Wilmington Ordering an End To Occupy Delaware in Spencer Plaza

Filed in Delaware by on April 23, 2012

The Office of the Mayor issued a press release and I gather officially notified the Occupy Delaware residents today that they were to clear Spencer Plaza before 1 May 2012. Here is the entire release:

Mayor Baker Directs Occupy Delaware to Cease Occupation of Spencer Plaza
Posted on 04/23/2012 3:03 pm

Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker today directed members of Occupy Delaware to discontinue their occupation of Spencer Plaza, which is located on the 800 Block of French Street directly across from the Louis L. Redding City/County Building. The Mayor has requested that the group dismantle their campground by May 1. Occupy Delaware has occupied Spencer Plaza—the sacred burial ground of celebrated African American religious leader Peter Spencer, his wife and six other individuals—since November of 2011.

The City of Wilmington originally agreed to allow Occupy Delaware to use Spencer Plaza to express its First Amendment right to engage in protected speech. According to Mayor Baker, however, in the time since the agreement was reached, individuals at the site have engaged in criminal misconduct, including destruction of public property, safety and sanitation violations and, most recently, illegal drug activity and public intoxication.

The Mayor said the group’s ‘occupation’ is preventing the general public from the use and enjoyment of the plaza. “The City does not intend to preclude Occupy Delaware from the legitimate exercise of its First Amendment rights,” said the Mayor. “But the indefinite seizure of public property is not protected speech. I am therefore asking that Occupy Delaware discontinue the occupation of the Plaza by no later than May 1.”

“The Occupy Delaware encampment in Spencer Plaza has become more than just a public nuisance with its unsightly and disorderly appearance—it also represents a danger to the people camping there as well as to the public,” Mayor Baker continued. “Most disturbing is the lack of respect some have shown for our laws and for what many Wilmingtonians consider to be a sacred gravesite. Occupy Delaware’s ‘occupation’ has become a desecration of the final resting place of one of our most historic and revered citizens—the African American church leader Peter Spencer who founded the first independent black Christian Church in the United States, which is the A. U. M. P. Church in Wilmington.”

Mayor Baker said he hopes that Occupy Delaware will be respectful of Wilmington’s cultural heritage and sensitive to the desires of the total Wilmington community by voluntarily removing the tents and related structures from Spencer Plaza, on or before May 1. The Mayor said he also hopes that Occupy Delaware will immediately bring an end to the violations of law that have occurred at the site.

There’s alot of allegations in there and none of it syncs up with any of my visits to the site. But I am told that the Occupy DE folks will be meeting (not sure with who) to explore the allegations made by the Mayor. Anyone with more/better information can contribute it to the comments below. In the meantime, call up your Councilperson and the Mayor’s office to ask them to just back off.


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Comments (16)

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  1. the19802 says:

    I couldn’t find any reference to this WPD press release from last Wednesday, the 18th, if it’s old hat I apologize.

    City of Wilmington
    News from the Office of Police Chief Michael J. Szczerba

    Authority of: Sgt Thomas Ragonese Date: 18 April 2012 Time: 1056

    Topic: 2 men arrested for selling Heroin in Rodney Square


    Officers Bozeman, Cramer, Palmatary and Metzner of the Neighborhood Policing Unit were conducting an investigation in the area of Rodney Square. While on surveillance of Rodney Square, Officers observed an individual engaging in numerous hand to hand transactions that are consistent with street level drug deals. Upon conducting a closer investigation, it was found that this man (Eddie Cross of 201 N. Poplar St, Wilmington) was working in conjunction with another man (Brian Ayars of 5 Mason Court, Gredon Farms, Wilmington). It appeared that this second man was resupplying the first as they routinely parted company and then met back up with each other. The Officers then made direct contact with both of the Suspects, identified them and confirmed their observations when it was found that the Suspects were in possession of Heroin.
    Mr. Cross advised that he was merely talking to Mr. Ayars since he knew him from the time they spent together in the “Occupy Delaware” encampment. He stated that he was merely selling loose cigarettes to people in Rodney Square and refused to answer any more questions about the Heroin.
    Mr Ayars advised that he was in the area and talking to a friend he knew as a part of the “Occupy Delaware” movement and refused to answer any questions about his activity and the Heroine found in his possession.
    As a result of the keen observations of these officers and their excellent teamwork, the two Suspects were arrested and 16 bags of Heroin were removed from the streets of Wilmington.

  2. Anon says:

    “the Heroine found in their possession”

    Ah, literacy.

  3. Aoine says:

    try http://www.wgmd.com

    the literacy there is well…..interesting

    the lack of brainpower too

    puts a new meaning on LSD

  4. cassandra m says:

    The WPD press release on the Rodney Square heroin arrest is interesting and unusual. They don’t typically let the suspects caught “speak” in their press releases and let the newspaper tell the he say she say. When that press release came out, it raised a bunch of red flags in a bunch of places –like someone is trying to actually plant incriminating information.

    Also interesting that they would assign two officers specifically assigned to working in West Center City to work an investigation over at Rodney Square.

  5. socialistic ben says:

    It actually doesn’t surprise me. Full disclosure… i havent been around Occupy Delaware in a few months, but the reason i stopped going was the lack of discipline. There were people there abusing “the bad drugs” as well as people using couches as toilets, trash everywhere…. just a general lack of direction and motive.
    It’s frustrating because a lot of people worked very hard to secure the permits and legality to be in that space and a few “bad apples” coupled with no real effort to remove them real did a disservice to the cause.
    If you are going to form a protest movement…. especially against the biggest power in our country (big banks) you need to be 100% squeeky clean or else the Bastards will be able to discredit you and everyone associated with you, and every cause that can be tied to you, and every idea that can be associated with you. The deck is stacked against fairness…… stop making dumb mistakes like letting junkies hang around your site… (help them get help)

  6. The presser –
    Occupy Delaware “Banksleep” Escalates battle against Bank of America

    City Responds with pre-emptive request to cease occupation

    WILMINGTON, DE. Preparing to escalate their battle against the “Too Big to Fail” banks headquartered in Wilmington, Occupy Delaware was hit by city officials with a threat to abrogate the agreement regarding their six-month encampment in Spencer Plaza. The group intends to take their sleeping bags to the sidewalk outside bank doors in Wilmington, beginning with Bank of America Monday night, April 23.

    The announcement from the mayor’s office was seen as a departure from the good relationship Occupy Delaware had maintained with the city.

    The city sent Occupy Delaware’s attorney a list of charges, almost all of which were new to Occupy Delaware. The group claims to have corrected every problem brought to its attention, and they have not receive any complaints since December. The group claims to have maintained a clean and safe encampment since its original agreement with the city. If the city saw violations the group asks why it did not bring them to their attention so they could deal with them. Apparently, the city has been conducting surveillance to concoct a case against the group instead of protecting their First Amendment rights. The group enforces a strict policy of respect for the park and respect for the law. The group has asked several individuals who would not abide by the rules to leave.

    Claims by the city that the group did not respect the nearby burial site of Peter Spencer seem like a pretext to save from embarrassment bankers whose fraudulent actions have devastated the accumulated wealth of the Black community. Indeed, nothing in the letter sent to the groups attorney offered any evidence that there had been any disrespect at the gravesite. Occupy Delaware has collaborated with Reverend Lawrence Michael Livingston, Pastor of Mother African Union Church, founded by Peter Spencer. Reverend Livingston was an organizer of Occupy the Dream, which joined Occupy Delaware at the Spencer Plaza site.

    The city cannot blame Occupy Delaware for social problems that exist city wide, problems that are exacerbated by racism, the economic collapse caused by the plutocracy that dominates the city power structure, and the failed war on drugs.

    Occupy Delaware will continue to negotiate in good faith with the city and expects the city to abide with their agreement with Occupy Delaware.

    Occupy Delaware comprises a broad variety of voices. Anyone in Delaware who is fed up with a national agenda that is rigged in favor of the wealthiest one percent at the expense of the other ninety-nine percent is welcome to participate. Occupy Delaware does not endorse political candidates or parties.

  7. Que Pasa says:

    ds cpds!

  8. Dana Garrett says:

    Notice that Mayor Baker chose May 1st, a big day for the Occupy movement nationwide as well as International Workers Day.

  9. Que Pasa says:

    Yeah, I’m sure Mayor Baker knew that.

    ds cpds!

  10. Dana Garrett says:

    Que Pasa, you are probably often dumbfounded when people “know” things.

  11. MJ says:

    I was up in that area for the Caesar Rodney half-marathon last month. A number of people claiming to be with OD were hanging around and I actually overheard two of them talking about how they were going to try to steal the food that was there for the runners. Actually, all they had to do was ask and they would have been given something to eat. I don’t know if these folks were actually OD people, but it wasn’t a good situation.

  12. Que Pasa says:

    N, ths Myr prbbly ddn’t knw tht My 1st s Cmm Dy.

  13. V says:

    i work over by BoA (but not for them). Some of my co-workers saw them out front this morning on the way into work, but when i went out around 10 i didn’t see anybody. Did they get kicked form there too?

  14. The Truth says:

    HAHAHAHAHA…. Word on the street is that theres nobody there from Occupy Delaware. All of those folks went home or back to work. At this point, Occupy Delaware has turned into Hooverville. No longer are people demonstrating, but rather Occupy has created tenements for the homeless. Its a good deed and it does send a message. However, if this is what Occupy is going to allow to happen, you have to expect one or two inhabitants to piss on a couch or two then go shoot some heroin in a tent.

    I mean, what genius thought that if you erect tents a block away from the Sunday Breakfast Mission and leave them unattended that homeless drug addicts wouldn’t eventually set up shop. And becareful when trying to kick people out. Because if you have the right to kick someone off public property, why wouldn’t the Mayor?

    Occupy Delaware is a joke. They’re unorganized and seem to lack the drive. You can’t have a leaderless movement. Good thing they called the blacks. At least they know how to protest against opression. Middle class white folks? Not so much.