A Philadelphia judge has acquitted 12 Occupy protesters who were arrested in 2011 for bank sit-in.
Calling them the “most affable group of defendants I’ve ever come across,” and shaking their hands, Judge Nina N. Wright Padilla showed her support for the group, telling them “I hope you continue your work in a law-abiding way.”
The 12 activists were initially found guilty of “defiant trespass” by Municipal Court President Judge Marsha H. Neifield and fined each $500 plus court costs. However under Philadelphia law, those found guilty in Municipal Court have the right to a new trial in Common Pleas Court.
On Nov. 18, 2011, the group held a sit-in inside a Wells Fargo Bank branch, in an effort to call attention to Wells Fargo’s “racist predatory lending” policies that caused a large number of home foreclosures in African American neighborhoods.
Wells Fargo is the largest mortgage lender in the US, and last July the activists where vindicated when the company agreed to pay $175 million to settle allegations made by the U.S. Justice Department that independent brokers originating its loans charged higher fees and rates to minority borrowers than they did to white borrowers with similar credit risks.