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The arrest of Renee Wilson is the latest in a series of police retaliations against PAPV's director and her family. On August 19th, Mt. Oliver police arrested her son and daughter, along with the girl friend of the late Damian Jordan, all on trumped up charges. Yesterday, September 2, the police again arrested Wilson's son on two charges stemming from the August 19 arrest: fleeing from arrest, and possession of a controlled substance. He was released earlier today at 1pm after bond was posted.
Wilson is herself being charged with bad checks, access device fraud, and criminal conspiracy. The last two are felonies. An "access device" most likely refers to a bank machine card. The criminal conspiracy charges refer to police allegations that Wilson and her ex-husband have attempted to defraud banks. Since it is the FBI, not local police, who typically investigate bank fraud, the charges are suspicious.
All these charges were initiated by Mt. Oliver police after PAPV applied for a permit to march in Mt. Oliver to demand for justice for two African-American men who were killed in police custody. The two men include Charles Dixon, 43, who was asphyxiated by police in Mt. Oliver on December 21, 2002, and Damian Jordon, 26, who--according to the police--hung himself in jail with his tee shirt, by the bars on the door of the cell in 1999. On July 21, 2003 Allegheny County Coroner Dr. Cyril H. Wecht recommended that homicide charges be filed in Dixon's death. PAPV is pressing District Attorney Steven Zappala to take action on the Mt. Oliver police responsible for asphyxiating Dixon and to further investigate the death of Damian Jordon.
Mt. Oliver Magistrate Anna Marie Scharding issued a warrant for Wilson's arrest on August 22, but Wilson and PAPV only learned about the warrant yesterday when police forced their way into the respective homes of Wilson's son, daughter and niece. The police apparently performed comprehensive searches, looking underneath beds and inside closets for PAPV's Director.
PAPV organizer Nathaniel Glosser hopes that Renee Wilson will be released on her own recognizance since she surrendered herself. However, he is prepared to post bail. Glosser also reports that she is holding up well and isn't scared of the police charges. The Saturday march on Mt. Oliver will go ahead as planned.PAPV will hold a press conference tomorrow, 10:30am, at PAPV's office, 801 Union Place, to discuss the charges against Renee and the connection to the Mt. Oliver march.