Occupy Pittsburgh Must Evacuate Park by Monday

Friday, 03 Feb 2012 07:34 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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A county court judge in Pittsburgh has given Occupy protesters until Monday to leave a downtown park they’ve camped in since October or face eviction. Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Christine Ward, in a 23-page opinion, sided with the park’s owners, Bank of New York Mellon, said the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
 
Ward ruled Thursday the protesters had to leave because there is no law or constitutional ground “that permits a group of people to take over someone else’s private property as defendants have taken over BNY Mellon's property here.”
 
Sheriff William Mullen said deputies planned to post the order in the park. If the protesters don’t leave by Monday, Mullen said, he’ll wait for a judge to sign off on an eviction notice before his deputies start proceedings.
 
Mellon spokesman Ron Gruendl said the bank is working with the sheriff’s office, and after the protesters leave, the bank will close the park and repair it.
 
Occupy Pittsburgh lawyers said they will meet to discuss appealing the ruling.
 
“I think this shows how the courts elevate corporate rights over First Amendment rights and other human rights of the ordinary person,” said attorney Jules Lobel, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “This property was built with public subsidies. I think the judge got the law wrong. For all intents and purposes, it's a public plaza.”

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