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October 26, 2011

Occupy Baltimore awaits city action; revises sexual assault guidelines

A day after the city declared the Occupy Baltimore movement an illegal encampment, protesters are awaiting the next move from authorities. But it appears the police aren't moving in just yet.

The Sun's Luke Broadwater reports that at last night’s meeting of what the group calls their General Assembly, protesters said city officials had indicated to them that a representative from the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks would attend tonight’s 8 p.m. meeting. City officials did not immediately confirm that information, but had tentatively set today as a deadline for the protesters to come to an agreement with City Hall.

In the photo above by The Sun's Karl Merton Ferron, college student Brandie Cross holds a flag raised in distress, whose stars are instead symbols of large corporations.

Police and city officials have been circumspect about telegraphing their next move, perhaps to avoid a confrontation similar to what has occurred in other cities, most recently Oakland, where police moved in with tear gas, or to keep the element of surprise. What does seem clear is that the city is gearing up for some action to evict what they've determined has morphed from a protest to a campground.

Also today, after having distributed pamphlets that advocates and police said discouraged victims of sexual assault from going to authorities, the Occupy Baltimore has revised its guidelines.

The new pamphlet now lists services available to victims. Gone is controversial language that said the protesters would rather handle complaints amongst themselves, and that while they wouldn't prevent someone from going to police, they would prefer not to involve law enforcement.

The memo now reads, in part: 

Instances of sexual abuse and assault will be handled according to the expressed desires of the victim. The Security and Medical teams are equipped with a list of resources, including contact information for the police, hospitals, sexual assault hotlines, and women's shelters. In these instances, #Occupy Baltimore welcomes the involvement of the Baltimore City Police and encourages victims to report crimes.

The complete memo on sexual assault is below:

Occupy Baltimore has released an official statement detailing their attitude and procedure for dealing with sexual assault. This comes in response to false allegations by several media sources that a previous, official policy had discouraged police involvement in such instances.

The document in question was written, and distributed in leaflet form, by a now-replaced security team. It was never approved by the General Assembly or endorsed by Occupy Baltimore.

Occupy Baltimore is not in the habit of codifying our policy in written form.  A zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, abuse, and assault – as well as other forms of violence and intimidation – has existed and been enforced since the movement’s inception.

The full text of the new policy, which was approved by the General Assembly on Tuesday, October 25, is printed below:
Occupy Baltimore Sexual Offense Policy
Since its inception, Occupy Baltimore has maintained a zero-tolerance policy against sexual harassment, abuse, and assault.  We maintain that creating a safe space for all people is paramount to our goal of building community.  We actively oppose sexual violence in all its personal, cultural, and systemic forms.
Victims can alert the Security Team using the all-purpose call, "Round-up!" to ensure immediate physical protection and subsequent enforcement of our policy.

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted commentary or physical contact.  It is the victim's prerogative to classify any action as sexual harassment, and to decide whether or not the harasser be ejected from Occupy Baltimore.  If the victim chooses to enforce the ejection policy, the harasser will be ordered not to return until the Safer Spaces Committee in conjunction with the Mediator’s Committee has reviewed the incident on the following day.  

Instances of sexual abuse and assault will be handled according to the expressed desires of the victim.  The Security and Medical teams are equipped with a list of resources, including contact information for the police, hospitals, sexual assault hotlines, and women's shelters.  In these instances, #Occupy Baltimore welcomes the involvement of the Baltimore City Police and encourages victims to report crimes.  We also recognize that the U.S. Justice System is flawed, especially when it comes to cases of sexual assault. If for any reason the victim feels uncomfortable with police involvement, their wishes will be respected.

Anyone reporting sexual assault, with or without police involvement, will have the support of the Occupy Baltimore community.  This includes but is not limited to medical assistance, transportation, protection, investigation, mediation and conflict resolution, and emotional support and counseling.  
 Baltimore City Police
-       Emergency: 911
-       Central District Precinct: 410-396-2411
 TurnAround, Inc.
-       Sexual Assault Response Hotline, 9am-7pm: 443-279-0379
-       Local Office: 410-837-7000
 Baltimore City Health Dept.
-       Emergency Medical Care Team: 410-545-3229
 Mercy Medical Center (Sexual Assault Center and Emergency Services)
-       410-332-9477
 Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
-       Main: 410-550-0100
-       Emergency : 410-550-0350
 Sinai Hospital of Baltimore (24-hour crisis intervention)
-       Main: 410-578-5678
-       Emergency: 410-578-5000
 University of Maryland Medical Center
-       Emergency Room: 410-328-6722
-       Pediatric Emergency: 410-328-6335, 410-328-6677
-       Child Sexual Abuse: 410-328-5289
-       Adolescent Clinic (Rape Team): 410-328-8336
 RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network):
-       National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
-       Online Hotline:
 House of Ruth (Emergency Shelter for Battered Women and Children)
-       24-hour Hotline: 410-889-7884
-       Legal Services: 410-554-8463, 410-889-7790, 410-889-7791
 Child Protective Services
-       Adults: 410-361-5000
-       Children: 410-361-2235

Posted by Peter Hermann at 10:53 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Downtown


This movement is a joke. Go get a job people and stop protesting those companies that have jobs available. If you disagree with a specific company then vote with your dollar. Stop doing business with them, if they really are that bad they'll shut down.

If you don't like the Mayor or the fact that this elected official who is representing the best interests of the people tell you that you can no longer camp, you essentially are telling the people that you do not care what they think. Your 'occupation' is walking a fine line.

Between your communist views and socialist agenda, honestly, is the reason you do not have a lot of support from the people.

You need to pack up your tents and go find a real camp ground. If you don't like the Mayor, then round up support to vote her out or get enough signatures to have her recalled. Until then, take you less than 0.001% of the population and go away. We really don't want your communist and socialist views here in American, the Constitution of the United States has no place for them.

Awesome, a handful of people hanging around for weeks holding up signs, and they've now accomplished the creation a V2.0 of their sexual assault guidelines. Maybe with a few more months of deliberation they might be able to propose, like, one of those governmenty kinds of policies, the kind that applies to the whole country instead of just to little campsite. Maybe then we'd know what they want, and they would too.

This is a group of 20-30 people camping out at the inner harbor. Do they really need a "sexual assualt policy?"

Very few people involved in this movement is espousing anything similar to true socialists beliefs. Most people are fine with capitalism but want it regulated in a way that makes it fair. It's not the capitalism that bothers them it's the way the game is rigged.

The only reason they are considered socialists is because far to few Americans know what the word really means.

Yeah, it's really Marxist to want equality before the law when it comes to financial crimes.

I'm a true capitalist. i have my own business. I CREATE jobs. And I support the occupy movement 100%. The elite bankers have deliberately crashed our economy and killed/maimed/discplaced millions overseas in their illegal wars. So I guess because some people like to sit online and trash people who are actually trying to make a difference, we should all just sit back and hope the 1% that controls 38% of the wealth throws us a bone. Philip :YOU are the joke, and YOU are a traitor. Stay out of downtown we don't need jerks like you around.

Phillip, put down the TV remote and read. Occupy are protesting on your behalf, unless you happen to be one of the billionaires who defrauded the American taxpayer, corrupted our government and destroyed the economy. Have you seen any of those criminals go to jail? Do you think our justice system would be as lenient towards you if you were to commit a crime? What if you decided to protest the eroding of democracy by putting your body on the line by sleeping outside as an expression of free speech and a way to educate other citizens? Think for yourself and stop with the socialism BS. That's what the millionaires on TV want you think, otherwise you might upset their cushy little jobs keeping us ignorant and quiet.

So people in a public space get to unilaterally decide to expel someone else from a public space? How does that make sense? Oh, right, the alleged victim gets to claim they feeeeel threatened and call the police.

reply to ihatepundits: America is laughing and wincing at this band of smelly protesters. You have got our attention, but for all the wrong reasons. Anti Semitism, sexual assault and indecent exposure have become the headline for your project. Your group has failed to control your own and you have lost your opportunity to make a good impression. You should go home to your capitalist parents house and start reading about the presidential candidates if you want to level the playing field. The first step to the justice you claim to be in search of is an audit of the Fed. There is only one candidate who will take that first step as soon as he is elected. Audit the fed will expose much of the corruption you are looking for. All the while Obama is raiding the treasury buying votes from big labor, big business and now college loans to try to buy power in a failed presidency. Bankers and Wall Street know how to make a buck so they are just lining their pockets in the process. Read about the candidates, and vote for the one that will audit the FED. If you want justice vote for Ron Paul. He will bring justice to Wall Street and big business, fairly and equally. He will stop the bailouts and neutralize the crony capitalism you saw with Bush and Obama. Then the rest of us will thrive.

FYI, TurnAround's Sexual Assault Response Hotline is 24 hours, not 9am-7pm - 443-279-0379.

There is also another local sexual assault and domestic violence hotline, which is also 24 hours, at 410-828-6390.

Both provide resources.

Occupiers, return to your parents basements where you are free to blog all your whiny complaints, assuming your parents continue working to support your lazy butt.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.

Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.

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