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Police officer death - HCM


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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • Police officer death - HCM

    In a seperate report the medical examiner stated that the cause of death was "hyertensive cardiomyopathy" a common misuse of terms for HCM. Lisa

    APRIL SAUL / Inquirer
    During resuscitation attempts police chase protesters away from the area on Arch Street.

    Officer dies at biotech protest

    In a scuffle, he collapsed of an apparent heart attack.

    By Anthony S. Twyman, Thomas J. Gibbons Jr. and Jennifer Lin

    Inquirer Staff Writers

    A 52-year-old police officer died yesterday after apparently suffering a heart attack in a face-off with demonstrators during a small and otherwise controlled protest outside the BIO 2005 conference at the Convention Center.

    Officer Paris Williams, a 17-year veteran working in the Civil Affairs Unit, was trying to prevent protesters from nearing the entrance of the Convention Center.

    His death came midway in a day of eclectic protest that brought hundreds into the heart of the city at lunchtime to protest everything from the banning of skateboarding at JFK Plaza to genetic engineering in foods.

    Waves of skateboarders took to the streets and reclaimed JFK Plaza, also known as LOVE Park, if only briefly. At the same time, "BioDemocracy" demonstrators tried to bring their warnings to the stewards of the biotechnology-industry meeting in the Convention Center.

    Williams was in a line of plainclothes police officers blocking Arch Street between 12th and 13th Streets at 12:40 p.m. They were backed up by bicycle police and patrol officers with nightsticks.

    As the protesters came face to face with police on Arch Street, shoving broke out. Officers and demonstrators grabbed one another, causing a brief scuffle.

    In pictures taken by an Inquirer staff photographer, Williams can be seen in a scrum with protesters. A minute later, he collapsed.

    Williams was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital by Fire Department paramedics. He was pronounced dead at 1:05 p.m.

    As conventiongoers watched from second-floor windows at the Convention Center, demonstrators pulled back from the police cordon.

    One of the protest leaders said he was saddened by Williams' death.

    About a half-dozen protesters were taken to Police Headquarters for questioning and were released, police said.

    Inspector William Colarulo said a routine homicide investigation would be conducted into Williams' death. A high-ranking police official said last night that, among other things, police are investigating a report that Williams was kicked by a person wearing steel-tipped shoes during the melee.

    Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson and Mayor Street rushed to the hospital, joining Williams' son and daughter.

    "He died in the performance of his duties," Johnson said. "We're not blaming anybody for what happened. Right now, the whole circumstances are being investigated."

    Street said: "If there's a message to the protesters, they should respect everybody's right to congregate and to do their business, and they should be respectful of members of the Philadelphia Police Department that are simply trying to do their job."

    Protest organizers said they cut short their demonstration out of respect for the officer.

    "We send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the fallen police officer," said Hart Feuer, a spokesman for BioDemocracy 2005, the counterconvention protest group.

    "We were gathered in Philadelphia today to celebrate and protect life, and any loss of life is a tragedy to us all," he said.

    The clash with police at the Convention Center marred a day of otherwise peaceful protest.

    After news of Williams' death spread through the police ranks, the mood became more somber, the officers' patience more frayed.

    Some protesters at the Convention Center complained that police roughed them up and used their bicycles to push crowds into place.

    While the BioDemocracy group was out in force, so too were the skateboarders trying to take back LOVE Park.

    At noon, both groups merged at LOVE Park in a cacophony of sound and kaleidoscope of signs, giant puppets and people.

    Justin Stein, a biotechnology protester from St. Louis, declared: "It was cool that the groups got together at the park to send a mixed message that skating is not a crime and that corporate control of agriculture is bad."

    Skateboarders banged their boards on the granite deck of the plaza, chanting "Free LOVE Park" as protesters beating drums and blowing whistles carried banners with such messages as "Stop funding bioweapons" and "We are sick of being lab rats."

    One demonstrator with the BioDemocracy movement was dressed as a tomato, another as a giant sunflower. Others carried giant skulls with the names of diseases that protesters say biological labs have researched for use in the military: smallpox, Ebola, tularemia.

    "The fear we have is the government is doing dangerous research under the pretext of protecting us," said Carol Urner, of Portland, Ore., a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

    Skateboarders had a singular goal for the day - taking back LOVE Park.

    Setting off in late morning from Second and South Streets, wave after wave of skaters swept through the city.

    By the time they arrived at LOVE Park, they were met by dozens of police officers ordering them off their boards - then looking the other way as skaters whizzed around the fountain and took nostalgic leaps off ledges.

    The atmosphere in the afternoon turned tenser. Police hauled away a skater after an officer was pushed or fell into the fountain. After that, police put a stop to the skateboarding holiday, surrounding the fountain and forcing hundreds of skaters to the perimeter.

    "They've been kicking us out, just the skaters," said Bill Cook, 17, of Horsham. "This is a public park, and it's a big icon in the skating world. We should have it back."

    Sitting in a wheelchair at the park, Edmund Bacon, 95, the renowned former city planner who helped design LOVE Park, applauded the young skateboarders.

    "I think it's wonderful that they are willing to put their bodies on the line for this protest," Bacon said.

    The BioDemocracy protesters, meanwhile, started the morning in three groups, each focusing on a different issue: the high cost of health care, biological weapons, and bioengineered foods.

    The health-care group set out from the headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline at 16th and Vine Streets. Among the protesters were 80 members of the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens.

    "If other nations in the world can provide better health care at a better price, why the **** can't we do the same?" Sy Kornblum, 86, shouted to the protesters.

    At the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency at 1650 Arch St., another group attacked the role of biotechnology companies in the agriculture industry.

    Brian Tokar, an environmental activist from Plainfield, Vt., said the EPA had become "a rubber stamp" for companies using biotechnology.

    Those protesting biological weapons started out at Washington Square.

    At the Convention Center, participants in the biotechnology conference said the protesters did not understand the benefits of biotechnology.

    "There's a tremendous amount of good that is coming from these genetically manufactured crops," said Patrick Moore, chairman of Greenspirit consultants and one of the speakers at the BIO 2005 conference.

    Later, Moore was doused with water by one of the protesters.

    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

  • #2
    After reading the headlines for this post, I remembered that my uncle on my fathers side passed away very suddenly.

    He was a police officer and was on duty at a football game. I was told he never saw a doctor because of heart problems. During the game, he suddenly fell over and died at the scene. (I was very young at the time).

    My father passed away suddenly after coming home from shopping with my mom. My mother told me he was standing in front of the kitchen sink and he said, "Oooooooh". My mother ran over to him and slid him down the sink onto the floor. She saw his eyes roll up into his head. He was prounced dead at home.

    Isn't it funny how topics can trigger someones memory.