Occupy Louisville protest ends in clashes with police, multiple arrests

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by Bryan Baker

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 25, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 26 at 1:04 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It's just the kind of confrontation some Occupy Louisville protesters had been waiting for; a tense clash with police bordered on violent outside of a Chase Bank branch on Baxter Avenue in the Highlands. Five people were arrested and received various charges, including two people for assaulting a police officer.

"There have been people involved in Occupy Louisville since its inception who wished that Louisville was more of a problematic city, with more direct confrontations with police," said protester Karl Zollner.

Occupiers gathered around 1 p.m., holding signs, chanting, and playing bongos, the way they've done for the past five months of the local movement. Emotions escalated when police arrived at the request of the bank.

"When ordinary Americans come and protest, what happens every day at banks across this country, the police are used to serve as a protective force, to protect the interests of the banks over and against the interest of the people," added Zollner.

The movement demonstrated the fury of their 99 percent by accusing Chase, which accepted taxpayer bailout funds, of conducting illegal foreclosures in Louisville.

With protesters standing outside and inside the bank doors, bank security tried to close them, while simultaneously allowing customers to enter. Then they called police.

A few officers arrived at first, telling occupiers it was acceptable to protest but that they couldn't block sidewalks or entrances, which is illegal.

An altercation erupted when a police sergeant attempted to move an occupier from the door. A woman behind the officer appeared to reach for his belt, when he knocked her off. Occupiers moved closer to the officer, chanting, "Shame! Shame!" as he called for backup.

Tensions stirred again after police say occupiers rushed the door when customers were let in the bank. WHAS11 cameras captured a group of people, including officers, falling into the newspaper racks along Highland Avenue outside the bank. A man in a leather jacket grabbed an officer from behind and other officers came to his defense.

Chase Bank employees walked to their cars with police. Emotions raged as officers led occupiers out of the bank in handcuffs.

The bank released this statement:

"It's a tough economic environment, unemployment is too high, and many individuals and families across the country are feeling the pain. We respect their frustrations and their right to speak their minds. But JPMorgan Chase's commitment has always been to do business in a responsible way and to help the communities we serve."

You can see the incident by clicking on the video player above.

See below for the people who were arrested.
 
Donald J. Baum
Charges: Disorderly Conduct 2nd, Assault 3rd, Resisting Arrest, Obstructing a Government Operation
 
Robert Johnson
Charges: Disorderly Conduct 2nd
 
Marianna Ashley
Charges: Disorderly Conduct 2nd, Menacing
 
Alyson Hill
Charges: Disorderly Conduct 2nd, Resisting Arrest, Assault 3rd, Menacing
 
Anita Corine Geter
Charges: Disorderly Conduct 2nd

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