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.
Tags: Occupy Delaware