By Lori Spencer
Only the OKC 'Old Glory' Banner remains after the occupiers are driven out
(Image by ThisCantBeHappening!) Permission Details DMCA
Having spent the better part of two months as an embedded reporter with Occupy OKC's camp in Kerr Park (aka Poet's Park) I have often praised both the city and police department. Oklahoma City's occupation has so far managed to avoid the mass arrests and police brutality seen in other cities around the nation. In my opinion, this is largely due to the group's respect for the park and city ordinances, as well as the city's respect for the First Amendment. I frequently pointed to OKC as a model city, setting an example for how a local government and occupiers can peacefully coexist.
So imagine my surprise upon learning that the City of Oklahoma City recently refused to accept the group's $55/day permit fee. Assistant City Manager M.T. Berry told Occupy OKC that not only were they being evicted from Poet's Park, all city parks would be closed to them. Protesters were further informed that anyone remaining in Poet's Park after curfew would face citation or arrest, effective immediately.
The word was blasted out in urgent text messages, Facebook posts and Twitters: "EVICTION IMMINENT! Please come to Poet's Park NOW!"
6:40 p.m. -- an emergency General Assembly is called to decide whether to leave the park voluntarily or standoff with police. Occupier Jay Vehige speaks first:
Crowd: "Mic check! Mic check!"
Jay: "I've been arrested twice already and I'll do it again if I know people are with me. I'm not afraid!"