Advertisement

Police officer dies at BIO 2005

Heat, humidity, and a protester/police scuffle in the streets of Philadelphia may have proved a lethal combination for Paris Williams, 52, today (June 21). The 17-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department collapsed shortly before 1 p.m. during a confrontation that snaked up Arch Street through the crowd of protesters outside of BIO 2005 (for video, see: http://www.nbc10.com/news/4632819/detail.html). From our office window at 400 Market Street, which peers up Market up to the entra

By | June 21, 2005

Heat, humidity, and a protester/police scuffle in the streets of Philadelphia may have proved a lethal combination for Paris Williams, 52, today (June 21). The 17-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department collapsed shortly before 1 p.m. during a confrontation that snaked up Arch Street through the crowd of protesters outside of BIO 2005 (for video, see: http://www.nbc10.com/news/4632819/detail.html). From our office window at 400 Market Street, which peers up Market up to the entrance of the Philadelphia Convention Center, things seemed quiet, save for the helicopters that had been droning since 10:30 am. But tension was evident since the start of the conference which brought 18,000 attendees to the city. The second day of the meeting was predicted to draw the most protesters, and security carried a tangible edge honed, no doubt, by last year?s protests in San Francisco. Sidewalks leading up to the center were restricted to badge-carrying attendees only. No more than two hours after Williams collapsed and was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital, the scene outside the convention center showed only muted signs of the protest. Police officers clustered in groups of six and seven hovering at each corner of the van lined streets. Orange cones blocked off part of Arch Street and yellow tape enclosed the block between 12th and 13th streets where the incident happened. According to one officer, who would not give his name, he and other officers were ?saddened by the loss? of their colleague. Nevertheless, most attendees were totally unaware of the officers? death, and few were fazed by the swarms of protestors earlier in the day. ?I guess [the protests] would be expected,? said Nathan Walvoord, 21, a conference attendee representing Ben Franklin Partnership. James Greenwood, the new president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, called the individual who had fought with police a ?thug,? with viewpoints held by few, ?a tiny, tiny handful of protesters, many of whom are professional protesters.? Greenwood estimated the number of demonstrators at 80, although the Philadelphia Inquirer said that two groups of BIO protesters, one of about 85 and another of about 70, had converged on the convention center (http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/business/special_packages/bio2005/11947990.htm) Though it?s unclear whether Williams was actually involved in the scuffle, Greenwood issued a statement offering condolences to the family of the officer and used a press conference that had been previously scheduled to talk about the incident. Greenwood, former Pennsylvania representative and a Philadelphia native said, ?We are saddened about this, we are angered about this, the city of brotherly love has embraced this convention, like no other city ever has and we have been planning this for well over a year.? Ishani Ganguli, Jeffrey Perkel, and Theresa Tamkins all contributed to this story.

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement
Ingenuity
Ingenuity

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Culture Techniques
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
Hamamatsu
Hamamatsu
Advertisement
The Scientist
The Scientist
Life Technologies