The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, June 21, 2005  

Clashes in Philadelphia

This is not good news.

WCAU-TV (NBC 10), Philadelphia, reports there has been trouble at today’s demonstrations in response to the biotechnology industry’s annual conference here, Bio 2005:

Violence between biotech protesters and police in Center City Philadelphia has turned tragic. A Philadelphia police officer has died after a scuffle in Center City on Tuesday.

The officer, Paris Williams, 52, may have died from a heart attack but homicide is also investigating the case.

He collapsed near the end of a brawl between protesters and police that lasted for several minutes near 12th and Arch Streets. Some protesters were seen being taken away in handcuffs by police after the incident.

The fallen officer was taken away in an ambulance.

There’s no bad p.r. quite like an unnecessary, or untimely, death.

[Post-publication addendum (June 22): The Philadelphia Inquirer today reports (“Officer Dies at Biotech Protest,” by Anthony S. Twyman, Thomas J. Gibbons Jr., and Jennifer Lin): “Inspector William Colarulo said a routine homicide investigation would be conducted into Williams’[s] death. A high-ranking police official said last night that, among other things, police are investigating a report that Williams was kicked by a person wearing steel-tipped shoes during the melee. Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson and Mayor [John] Street rushed to the hospital, joining Williams’[s] son and daughter. ‘He died in the performance of his duties,’ Johnson said. ‘We’re not blaming anybody for what happened. Right now, the whole circumstances are being investigated.’” And the Philadelphia Daily News has (“Veteran Cop Dies After Protest Scuffle,” by Barbara Laker, David Gambacorta, and Ramona Smith): “No arrests have been made, but some protesters are being questioned. ‘Homicide is handling the investigation at this point . . . because they have the manpower and expertise,’ Johnson said. ‘There’s no indication the Police Department did anything wrong or anyone else did anything wrong. It appears he died of a heart attack.”]

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