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.