Occupy Tampa supporters are up in arms over the possible months-long detention of protester Timothy Sommers, arrested alongside 28 others at a Dec. 2 demonstration in Riverfront Park for trespassing and “obstructing or opposing an officer without violence.”
While Sommers was originally released the morning after his arrest, a judge yesterday revoked his bond and today ruled that he remain behind bars till his March 2012 trial.
According to Mark Cox, a spokesman for the state attorney’s office handing the case, Sommers’ bond was revoked because he had been charged with — but not arrested for — trespassing on Nov. 6.
“He reoffended,” Cox says, “and the judge revoked his bond from the December incident and is going to hold him without bond.” According to Cox, the decision is “not unusual.”
“That’s a complete injustice that he’s being held this long,” says Kelsy O’Morrow, a USF student who became active in the burgeoning Occupy movement because of anger at “the state of our governemnt and the influence of money in politics.” O’Morrow was present at the Riverfront protest with Sommers, and was also arrested.
“We all had a candlelight vigil for World AIDS Day and for the violence going on in Egypt,” she says. “We ended up occupying Riverfront Park and the [Tampa Police Department] came and arrested us all for trespassing and resisting.”
At Sommers’ bench trial this morning, the defendant requested more time in order to find legal representation. Judge James Dominguez then rescheduled the trial for March, meaning Sommers may remain in jail for months to come.
Sommers has a disposition hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. this Thursday. Cox says Sommers was today assigned a public defender, and he expects the defender will attend Thursday’s hearing. A call to the office of Hillsborough Public Defender Julianne Holt was not immediately returned.