmithKline headquarters. Later, they'll demonstrate outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Medics put Officer Paris Williams into an ambulance after he was hurt during a scuffle with protestors in Center City.
They are targeting what they call huge profits at the expense of affordable health care. Others are upset with what they call tampering with the food supply.

The protesters vowed to tie up Center City traffic to get their point across.

There is a threat from a more radical contingent to use violence, including Molotov cocktails. The police are out in force to make sure that doesn't happen.

Later, the protesters are threatening to crash the party at the Convention Center. That's were 18,000 people have gathered for the Biotechnology Industry Organization convention.

The police have extra personnel on standby there and will have a show of force at the Art Museum tonight.

That's the site of a dinner gala for conventioneers, and the protesters have made that a target as well.
post #2 of 12
How do violence against police officers who are trying to keep things orderly, and the use of Molotov cocktails, constitute part of a protest? People who do such things are hooligans, not political activists, and deserve no respect whatsoever. They only hurt whatever cause they're supposedly supporting.
post #3 of 12
I thought that after the horrors of 9/11 we would no longer see that kind of violent protest in the USA. While their message might be good, the violence clouds the issue (what was the protester's point anyway) and makes us normal people turn against them. What could they possibly think they would accomplish with violence? It truly makes no sense!
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
The protesters are now gathered in a park in front of the building where I work. I have to go past them to get to the train station to go home in 15 minutes. I am worried and a little scared. Somehow, my pepper spray doesn't seem an adequate protection.
post #5 of 12
Sue, please stay safe!

No matter what the message, protests like this give all activists for any cause a bad name. And while they may make the news for their protest, the message is so far buried in the story most of the time it is completely lost. Tricia's right - these people are hooligans using the guise of a "cause" to excuse their violent behavior.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
I will do my best to stay safe, and damn it Heidi, I want to get to Denver NOW!
post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by Mom of 10 Cats
I will do my best to stay safe, and damn it Heidi, I want to get to Denver NOW!
YEAH! About the only time you have to worry about riots around here is if one of our sports teams wins a championship! Even the protests when the G8 summit was here years ago weren't that bad...at least there weren't any deaths.
post #8 of 12
How horrible. I can't even imagine what the officer's family and fellow officers are going through. Line of Duty deaths bring out so much grief. It's unfathomable how people who claim to be upholding justice and human dignity can do this to another human being. Those people don't care anything about the issue, the only thing they care about is being seen and causing trouble.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm home safe and sound. There was a wall of about 3 dozen officers by the train station entrance.
I am still stunned by it all. Even though I didn't know him personally, with the close rapport I have with the department through my job, it has hit me harder than I would have thought.
My heart goes out to his family and the other officers in his detail. He was in a special division for Community Affairs.
post #10 of 12
What a nightmare for you! I hope it doesn't put you off going to work, people who protest this violently should count as terrorists in my book, and shouldn't be allowed the satisfaction of making a difference to anybody's routine.

Glad you are OK.

post #11 of 12
That poor officer My heart goes out to all law enforcement agents and firemen who die in the line of duty.
post #12 of 12
According to the story I heard on NPR this morning, the officer had a heart attack while on duty.
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