Occupy OKC Protesters File Suit, Get More Time

Friday, December 2nd 2011, 12:09 am
By: News 9

After nearly two months of protesting, the city will give the Occupy OKC group more time in a downtown park. City officials gave the protesters an 11 p.m. deadline on Thursday, but a new development has them changing their tune.

That new development is a federal lawsuit. Occupy OKC protesters filed a lawsuit earlier Thursday evening against the city. The group is asking for an injunction and temporary restraining order against the city in order to continue spending the night.

"We're here to stay," said protester Brett Habbyshaw.

Protesters are calling it a victory. Police say they will not enforce the city's curfew laws, which has been the stance for the city since protesters began calling Kerr Park home.

"We were very excited [when we heard the news]," said Habbyshaw in reference to the city's decision.

The decision not to arrest protesters who were set to violate the curfew came shortly after the group took the legal action against the city. Group members told News 9 that five protesters worked throughout the evening to file paperwork asking a federal judge to order the city not to enforce its curfew law.

The city says it will wait for the matter to play out in court before moving in, but at the same time, city leaders say the occupiers have been here long enough.

"Before we were here, the park had transients here that were drinking and doing drugs, and that hasn't been a problem [since we've been here,]" said protestor Leo Bodine.

Occupy OKC members say they know their fight against the city is just beginning, but they want the city to know they have perseverance.

"Hopefully, we'll have good news in the outcome," said protester Shannon Hunnicutt.

Protesters say they are expecting a decision from the court Friday or Monday.

City officials say the Occupy movement has cost Oklahoma City taxpayers more than $50,000, which includes payroll for officers to patrol the park.