NYPD target police brutality activist in an attempt to silence him
July 22, 2012
The NYPD and New York City courts are trying to silence you—and everyone who stands up for justice and against racism—by going after a leading anti-police-brutality and anti-racial-profiling activist, Joseph “Jazz” Hayden.
Jazz has been fighting police abuse and violence for years and is a founding member of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow. Long before the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy started to become notorious nationwide and tens of thousands marched to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s house in protest, Jazz was one of the dozens of activists dedicated to organizing against it and documenting police racism. His website AllThingsHarlem.com has four years of his videos showing New York police as they target and search young Blacks and Latinos.
Now the NYPD is striking back. Two police officers conducted an illegal search of Jazz’s car in December of last year—the same police who Jazz videotaped a few months earlier conducting another illegal car search involving two other African American men. In the video, police can be heard trying to intimidate Jazz, saying, “We know your background. I know who you are.”
The cops let those two men go without any charges or tickets, having had no legal reason to stop them in the first place and being unable to charge them for the real reason they picked out: being Black.
But the police didn’t forget Jazz, and in December, when the same two officers stopped him, they said, “We know you.” Jazz was detained and held for nearly two days before a prosecutor tried to force him to post a $16,000 bond.
Jazz is facing two felony counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, which could put him behind bars for two to seven years if he is convicted.
The weapons? A penknife and a commemorative mini-replica of a baseball bat. Both are absurdly harmless and completely legal to carry, unlike the car search the police conducted to “discover” them.
Early in the morning on Oct. 22, a Saturday, Ms. Zucker, 21, and her friend Alex Fischer, also 21, were stopped by the police in Riverside Park and given tickets for trespassing. Mr. Fischer was permitted to leave after he produced his driver’s license. But Ms. Zucker, on a visit to New York City with a group of Carnegie Mellon University seniors looking for jobs in design industries, had left her wallet in a hotel two blocks away.
She was handcuffed. For the next 36 hours, she was moved from a cell in the 26th Precinct station house on West 126th Street to central booking in Lower Manhattan and then — because one of the officers was ending his shift before Ms. Zucker could be photographed for her court appearance, and you didn’t think he was going to take the subway uptown while his partner stayed with her at booking, did you? — she was brought back to Harlem.
There she waited in a cell until a pair of fresh police officers were rustled up to bring her back downtown for booking, where she spent a second night in custody. […]
This video shows a senior NYPD officer swinging his baton, beating protesters at tonight’s Occupy Wall Street march in New York City. Onlookers chant, “The whole world is watching!” The protesters were also reportedly pepper-sprayed. You can hear people screaming at others to cover their eyes, so I don’t see this as outside the realm of possibility.
Reporters at The Guardian UK wrote:
Questions are once again being asked about police tactics – video footage shows officers beating some protesters with batons. Despite the march having a permit, and the roads being closed, police funnelled protesters onto the sidewarks and into tightly-penned areas. This appears to have led to the frustration: police say they made about 12 arrests, mostly for disorderly conduct when a group of protesters tried to push through a barrier.
Many protesters are asking why the actions of the police seem to lead to confrontational situations, which the organisers of the Occupy Wall Street movement are so desperate to avoid.
The footage is horrifying. I know people will argue the officer was justified because he may have thought the situation was out of control. However, this was a permitted march. The roads were closed. The NYPD kettled protesters into tight spaces for no reason.
This resembles the purposeful leading and kettling of protesters onto the Brooklyn Bridge by the police - the same bridge police protested on in 1992. That protest was described as a “beer-swilling melee” by The New York Times. And lest we forget Tony Bologna’s brutality towards kettled protesters, here’s video of him pepper-spraying penned-up demonstrators.
The NYPD cannot be allowed to get away with this any longer. Several of those arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge Oct. 1 filed civil rights complaints in federal court. In the complaint, protesters seek to have their arrests nullified and state:
“After escorting and leading a group of demonstrators and others well out onto the Brooklyn Bridge roadway, the NYPD suddenly and without warning curtailed further forward movement, blocked the ability of persons to leave the bridge from the rear, and arrested hundreds of protesters in the absence of probable cause.”
They also seek to have the city barred from using such tactics in the future.
I stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and I urge them to stand their ground. I hope these abuses of the U.S. Constitution do not dissuade people from further joining the movement. If you’re like me and can’t get to New York, find an event here.
Calling it your job don’t make it right.
I have absolutely no patience for people defending the NYPD’s corruption because “they’re just doing their job.”
|—||New York Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen • Discussing the way that the Brooklyn Bridge Occupy Wall Street arrests went down, particularly how the NYPD commandeered buses to arrest protesters en masse. The union is seeking injunctions (preliminary and permanent) against the NYPD to prevent them from doing this again. “The actions of the NYPD on Oct. 1, 2011, amounted to a seizure of the bus drivers,” the union’s lawyer, Arthur Schwartz, claimed in court. Will be curious to see how this goes. source (via • follow)|
New York City: Emergency picket to drop all charges on Occupy Wall Street arrestees, City Hall, October 3, 2011.
Photos by redguard
What They did not want you to ever find out is that your generation, the generation born between 1980-1995, actually outnumbers the Baby Boomers. They knew that if you ever turned your eye towards political reform, you could change the world.
They tried to keep you sated on vapid television shows and vapid music. They cut off your education and fed you brain candy. They took away your music and gave you Top Ten pop stations. They cut off your art and replaced it with endless reality shows for you to plug into, hoping you would sit quietly by as They ran the world. I think They thought you were too dumb to notice.
Indeed, I thought They had won.
But I watched you occupy the capital of Wisconsin. I see you today as you occupy Wall Street. And I see a spark, a glimmer of the glorious new age that is yours. A changing of the guard, a guard that has stood for entirely too long and needs your young legs to take his place.
I watch you turn away from what is easy and stand up for what is right. I see you understand we as a society are only as strong as our weakest link. I see you wise beyond your years. And I am proud. Give ‘em hell, kids. You are beautiful.
I had to add this. Just read this excerpt from the story:
On Wednesday, Sept. 16, after months of growing tension between Mayor David N. Dinkins and New York City’s police, more than 10,000 off-duty officers and their supporters gathered outside City Hall to protest the Dinkins administration’s handling of a list of police issues. The demonstration began calmly enough, with a series of predictable chants, songs and demands.
Then something went badly awry.
A handful of people, then hundreds, then thousands, broke through police barricades and surged onto City Hall’s steps. From there, the protest degenerated into a beer-swilling, traffic-snarling, epithet-hurling melee that stretched from the Brooklyn Bridge to Murray Street, where several politicians helped stoke the emotional fires.
The protest would have been noteworthy even if it had been any rally gone a bit too wild. But the protesters were the police. That only underscored the immediacy of one of the very questions they had gathered to address: Who should police the police?
Emphasis is mine. Who polices the police? It’s nearly twenty years later. Imagine how the present-day story would shift if it were the Occupy Wall Street protesters swilling beer and breaking through barricades.