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For three years Bethel has been detained at the Tulsa County Jail on charges of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Bethel has yet to be brought to trial. Part of the reason is that he keeps delaying the proceedings against him by firing his lawyers. Presumably the court has continued the matter for so long to insure the accused’s rights to a fair trial and to be represented by counsel. In any event, there are no bigger fans of swift justice than district attorneys.
Occupiers have taken their protest to the county jail claiming that Bethel’s due process right to a speedy trial has been violated. “Occupy Tulsa is not taking sides,” insists an Occupy Tulsa participant. “We are not saying whether he is guilty or not … we’re saying, ‘Give him due process.’ ”
The primary criticism leveled at the occupy movement is the lack of cohesion of a discernible message. The occupation of the county jail decrying the constitutional rights of a known thug and the likely killer of Sweeney boldly underlines the message problem the occupiers should be struggling with.
Occupiers need to know what their message is and stay on it. The issue for Occupiers is corporate greed and the corruption and damage it has wrought; not the complexities of criminal procedure in an Oklahoma district court.
They stepped in it on this one. They will get little love for protesting the detention of the guy who was arrested for the murder-for-hire of Sweeney.
Surely there is someone among the occupy movement who knows something about marketing and public relations.