19 posts tagged NYPD
In a ruling that will change racially unfair police practices in New York, a federal judge has found the NYPD stop and frisk program to be unconstitutional. The New York Times reports:
“In a decision issued on Monday, the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled that police officers have for years been systematically stopping innocent people in the street without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. Officers often frisked these people, usually young minority men, for weapons or searched their pockets for contraband, like drugs, before letting them go, according to the 195-page decision.”
A Year After Ramarley Graham’s Murder, a Movement Against Police Brutality Grows
By Graciela Razo
On February 1, 2012, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was gunned down in his own home by New York City police in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother. The unarmed black teenager was killed with a bullet to the chest by officer Richard Haste after police broke into his family’s apartment claiming Graham had a gun.
On Friday, the one year anniversary of Graham’s murder, his family filed a suit against Haste, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and other officers for use of the discriminatory stop-and-frisk tactic and for allegedly covering up evidence from the day their son was murdered.
Unlike many other cases surrounding police violence, Haste faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison on first and second degree murder charges; he is the first NYPD officer to face criminal charges for a fatal shooting since 2007 when three officers were indicted for the murder of Sean Bell, another black victim who was shot 50 times.
Police violence hits communities of color
Graham’s murder is a familiar nightmare to many communities across the United States terrorized by police violence. From Harlem to Oakland, youth are subjected to legalized racial profiling, known as stop-and-frisk, which disproportionately targets 87 percent black and Latino people. Harassment and violence from area police forces have been a reality for communities of color for decades.
But families rarely see justice for their slain loved ones; officers typically receive what amounts to a slap on the wrist with paid leave. One such instance was the murder of black Oakland teenager Alan Blueford, who was shot three times by Oakland police and left dead in the street for four hours in May 2012, weeks before Blueford was set to graduate from high school.
Another was the shooting of Anaheim resident Manuel Diaz in July 2012. During a chase, police shot Diaz once in the leg and another time in the back of his head. Two days later, Anaheim police shot and killed Joel Acevedo during a car chase. Community members were outraged at the killings and demanded justice. According to Orange County DA records, there were 40 shootings by Anaheim police from 2003 to February 2011. Not one officer has been charged.
In New York City, incidents like these without reprimand occur all too often. Last June, NYPD narcotics detective Phillip Atkins shot 23-year-old Shantel Davis in the chest as the unarmed woman held her arms up crying out, “Don’t shoot me.” In September, NYPD officers opened fire and killed 20-year-old Reynaldo Cuevas as his Bronx bodega was being robbed. A month later, Noel Polanco was shot point blank after he was pulled over in his neighborhood in Queens.
The NYPD has led the way in police violence, paying a staggering $550 million to settle 8,882 lawsuits in 2011 alone. At the beginning of this year, a Manhattan Federal Court judge ruled that the tactic of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional outside private residential buildings. However, shortly after, another judge lifted the ban on stops and searches of “suspicious looking people,” allowing stop-and-frisk to continue until the case goes to trial in March.
Families organize for justice
Families afflicted by police violence have responded by brewing up a social justice movement to put an end to unwarranted searches, frisks and shootings. Communities are organizing, storming courtrooms and police precincts to demand accountability and justice for the brutal acts. Organizations like All Things Harlem, Stop Police Brutality and NYCresistance are developing tactics to counter and prevent these attacks in their neighborhoods.
Activist Joseph “Jazz” Hayden of All Things Harlem has created a network of resistance by documenting police interactions and has been a strong voice against NYPD racial profiling and violence. Although he has directly been targeted by police for filming arrests and harassment in his neighborhood, Hayden continues to share incriminating videos of officers in an attempt to hold police responsible for civil liberties violations.
“Police violence in our black and brown communities isn’t anything new. They have tried to incriminate our youth, but we aren’t backing down,” Hayden said. “We have to continue to fight for our futures.”
Baltimore civil rights activist Reverend Annie Chambers has been a leading anti-police brutality advocate, organizing community members and families ever since her great grandson was murdered near her home in a case of mistaken identity.
“You look outside my window and see police cars at any time of the day,” Chambers said. “I have seen them with their brutality over and over again. Young people are now at the part where they won’t take it anymore.”
And now, family members of the slain are increasingly taking the justice system into their own hands. Ramarley Graham’s parents continue, one year on, to lead marches to police precincts reminiscent of the Civil Rights era, not only in remembrance of their son but for all those who have died at the hands of uniformed officers.
Alan Blueford’s parents have created Justice 4 Alan Blueford and hold weekly meetings to end racial profiling and police violence in the Bay Area.
Their case, and similar ones, are now pushing law enforcement officers into the national discussion about gun control and violence, spurring a new form of resistance by communities and neighborhoods long terrorized by unaccountable police brutality.
This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/year-after-ramarley-graham-s-murder-movement-against-police-brutality-grows-1360336751. All rights are reserved.
NYPD beat homeless man in synagogue outreach center
October 17, 2012
The NYPD beat up a homeless man in Brooklyn last week as he resisted arrest for sleeping in a synagogue outreach center, where he had permission to stay. Surveillance video obtained by local news siteCrownHeights.info shows two officers brutally beating a shoeless and shirtless man, Ehud Halevi, who insisted he had permission to be in the center for troubled youth, ALIYA (Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults).
Although sources confirmed with CrownHeights.info that Halevi had been sleeping in the space for a month with permission, one security guard, unaware of the arrangement, called the police. The guard later told the New York Daily News that he regretted making the call.
According to Gothamist, “[Halevi] was also pepper sprayed during the arrest, [and] was charged with assaulting a police officer, trespassing, resisting arrest and harassment. He’s currently out on bail and faces up to five years in prison for assaulting an officer.” The NYPD have yet to issue comment.
Jamel Mims on facing two years in prison for protesting Stop & Frisk
October 23, 2012
New York City teacher Jamel Mims faces up to two years in prison for nonviolently protesting the most controversial racial profiling policy in America today. Last year, he was one of the key members of a civil disobedience campaign to stop Stop-and-Frisk that boasted the iconic academic Cornel West as one of its leading advocates. Today, he stands on trial along with 12 other campaigners.
As discussed in last week’s State of the Left, the NYPD policy involves 1,800 instances of stopping and frisking citizens every day; in the last decade, 87% of people who are stopped are black or Latino; and about 9 of 10 are innocent of any wrongdoing. There is not even a hint of exaggeration in saying that certain sections of New York City are turned into police states for minority youth.
Enter Jamel Mims:
On Tuesday October 23, I will be on trial along with Carl Dix, who, with Cornel West, initiated the 2011 campaign of nonviolent protest to stop Stop-and-Frisk. We are facing up to two years in jail for non-violent protest at the NYPD 103rd precinct in Jamaica, Queens last year.
The stakes are undoubtedly high: this is the second stop-and-frisk protest mass trial resulting from the culminating action of the civil disobedience campaign that sparked citywide resistance to the policy. The Queens District Attorney added a serious misdemeanor charge on us last month, and re-wrote our charges last week so that we’re charged with ‘acting in concert’ rather than as individuals.
The action last November was the third such protest at New York City precincts with the most stop-and-frisks, this one taking place in the borough of Queens. We held a community rally and march through Jamaica, Queens, which ended at the 103rd Precinct. As our march arrived at the precinct, it was completely barricaded on all sides – on lock-down in anticipation of the protest. An officer slides open one of the metal grates and motions us inward so that we may protest at the precinct doors. After minutes of chanting and singing outside of the precinct steps, 20 of us were arrested, quite quickly, but held for hours late into the next day. For less than ten minutes of protesting stop-and-frisk outside of the doors 103rd precinct, which houses the NYPD officers who put fifty shots into Sean Bell, 12 co-defendants and I now find ourselves facing two years of jail time.
If anyone think this is just an empty threat, and they won’t convict or send us to jail, let me reiterate—the DA has twice bumped up the charges in the last month, and has made it very clear that the prosecutorial apparatus intends to place us behind bars. A year ago, those who had no first-hand experience of the humiliation of being illegally searched barely knew the practice occurred. Those who got stopped and frisked thought there was nothing one could do about it. Now, the stop-and-frisk policy and the horrors it inflicts are going viral in mainstream society. Copwatch and videos of NYPD stops garner thousands of views, and nearly every day there are articles or opinion pieces about stop-and-frisk. Potential mayoral candidates have even had to confront this, as politicians line up to claim their opposition to the policy, or express their desire to reform or modify it in the ongoing pursuit of public opinion.
In this watershed moment, when stop-and-frisk is opening a window into the daily plight of thousands, the very people who put their bodies on the line to put this issue into the spotlight and openly call out for its abolition are vigorously prosecuted and threatened with incarceration. I refuse to accept this. It’s unthinkable that the Queens District Attorney, who couldn’t make a case against the cops who murdered Sean Bell, is now throwing the book at nonviolent civil disobedience protesters. In this light, the intended effect of this prosecution is insidiously transparent: to send a chilling effect through the movement against mass incarceration, and dampen the spirit of resistance it has ignited. To put it quite simply: don’t speak up, and certainly don’t fight back.
Well, I’m speaking up. And not just as someone who is passionate about the issue. I speak as a target of police abuse, as a Fulbright Scholar whose scholarship was almost denied after being assaulted by Boston police while trying to leave a party. I speak to you as an artist and teacher whose work in New York City public schools has me witness the humiliation and degradation of the youth by the NYPD on a daily basis. I speak to you as a committed opponent of the New Jim Crow, a system of mass incarceration that has 2.4 million mostly black and Latino men warehoused in prisons across the nation, with stop-and-frisk as a major pipeline into that system.
Most of all, I speak to you as someone who has cast their lot with those at the bottom of society: with those thousands of youth who are brutalized, targeted, harassed, and shuffled off behind bars — and is now facing years in prison for standing with them.
We fully intend to stop this railroading by bringing the political battle into the courtroom and putting Stop and Frisk on trial. If we are allowed to be convicted and jailed without a massive fight, then the battle against stop-and-frisk and the spirit of resistance it has engendered will be seriously dampened. On the other hand, if people stand with us in this legal battle–if we meet and defeat their attempts to silence and punish us–then the movement will gain further initiative and pull many more people into the struggle against mass incarceration.
The United States police state imprisons all dissidents, from police brutality activists to government whistleblowers.
NYC: Have you been illegally stopped and frisked by the NYPD since January 2005? If so, contact CCR by filling out the form available at http://bit.ly/Q7jn3G
Also, help us identify potential witnesses for our upcoming trial by sharing this flyer with others!
On September 7th, 2012, 20-year-old Bronx Resident and father Reynaldo Cuevas was shot and killed by an NYPD officer outside the bodega where he works. According to witnesses, Cuevas had tripped while attempting to escape an armed robbery inside the bodega. Immediately after, a 42nd precinct officer shot his gun, killing Cuevas, who was later dragged by the officer some 20-feet along the sidewalk.
The shooting occurred just one block away from where unarmed 19-year-old Jateik Reed was recently beaten by a team of 42nd precinct officers.
— Take Back the Bronx
Bronx community mourns man shot dead by NYPD
September 8, 2012
Earlier today, 20-year-old Bronx Resident, Reynaldo Cuevas was shot and killed by an NYPD officer outside the bodega where he works. According to witnesses, Cuevas had tripped while attempting to escape an armed robbery inside the bodega. Immediately after, a 42nd precinct officer shot his gun, killing Cuevas, who was later dragged by the officer some 20-feet along the sidewalk.
Afterwards community members took to the streets in anger, later marching to the nearby precinct and ending the evening on the corner where Cuevas was shot.
The shooting occurred just one block away from where unarmed 19-year-old Jateik Reed was recently beaten by 42nd precinct officers.
We posted about this recent NYPD murder here. NYPD is a racist, violent gang wreaking havoc on the city, murdering the innocent & getting away with it.
Report: NYPD broke international law with OWS brutality
July 25, 2012
A report by a group of civil and human rights attorneys released Wednesday morning paints the clearest picture yet of the New York City police department’s aggressive tactics and over-policing, all of which resulted in the systemic suppression of the basic rights of Occupy protesters.
The report, which chronicles events from late September 2011 up to July of 2012, extensively documents numerous ways in which the NYPD acted with excessive force, attempted to intimidate and harass members of the press, expelled activists from public space due to the content of their speech, and ultimately concludes that authorities broke international law in their handling of Occupy Wall Street.
The executive summary states, in plain language:“The abusive practices documented in this report violate international law and suppress and chill protest rights, not only by undermining individual liberty, but also by causing both minor and serious physical injuries, inhibiting collective debate and the capacity to effectively press for social and economic change, and making people afraid to attend otherwise peaceful assemblies.”
The authors of the report make several recommendations. First, they call for the city to enact a new, public protest policy, to be created in coordination with civil rights groups like the ACLU. Second, that Mayor Bloomberg establish an independent review of the policing of Occupy Wall Street since September 2011. Third, that New York State create an independent inspector-general to oversee the NYPD, and, if the state fails to do that, the report calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to step in to investigate the NYPD.
“The report calls for investigations and prosecutions of officials, and for new protest policing guidelines that ensure the NYPD respects core civil liberties and human rights,” said Sarah Knuckey, Adjunct Professor of Clinical Law and Research Director of Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law, one of the report’s main authors. “If these things are not done, the U.S. Department of Justice needs to step in and investigate official misconduct, and bring charges where appropriate.”
The authors have filed the report – which focuses primarily on New York City, though subsequent reports will focus on other cities – with the DOJ, as well as with the United Nations as a formal complaint. They have also submitted it to the mayor’s office, the NYPD, and the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB).
Many involved with Occupy will be familiar with much that’s in the report, but its sheer scope makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And for international authorities who may be less well-acquainted with the less covered – though equally important – aspects of police repression, the report will likely prove a valuable tool.
“[This report] should serve as a wake-up call to the sleepwalkers who have not yet realized that the serious problems with the way New York City has been exercising its police powers are a real public health emergency that we have to deal with head-on and collectively, in a comprehensive and sustained way,” Gideon Oliver, president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, told AlterNet.
Most shocking is the section titled “use of force”, and the accompanying 36-page table that documents 130 incidents of violence police committed against Occupy activists. The list of incidents by its very nature couldn’t be exhaustive, but is intended to show the wide range of force police used against activists. Some of the incidents are quite serious; punching, over-hand swinging of batons, and “intentionally applying very hard force to the broken clavicle of a handcuffed and compliant individual.” Reading through the table leaves one with a dizzying sense of brutality, as ten months of condensed violence flash before one’s eyes.
Two West Harlem residents, Christina Gonzalez, 25, and Matthew Swaye, 35, ran into a surprise when they showed up for a community meeting at their local NYPD precinct last week. There, on the wall of the 30th Precinct, were their mug shots—only they weren’t wanted for any crime.
Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Swaye are police reform activists who regularly film police interactions in their neighborhood, especially to record the NYPD’s controversial Stop and Frisk policy. Although filming police is completely legal, the poster (which was full of misspellings, I might add), advised officers to “be aware” that these ”professional agitators” not only film police “performing routine stops,” but also” post the videos on YouTube.
“Subjects purpose is to portray officers in a negative way and to [sic] deter officers from conducting their [sic] responsibilities.” the warning from Sergeant Nicholson reads. “Do not feed into above subjects’ propaganda.”
Gonzalez says it is the NYPD spreading propaganda and that the poster is an obvious tactic to criminalize, intimidate and target her. Since Gonzalez became involved with Occupy and the Stop-and-Frisk movement this fall, police have given her plenty of reasons to look over her shoulder, including calling her out by name and address, erecting a watchtower on her corner and aggressively arresting her sister in front of Gonzalez.
Of course, this is not the first time the NYPD or other police departments have targeted activists. The New York police have a history of infiltrating and intimidating activists, particularly during the Black Panther movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
For activists like Gonzalez, Stop-and-Frisk, a racial profiling tactic, is not only a violation of one’s constitutional rights, it is also part of the NYPD’s larger apparatus of racial oppression. Police stop more than 700,00 people per year, almost 90 percent of whom are young Black and Latino men. The best defense against the illegal searches, which occur during about 50% of stops, has proven to be video, and the ACLU recently launched an app to combat and document unconstitutional stops. But while the movement relies on cameras to expose Stop-and-Frisk, the NYPD targets filmers like Gonzalez with the same type of surveillance and repression police have used against activists in the past.
Gonzalez, who grew up in Far Rockaway, Queens, and graduated magnum cum laude from John Jay College of Criminal Justice last year, has long been familiar with the NYPD—though rarely appreciative of their services. A few years ago, she was a victim of intimate partner violence, and the NYPD routinely refused to help her.
“They blamed me for my own abuse,” Gonzalez said. “The police were supposed to protect me.” Her former partner is currently incarcerated for assaulting his latest girlfriend.
Gonzalez says police are familiar with her and her activism, and that as the movement to reform Stop-and-Frisk grows, so, too, does the police reaction. Gonzalez said that, the more she filmed, demonstrated, and was arrested, the more police noticed her, often calling her by name and making comments like, “we remember you,” or, “be careful walking home; it’s a long walk to 153rd Street.”
“That’s when I said, ‘Okay, they know where we live.’ That was kind of scary, especially to say in front of my little sister.”
In February, Gonzalez learned the NYPD were watching her YouTube page, where she posted videos of police harassment, such as the time officers taunted Gonzalez by telling her that her dreadlocked hair smells. Shortly after she posted the video, two officers called her by name over to their police car.
reports on the growing fight for justice for Tamon Robinson—another Black man who lost his life at the hands of the NYPD.
ON MOTHER’S Day, I couldn’t stop thinking about another mother who needlessly lost her son. Then, on June 9, I got to meet Laverne Dobbinson at a rally and march in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn demanding “Justice for Tamon.”
On April 12, 2012, Laverne’s son Tamon Robinson, like Travon Martin, encountered someone who made a wrong assumption based on his age and the color of his skin. In Tamon’s case, it was a police officer, while in Trayvon’s case, it was a civilian, George Zimmerman. But in both cases, because the young men were African American, their lives were cut tragically short.
Tamon worked in as a barista at the Connecticut Muffin café on Lafayette Avenue in Fort Green, Brooklyn. On the side, he collected bricks, stones and other discarded building materials and sold them for scrap. Around 5:30 a.m., on the way to his car that morning, Tamon stopped to collect some old paving stones that the Seaview Houses were throwing away. He had permission from the building’s management to take them.
Officers in a patrol car spotted him and assumed he was stealing. When two officers began chasing him, Tamon ran toward the building where he had, until recently, lived with his mother. He had moved into his own apartment, but still had a key and stopped by to visit her every day.
He was barely 100 yards away from the entrance when a third officer drove a police cruiser onto the sidewalk and ran him down. A witness reported seeing Tamon fly up into the air and then land on the ground. Officers were overheard telling him to get up before picking him up and throwing the unconscious man onto the hood of the car. When they realized he was not responding, they finally called emergency medical services.
In some twisted irony, during a canvas looking for witnesses, the same officers knocked on Tamon’s mother’s door. Ms. Dobbinson was told there had been an accident and asked if she saw anything. She was unaware that the young man injured in the accident was her son. It was not until later—around 4 p.m.—that officers returned to her door to tell her that her son was in the hospital in a coma.
By Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
The fabulously wealthy Michael Bloomberg won election as mayor of New York just two months after September 11th, and immediately declared that Black and brown pedestrians had no rights that his police were bound to respect. In 2002, Bloomberg’s cops scooped up a little less than 100,000 people. Last year, the total was almost 700,000. In practice, there is little to distinguish the daily racial regime in New York City from the apartheid pass system of white ruled South Africa, where non-whites were made to produce identification papers to justify their presence in those areas of the country designated for whites. Apparently, under Mayor Bloomberg, all of New York City is white people’s territory, because Black and brown folks are stopped for no good reason in every section of town.
On Monday, the New York Police Department sent its warrant squads after an unusual set of suspects: people who had old warrants for the lowliest of violations, misconduct too minor, usually, to draw the attention of those squads.
But those who were questioned by the warrant squads said the officers had an ulterior motive: gathering intelligence on the Occupy Wall Streetprotests scheduled for May 1, or May Day. One person said he was interviewed about his plans for May Day. A second person said the police examined political fliers in his apartment, and then arrested him on a warrant for a 2007 open-container-of-alcohol violation.
Officials have yet to respond to questions about the tactics, but one police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters about police policy, said the strategy appeared to be an extension of a policy used at events where crowd control could be an issue. Before certain parades that have been marred by shootings, for example, the warrant squads have tracked down gang members who live nearby to execute outstanding warrants, no matter how minor, the official said.
But the department’s use of this tactic as part of its strategy for policing the Occupy Wall Street movement raises new questions about the surveillance efforts by the Police Department, which faces restrictions in monitoring political groups.
Saturday morning the sun arose over Wall Street rousing the recent Occupants of Federal Hall. Unstirred by what over the week had become hectic routine the individuals rose to make way for the repeated ritual of power-washing the stone steps on which they successfully sought refuge from eviction from the street by the NYPD. This morning instead was quiet. A smaller police presence and no one armed with a hose to spray their roost came to the site.
What a difference a day makes.
Friday morning began in stark contrast: the Occupiers frantically rising to gather and transport their belongings amidst the chaotic herds of “suits” flocking to their Wall Street lairs. Having successfully endured another sleepless night, strictly enforced by a large contingent of police officers, they gathered their signs and other possessions and made the trek east to 60 Wall Street where a few took the opportunity to close their eyes for a few moments relaxed in the surrounding atrium. Throughout the previous nights periodic “raids” by the NYPD ensured no one remained on the steps who may have closed their eyes and potentially nodded off for a moment. The tactic of sleep-deprivation and its consequences did not go unnoticed; a few times the generally amicable Federal Park Police offered to obtain assistance and contact a shelter to provide a bed for those clearly showing the eroding signs of its effects.
While most took advantage of the brief respite from their vigil a few remained behind to symbolically maintain their continued physical presence while documenting this surreal ritual. Up and down, back and forth, and then do it again. Over and over a sole worker would slowly shift the condensed stream emanating from the hose repeatedly cleaning to a meticulous degree the steps fronting Federal Hall and facing out onto Wall Street.
Note Anonymiss Express: tho this started on friday, this is still going on. I am watching the pink ladies’ channel and they are really “in a cage”
April 20, 2012, by Charlie Grapski
This is breaking. I will try and put more info up shortly.
But right now there is a stand-off on Wall Street between the Occupiers backed by the Federal Park Police and the NYPD.
For a week Occupiers have camped out on the steps of Federal Hall, location of the authoring of the Bill of Rights, after NYPD prohibited them from sleeping on the streets adjacent to the Stock Exchange contrary to standing judicial rulings about sleeping as a means of protest.
The NYPD has shut down Wall Street and barricaded 25 Occupiers on the steps as the two police forces stand-off against one another over the right to peaceably assemble and exercise 1st amendment speech rights.
If this doesn’t work try: http://www.ustream.tv/…
New Stream for latest: http://www.ustream.tv/…
NEW STREAMS FOR SATURDAY:
1st Amendment Violated by NYPD
http://wearechange.org Watch NYPD use noise violations and disorderly conduct accusations to intimidate and arrest Occupy Wall Street protesters, including Matt of WeAreChange. Even if you disagree with why they are there, you must realize that when their rights are violated, it sets the precedent for your rights to be violated too.
Check out WeAreChange’s LIVE stream here: http://ustream.tv/wearechange and follow Luke @ http://twitter.com/LukeWeAreChange for updates and notifications for when the stream goes LIVE.
(Uploaded april 17,2012, by wearechange)
Note Anonymiss Express: I hear a voice saying “unreasonable voice, arrest her”. How crazy is that!?!