Breaking: Bishop Packard and others found guilty in OWS v. Trinity, Wall Street


Retired Bishop George Packard and seven other defendants have been found guilty of trespassing for climbing a fence and entering an empty lot owned by Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street in December. Packard and six others defendants were sentenced to four days of community service and assessed fines. One defendant, Mark Adams, was sentenced to 45 days in jail. More details to come. You can follow developments on twitter at #D17.

Tweets from Shawn Carrie:

Bishop George Packard now speaking of the disappointment seeing his church @TrinityWallSt help put @emarkadams in jail for 45days

Bishop Packard says in his 70 years as a man of faith, he has never heard a church speak of "No Trespassing" and punishment.

Bishop Packard: "@TrinityWallSt has been portraying itself as this hurt corporate entity, meanwhile pulling the wool over St eyes.

Trinity Wall Street's most recent statement on the trial, made on June 7, is here.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark Sisk of the Episcopal Diocese of New York released statements in December, just before the events for which Bishop Packard and the others were arrested, supporting Trinity, Wall Street. We will pass on whatever statements they might make.

Update 1 from CNBC:

The one-week trial in Manhattan Criminal Court pitted the church, once a strong ally of the movement, against Occupy supporters, who pressured church leaders not to cooperate with the prosecution.

In the trial before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino, one defendant, Mark Adams, was also convicted of trying to slice through the fence's locks with bolt-cutters. Sciarrino sentenced him to 45 days, more than the 30 days that prosecutors had been seeking; he did not offer an explanation. The other seven defendants received four days of community service.

"I'm not shocked, but I'm disappointed that the court felt private property interests trumped our clients' good-faith defenses," said Gideon Oliver Orion, one of four defense lawyers.

In finding the protesters guilty, Sciarrino said property rights are as important as freedom of speech. "This was a forceful taking, an invasion, an occupation, pure and simple," he said.

The Episcopal News Service story is here. It notes that the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, was among the defendants.

Comments (10)

[begin sarcasm]
Oh yes, I await Bishops Jefferts Schori and Sisk's remarks with baited breath. They've been so helpful in the past on this issue.

And I hope Dr. Cooper gets a fat bonus to augment his million-dollar salary plus perks!
[end sarcasm]

Trinity could have dropped the charges. What about forgiveness?

June Butler

Here's Trinity's spin, from their well-paid PR team (updated tonight):
(June, "forgiveness" doesn't appear in any of the statements.)

And a statement from one of the attorneys for a defendant rebutting Trinity's earlier statements:

Disappointed that Trinity didn't drop the charges, but then again, I've been shaking my head about the goings on at Trinity Wall Street for a while now.

Rev. Kurt Huber

Ahhh, so you never heard of the Church condemning others for trespassing? Did you never read Blake? "I went to the garden of love,... binding with briars my joys, and desires,...". I lean to the support of Civil Disobedience, but the witness of Christ is always love, and peace.

Sorry friends, but the turning of Trinity Wall Street into the enemy deflects from the real scandal of Wall Street. This is a sideshow for people who have no other viable strategy or plan, a cheap and easy target. TWS would have been smart to oppose them being charged, but the OWS folks are flailing looking for some traction for an amorphous set of complaints.

Still no candidates running, no platform of any sort, no juice at all.

Making Earl Kooperkamp and Bishop Packard do community service is more than a little ironic...

Michael, okay, as I've told you before on this site, OWS believes the political system as it stands to be corrupt and influenced by money and corporate interest. They prefer direct actions. They won't be fielding candidates. They're not going to be co-opted by a political party a la the Tea Party.

What they stand for is published here:

This is a leaderless movement. That might be hard to picture, so it will likely not meet your traditional requirements of a movement. This is something different, and it certainly has "juice" here in New York, as it has brought awareness to income inequality.

If you want to learn about the movement by mainstream media, you won't learn much. You will end up seeing it for what you do.

Michael, to me, Trinity's choice was stark and not be on the side of the angels or on the side of the greedy bankers and financiers who run our country. Surely the Occupiers represent a very small David taking taking on the Goliath of Wall Street, but they did it anyway.

I wondered, too, what were the demands of the Occupiers, what conditions they wanted met, until I visited the group in New Orleans before they were removed from two public spaces. I talked to the people there and suddenly it clicked. The Occupy folks will not be boxed in by a set of conditions or demands. When I asked the people why they were there, each person had a different reason, but it all came down to the injustice embedded in our political system, which is controlled by the big money folks. We are the 99%.

And I'm sure many of the Occupiers would laugh at my calling them the angels, for they are a messy, loud, and sometimes unsightly bunch. I don't know but its the kind of situation in which you either get the Occupy movement or you don't. The light bulb comes on, or it doesn't.

Still, Trinity's choice should have been easy, and they chose wrong.

June Butler

A crime was committed. They were punished for the crime. Sounds like an open and shut case to me.

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