The groundswell of the Occupy Wall Street movement may have subsided by 2015, with many activists instead pursuing specific causes such as a $15 minimum wage
, but one Philadelphia man's participationin 2011 wound up netting him a big payday in court.
Gregory Harris was a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania when he began work on a short film documenting Occupy Philly. He was arrested on November 30, 2012, while Philadelphia Police were evicting Occupy Protesters at City Hall.
While most of the 52 people cleared from the area were charged with misdemeanor counts of obstruction and failure to disperse, only Harris was charged with a felony account of aggravated assault, after it was alleged that he hit bike officer Joseph Siska with his forearm, Philly.com
Though Harris, then 29, was cleared of all charges during a nonjury trial the following month, he later filed a lawsuit claiming that he was falsely arrested and that police "gave false statements concerning the incident," PhillyMag
On Thursday, a federal civil jury awarded Harris $80,000 in damages after deliberating for three hours in Philadelphia. They found that Harris was "arrested without probable cause" and that the arrest was "not a reasonable mistake by the officer."
According to Harris' representation, he is currently living in California and will earn his sociology doctorate from Penn when he completes his dissertation.