redupnyc

redupnyc:

Throughout his mayoral campaign, Bill de Blasio promised New York City residents that part of his office’s platform on public health would be ending the incredibly destructive practice of using condoms as evidence. The position showed up on the campaign’s response to PROP’s Voters’ Education Guide; in media inquiries into de Blasio’s positions as Public Advocate; even on de Blasio’s campaign website, billdeblasio.com. Unfortunately the Mayor has not acted on his promise to New Yorkers.

Not only has there been no response from the Mayor’s Office about our request for an immediate executive order ending the use of condoms as evidence, recent arrest records show that as of January 12th the NYPD are still seizing condoms as evidence. While the NYPD still maintains that this practice is either not used or rarely used, on the arrest forms in Kings County there is a section specifically to indicate the number of condoms seized during the arrest. 

We ask that all New York City residents tell Mayor de Blasio to keep his promise and protect our city’s public health by issuing an executive order banning the practice of using condoms as evidence of prostitution-related offenses by the police or prosecutors. Here is a script you can use:

"Hi my name is ______________ and I live in (Bronx/Brooklyn/Manhattan/Queens/Staten Island). I am (calling/writing) to ask that Mayor Bill de Blasio immediately issue an executive order ending the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution-related offenses. The Mayor listed ending the use of condoms as evidence on his campaign website last year as part of his platform on public health, but your office has failed to act on this critical issue. Using condoms as evidence is detrimental to the health of all New York City residents, and especially those vulnerable to HIV transmission. It also has resulted in the sort of police racial profiling of Black and Latina queer youth and trans women, that the Mayor campaigned against last year. I am asking the Mayor to please stick to his promises to promote public health and end racist policing in New York City by issuing an executive order to end the practice of condoms as evidence. Thank you."

You can email the Mayor’s office at emmawolfe@gmail.com or can participate on our call-in tomorrow Thursday 27th 12pm-3pm by calling this number (212) 788-3000.


This is extremely important. I work with sex workers in NYC & arrests have increased significantly this year because of this practice of using condoms as evidence. Arrests of homeless people on the street/trains, jaywalking, panhandling, etc. have also gone up under Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s “broken windows” policing. 

De Blasio & Bratton have been nearly the same as Bloomberg & Kelly so far.

Down with the police state, racial profiling & criminalization of sex work now!

yeahthatswhatshesaidnyc

yeahthatswhatshesaidnyc:

Yeah, That’s What She Said presents: Norene Leddy’s Aphrodite Project

Gaze for Days: Screening & Panel
7:45 p.m. March 30
Specials on C at 195 Ave. C in New York City
GoFundMe // Facebook event

Where did the idea for The Aphrodite Project come from?
The idea came from research I was doing in Cyprus on Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the patron goddess of sex workers (some of the earliest archeological finds are brothels, and contain sacrifices to Aphrodite) which led to more research on prostitution in antiquity. Some of the earliest sex workers that would walk the streets, the pornai, wore sandals with tacks in the bottom that spelled out “follow me” to advertise themselves to clients.
I wanted to make a contemporary version of these shoes, so I started thinking about sex work and other kinds of shoe hacks that would make sense in the 21st century. Part of the process was interviewing sex workers, formally and informally, to talk about what they do and what modifications we could put into shoes that would help them to do their jobs. All of the hacks we included were based on these interviews.
Tell us about the platforms!
There are now 6 versions of the shoes, each has different modifications and some you can make yourself. 
Hacks include:
  • An audible alarm system, which makes an incredibly loud noise and can be set off by hitting one shoe against the other
  • A GPS system for tracking the wearer’s location
  • Secret compartments for holding keys, money, condoms
  • Video screens for advertising 
These modifications evolved out of interviews and discussions with current and former sex workers. People didn’t want knives or guns or mace for example, because those things routinely get used against them; instead they just wanted something that would make a really loud noise. The secret compartments are because they get robbed, and can’t go to the police for help; this way they can at least get home and back into their house.
How can the feminist movement do more to stand in solidarity with sex workers?
Stop conflating human trafficking with sex work. Claiming, like Gloria Steinem did recently, that all sex work is rape is patently untrue and deprives sex workers of any agency in their own lives. People make decisions they need to survive. Some of the most intelligent and empowered people I know have done sex work (everyone should read Melissa Gira Grant’s new book “Playing the Whore”), and the Duke porn star Belle Knox is not the only one doing sex work to pay for college. There is also a lot of trans-phobia in feminist circles. I was so happy to see that you included anyone who self identifies as a woman in the language of the workshop posters! 

YEAH, THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID is happening this Friday, March 28 to Sunday, March 30! 

Women-identified folks can RSVP for workshops here! All nightly events are open to the public! 

Check out the Facebook event here.

yeahthatswhatshesaidnyc
yeahthatswhatshesaidnyc:

Graphic by Simi Mahatani
YEAH, THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID
March 28 - 30, 2014195 Ave. C (12th & Ave. 2), Lower East Side, NYCGoFundMe // Facebook event
What is “Yeah, That’s What She Said”?This is a weekend-long space of collectively self-organized sliding scale arts programming and community events by and for women. There will be by-donation events that are open to the entire public, as well as sliding-scale workshops that are exclusively women’s spaces. (Although we are taking sliding scale at the door, we want everyone to be able to come, so NO ONE is turned away!)When? Where? The event will be held over the weekend of March 28th-30th at Specials On C, a former bodega-turned-experimental cultural space in the Lower East Side (12th St and Avenue C). Workshops for women are held during the day, and public events showcasing women’s art are held in the evening.Who’s involved? What’s going down?The event is being organized by a small organizing committee of organizers and artists. Over 25+ artists are on-board to show their work. There are 6 Workshops, ranging from visual arts, poetry, political education, and self-care. There will be music, a film screening, and even an amazing Merch table to buy all kinds of amazing stuff created by women in our communities.This is an intersectional-feminist event, centering the work of all woman-identified folks, women of color, queer women and working-class women. While we aim for inter-generational inclusivity, a good deal of the content will be aimed at the grown-and-sexy and may deal with mature themes.What are you doing with the money you raise and make at the event?
Stipends and Supplies for Facilitators:Our many experienced, committed facilitators have agreed to run amazing, accessible, transformative workshops. We are hoping to raise enough to offer them a small, honorary stipend and cover the cost of workshop supplies.Cost of the Space: Specials on Cis an amazing joint run by people with a vision. It used to be a bodega, now it’s an experimental cultural space. The folks there are being super generous with us, and believe strongly in our event. But they also have rent to pay and we are hoping to cover their super-discounted space-rental fee.Promotional Materials and Give-Aways:Totebags. Stickers. Posters. You know. The swag. We’ve got so many amazing artists donating their time and energy into creating cool visuals - we want to be able to get them in your hands in a super-cheap or free way.Small Incidentals:We’re gonna need to hang that art, and we’re gonna need to buy toilet paper. Give us a hand here.I don’t have a lot of scratch right now, but I want to support. How?We know all about that life. There are lots of ways you contribute! Email us at yeahthatswhatshesaid2014@gmail.com to find out more. 

HEY NYC followers: I’m helping organize this badass event of workshops, art, film & poetry for & by women that’s happening next week! 
Check out the schedule of events here & spread the word! <3

yeahthatswhatshesaidnyc:

Graphic by Simi Mahatani

YEAH, THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID

March 28 - 30, 2014
195 Ave. C (12th & Ave. 2), Lower East Side, NYC
GoFundMe // Facebook event

What is “Yeah, That’s What She Said”?
This is a weekend-long space of collectively self-organized sliding scale arts programming and community events by and for women. There will be by-donation events that are open to the entire public, as well as sliding-scale workshops that are exclusively women’s spaces. (Although we are taking sliding scale at the door, we want everyone to be able to come, so NO ONE is turned away!)

When? Where? 
The event will be held over the weekend of March 28th-30th at Specials On C, a former bodega-turned-experimental cultural space in the Lower East Side (12th St and Avenue C). Workshops for women are held during the day, and public events showcasing women’s art are held in the evening.

Who’s involved? What’s going down?
The event is being organized by a small organizing committee of organizers and artists. Over 25+ artists are on-board to show their work. There are 6 Workshops, ranging from visual arts, poetry, political education, and self-care. There will be music, a film screening, and even an amazing Merch table to buy all kinds of amazing stuff created by women in our communities.

This is an intersectional-feminist event, centering the work of all woman-identified folks, women of color, queer women and working-class women. While we aim for inter-generational inclusivity, a good deal of the content will be aimed at the grown-and-sexy and may deal with mature themes.

What are you doing with the money you raise and make at the event?

Stipends and Supplies for Facilitators:
Our many experienced, committed facilitators have agreed to run amazing, accessible, transformative workshops. We are hoping to raise enough to offer them a small, honorary stipend and cover the cost of workshop supplies.

Cost of the Space: Specials on C
is an amazing joint run by people with a vision. It used to be a bodega, now it’s an experimental cultural space. The folks there are being super generous with us, and believe strongly in our event. But they also have rent to pay and we are hoping to cover their super-discounted space-rental fee.

Promotional Materials and Give-Aways:
Totebags. Stickers. Posters. You know. The swag. We’ve got so many amazing artists donating their time and energy into creating cool visuals - we want to be able to get them in your hands in a super-cheap or free way.

Small Incidentals:
We’re gonna need to hang that art, and we’re gonna need to buy toilet paper. Give us a hand here.

I don’t have a lot of scratch right now, but I want to support. How?
We know all about that life. There are lots of ways you contribute! Email us at yeahthatswhatshesaid2014@gmail.com to find out more. 

HEY NYC followers: I’m helping organize this badass event of workshops, art, film & poetry for & by women that’s happening next week! 

Check out the schedule of events here & spread the word! <3

East Harlem tenants say they complained about gas odor for months prior to deadly explosionMarch 15, 2014
In the months before a gas leak leveled two E. Harlem buildings, there were telltale signs of potential trouble.
Tenants say they complained repeatedly about strong gas odor in the buildings, making calls to 311 as recently as Wednesday morning.
And as of Wednesday, the city had yet to check to see if the owner of one of the doomed buildings had ever repaired a dangerous wall crack discovered in 2008.
“You came into the building, the gas smell was overwhelming,” recalled Ruben Borrero, 32, a second-floor tenant at 1646 Park Ave. “It was hard to get from the front door to the apartment, that&#8217;s how bad the smell was. We had to open up windows to air it out.&#8221;
The tenants’ claims contradict Mayor de Blasio’s statement Wednesday that the “only indication of danger” came 17 minutes before the explosion when a tenant next door called Con Ed about a gas smell.
Borrero said since last fall, several tenants have called 311 about the gas problem there, and just before Christmas FDNY showed up.
“When you get a confirmation from somebody like the fire department and they say it&#8217;s fine, you think it&#8217;s fine,” he said. “We thought everything was alright.&#8221;
Borrero’s sister, Sarah, said her daughter, Kimberly, calling tried 311 again Tuesday night but didn’t get through. She tried again early Wednesday but gave up before heading off to school.
Investigators believe a gas leak triggered the explosion but weren’t able to say if the city had been forewarned. Fire officials and the agency that oversees 311 did not return calls.
Nine months ago a contractor installed a new gas line from the basement to the 5th floor in one of the buildings, and was allowed to sign off on his own work under a common practice known as “self-certification.”
At the time, the installation was “audited” by the city to ensure there were no leaks and as of Wednesday officials said there was no suggestion the new pipe caused the leak.
Also in August 2008 city buildings inspectors cited 1644 Park Ave. after discovering a “vertical crack” in an exterior wall that was “hazardous for the safety of the structure,” records show.
The building’s then-owner, Carl Dember, paid a $1,335 fine but “the condition was not certified (as) corrected to the Department,” an official said.
Source

East Harlem tenants say they complained about gas odor for months prior to deadly explosion
March 15, 2014

In the months before a gas leak leveled two E. Harlem buildings, there were telltale signs of potential trouble.

Tenants say they complained repeatedly about strong gas odor in the buildings, making calls to 311 as recently as Wednesday morning.

And as of Wednesday, the city had yet to check to see if the owner of one of the doomed buildings had ever repaired a dangerous wall crack discovered in 2008.

“You came into the building, the gas smell was overwhelming,” recalled Ruben Borrero, 32, a second-floor tenant at 1646 Park Ave. “It was hard to get from the front door to the apartment, that’s how bad the smell was. We had to open up windows to air it out.”

The tenants’ claims contradict Mayor de Blasio’s statement Wednesday that the “only indication of danger” came 17 minutes before the explosion when a tenant next door called Con Ed about a gas smell.

Borrero said since last fall, several tenants have called 311 about the gas problem there, and just before Christmas FDNY showed up.

“When you get a confirmation from somebody like the fire department and they say it’s fine, you think it’s fine,” he said. “We thought everything was alright.”

Borrero’s sister, Sarah, said her daughter, Kimberly, calling tried 311 again Tuesday night but didn’t get through. She tried again early Wednesday but gave up before heading off to school.

Investigators believe a gas leak triggered the explosion but weren’t able to say if the city had been forewarned. Fire officials and the agency that oversees 311 did not return calls.

Nine months ago a contractor installed a new gas line from the basement to the 5th floor in one of the buildings, and was allowed to sign off on his own work under a common practice known as “self-certification.”

At the time, the installation was “audited” by the city to ensure there were no leaks and as of Wednesday officials said there was no suggestion the new pipe caused the leak.

Also in August 2008 city buildings inspectors cited 1644 Park Ave. after discovering a “vertical crack” in an exterior wall that was “hazardous for the safety of the structure,” records show.

The building’s then-owner, Carl Dember, paid a $1,335 fine but “the condition was not certified (as) corrected to the Department,” an official said.

Source

Homeless folks have real solutions to the housing crisisFebruary 27, 2014
When Bill de Blasio took office on January 1, he inherited a broken, bloated and expensive homeless shelter system that cost almost $1 billion to operate in 2013. He also inherited neighborhoods dotted with vacant buildings and lots that represent both potential housing and jobs. For New York’s homeless, there is a Kafkaesque paradigm where so-called affordable housing is in fact unaffordable due to the federal government’s Area Median Income guidelines.
Those who can’t afford housing are the same unemployed, or low-wage workers, seniors, disabled and just poor New Yorkers in the shelter system. On bitterly cold nights this winter, the shelter-industrial complex housed more than 50,000 adults and children — enough to fill Yankee Stadium. That didn’t include those using the domestic violence shelter system and the untold numbers of homeless folks sleeping in churches, mosques and synagogues. Nor does it include the thousands sleeping in trains, public transit facilities or parks. It doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands doubled or tripled up with friends and family hoping for a break so that they don’t have to go into the shelter system.
Real Roots of the Problem
Homelessness has been framed as the result of individual dysfunction and pathology. “Oh, they’re mentally ill, or they need to get a job,” — this mantra has been repeated by politicians and media for two decades. Picture the Homeless encourages the de Blasio administration to look at the big picture, to take into account rising rents and stagnant incomes at the bottom of the wage scale. Forces like gentrification, property warehousing and disinvestment in effective housing programs such as Section 8 have led us to where we are today.
The bottom-line cause of homelessness is the high cost of housing. Real estate development here has been geared to business interests, hotels and high rises, offices and office towers. When there is new housing construction, it’s for the super rich. Banks and landlords keep buildings empty while they wait for neighborhoods to gentrify, and to get rid of protections on rent-stabilized apartments.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg took away the homeless priority for permanent housing solutions like Section 8 and public housing, replacing them with time-limited rental subsidy programs (first Housing Stability Plus and then the Advantage programs) that were doomed from the start.
Past administrations have cried poverty when asked why they don’t prioritize housing for homeless people, but that’s a lie. The money’s there, it’s just being wasted on a politically connected shelter-industrial complex. A billion dollars a year could house a lot of people. Most shelters get two to three times as much money per month for each homeless household as it would cost to pay their rent.
In 2011, we partnered with the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development to devise and execute a replicable methodology for how the city could conduct a vacant property census. We found enough empty buildings and lots to house up to 200,000 people, and that was just in one-third of the city. But the city doesn’t keep track of vacant property and the little bit of money that is out there is being used to house people in shelters.
Every homeless person is different, and it’s true that mental illness and substance abuse play a role in some people losing their housing, but plenty of very wealthy people have issues of substance abuse or mental illness. The root issue is poverty. Public policy needs to address the systemic causes of homelessness. No mayor or president can implement a policy to stop people from having mental illness or losing their jobs, but they can make it so that everyone can afford housing.
There are numerous factors that contribute to record levels of homelessness, like how people coming home from jail with a record are excluded from housing, so there’s nowhere for them to go. Banks are still redlining in certain communities. Institutional racism is also a huge problem — over 90 percent of homeless families in shelters are African-American and/or Latino. Predatory lending has been targeting people of color. Ninety-nine percent of the people who go into housing court get no legal representation, so many of them end up losing their homes.
There’s no cohesive overall plan between government agencies that serve low-income people, and that adds up to a lot of resources being wasted. There’s no unity or collaboration between housing courts and the welfare and shelter systems. HRA, DHS, NYPD — it’s a whole lot of alphabet soup that doesn’t add up to anything.
People say homeless people should go get jobs — but people have jobs! The pay just doesn’t match the rental market. Very low wages, including social security and other income forms for folks who aren’t working, plus inadequate income supports, plus high rents, equal homelessness. It’s simple math.
Making Demands
At Picture the Homeless, we don’t just complain about problems. Homeless people know what’s not working, and they know what needs to change. That’s why our organizing campaigns have concrete policy demands of the new administration.
For starters, it’s unacceptable that the city has no idea how much property is currently vacant. We have to have conduct an annual citywide count of vacant buildings and lots, so we know what kind of resources are out there to develop new housing — and who’s keeping housing off the market. Legislation that would empower the city to do such a count was stalled for three years in the City Council under Christine Quinn. We were heartened to see it identified as a necessary solution on Bill de Blasio’s campaign website, as well as a priority for the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.
The new administration could immediately utilize a small portion of the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) shelter budget (even just 1 percent would be almost $10 million!) and create permanent rental subsidies so homeless people can get out of shelters. That funding could also support a pilot project for innovative housing models like community land trusts, which have the potential to create permanently-affordable, democratically-controlled housing for folks at all income levels, as well as supporting small businesses and incubating jobs that pay a living wage.
The city should take all the property whose owners owe taxes on water or violations, and put it into a land bank and develop it for those who really need it. Property that the city acquires through the Third Party Transfer program should be prioritized for nonprofit housing developers, including community land trusts. And the city should create and expand community land trusts that will be permanently affordable to the people who live there.
The new administration could also limit what is considered “affordable housing” to the city of New York. Right now, “affordable housing” can go to folks making upwards of $80,000 a year, because it’s based on Area Median Income calculations that factor in affluent parts of Westchester and Long Island.

Full article

Homeless folks have real solutions to the housing crisis
February 27, 2014

When Bill de Blasio took office on January 1, he inherited a broken, bloated and expensive homeless shelter system that cost almost $1 billion to operate in 2013. He also inherited neighborhoods dotted with vacant buildings and lots that represent both potential housing and jobs. For New York’s homeless, there is a Kafkaesque paradigm where so-called affordable housing is in fact unaffordable due to the federal government’s Area Median Income guidelines.

Those who can’t afford housing are the same unemployed, or low-wage workers, seniors, disabled and just poor New Yorkers in the shelter system. On bitterly cold nights this winter, the shelter-industrial complex housed more than 50,000 adults and children — enough to fill Yankee Stadium. That didn’t include those using the domestic violence shelter system and the untold numbers of homeless folks sleeping in churches, mosques and synagogues. Nor does it include the thousands sleeping in trains, public transit facilities or parks. It doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands doubled or tripled up with friends and family hoping for a break so that they don’t have to go into the shelter system.

Real Roots of the Problem

Homelessness has been framed as the result of individual dysfunction and pathology. “Oh, they’re mentally ill, or they need to get a job,” — this mantra has been repeated by politicians and media for two decades. Picture the Homeless encourages the de Blasio administration to look at the big picture, to take into account rising rents and stagnant incomes at the bottom of the wage scale. Forces like gentrification, property warehousing and disinvestment in effective housing programs such as Section 8 have led us to where we are today.

The bottom-line cause of homelessness is the high cost of housing. Real estate development here has been geared to business interests, hotels and high rises, offices and office towers. When there is new housing construction, it’s for the super rich. Banks and landlords keep buildings empty while they wait for neighborhoods to gentrify, and to get rid of protections on rent-stabilized apartments.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg took away the homeless priority for permanent housing solutions like Section 8 and public housing, replacing them with time-limited rental subsidy programs (first Housing Stability Plus and then the Advantage programs) that were doomed from the start.

Past administrations have cried poverty when asked why they don’t prioritize housing for homeless people, but that’s a lie. The money’s there, it’s just being wasted on a politically connected shelter-industrial complex. A billion dollars a year could house a lot of people. Most shelters get two to three times as much money per month for each homeless household as it would cost to pay their rent.

In 2011, we partnered with the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development to devise and execute a replicable methodology for how the city could conduct a vacant property census. We found enough empty buildings and lots to house up to 200,000 people, and that was just in one-third of the city. But the city doesn’t keep track of vacant property and the little bit of money that is out there is being used to house people in shelters.

Every homeless person is different, and it’s true that mental illness and substance abuse play a role in some people losing their housing, but plenty of very wealthy people have issues of substance abuse or mental illness. The root issue is poverty. Public policy needs to address the systemic causes of homelessness. No mayor or president can implement a policy to stop people from having mental illness or losing their jobs, but they can make it so that everyone can afford housing.

There are numerous factors that contribute to record levels of homelessness, like how people coming home from jail with a record are excluded from housing, so there’s nowhere for them to go. Banks are still redlining in certain communities. Institutional racism is also a huge problem — over 90 percent of homeless families in shelters are African-American and/or Latino. Predatory lending has been targeting people of color. Ninety-nine percent of the people who go into housing court get no legal representation, so many of them end up losing their homes.

There’s no cohesive overall plan between government agencies that serve low-income people, and that adds up to a lot of resources being wasted. There’s no unity or collaboration between housing courts and the welfare and shelter systems. HRA, DHS, NYPD — it’s a whole lot of alphabet soup that doesn’t add up to anything.

People say homeless people should go get jobs — but people have jobs! The pay just doesn’t match the rental market. Very low wages, including social security and other income forms for folks who aren’t working, plus inadequate income supports, plus high rents, equal homelessness. It’s simple math.

Making Demands

At Picture the Homeless, we don’t just complain about problems. Homeless people know what’s not working, and they know what needs to change. That’s why our organizing campaigns have concrete policy demands of the new administration.

For starters, it’s unacceptable that the city has no idea how much property is currently vacant. We have to have conduct an annual citywide count of vacant buildings and lots, so we know what kind of resources are out there to develop new housing — and who’s keeping housing off the market. Legislation that would empower the city to do such a count was stalled for three years in the City Council under Christine Quinn. We were heartened to see it identified as a necessary solution on Bill de Blasio’s campaign website, as well as a priority for the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.

The new administration could immediately utilize a small portion of the Department of Homeless Services’ (DHS) shelter budget (even just 1 percent would be almost $10 million!) and create permanent rental subsidies so homeless people can get out of shelters. That funding could also support a pilot project for innovative housing models like community land trusts, which have the potential to create permanently-affordable, democratically-controlled housing for folks at all income levels, as well as supporting small businesses and incubating jobs that pay a living wage.

The city should take all the property whose owners owe taxes on water or violations, and put it into a land bank and develop it for those who really need it. Property that the city acquires through the Third Party Transfer program should be prioritized for nonprofit housing developers, including community land trusts. And the city should create and expand community land trusts that will be permanently affordable to the people who live there.

The new administration could also limit what is considered “affordable housing” to the city of New York. Right now, “affordable housing” can go to folks making upwards of $80,000 a year, because it’s based on Area Median Income calculations that factor in affluent parts of Westchester and Long Island.

Full article

Why did it take this great influx of white people to get the schools better? Why’s there more police protection in Bed-Stuy and Harlem now? Why’s the garbage getting picked up more regularly? We been here!

You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re motherfuckin’ Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people.
NY abandons plan to clear subways of sleeping homeless peopleFebruary 25, 2014
A plan to clear homeless people from New York City subway trains in a pre-dawn Monday operation by police and transportation officials was abandoned amid pressure from campaigners.
Dozens of homeless men and women sleeping on the seats of E line trains as they rolled into the World Trade Center terminal in the early hours were left alone, despite warnings that they would be asked to leave so cars could be cleaned.
“It was postponed,” Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, told the Guardian. “We decided not to go ahead. I can’t give you a specific reason why it was postponed. But it may well take place in the future”.
Detective James Duffy, a spokesman for the New York police department, said in an email: “I’ve learned that the MTA operation for this morning was cancelled”.
City officials told DNAInfo last week that from 3am on Monday, each E train pulling into World Trade Center and the Jamaica terminal at the other end of the line in Queens would be entered by teams of medical staff, police officers and MTA officials.
Other lines were due to be dealt with similarly after the E, which has been the subject of numerous complaints from commuters. The line is particularly popular among sleepers in winter, because it runs 24 hours a day and is completely underground.
Amid sharp criticism, officials clarified that the plan was for an “outreach program” to help homeless people during cold weather. They stressed that no one could be forced to leave the subway system unless they were hurting someone or committing a crime.
“We offer extensive services, ranging from providing them with shelter to helping them if they are sick,” Ortiz said later on Monday.
However, no police or any other officials were at the World Trade Center stop at 3am. Trains carrying a number of sleeping people arrived, idled for about 15 minutes, then set off in the opposite direction.
Volunteers from Picture the Homeless, a group that campaigns for the rights of homeless people, had gathered on the platforms of both stations and were travelling the line to ensure that sleeping people were not mistreated.
“The media attention and all the hubbub probably made them [the MTA and NYPD] stay away,” said Sam Miller, an activist with the group. “But[NYPD commissioner Bill] Bratton has a record of things like this. We expect them to try again another day when we’re not expecting it.”
Picture the Homeless held a rally outside NYPD headquarters on Sunday, along with the New York Civil Liberties Union, other advocacy groups and members of the city council. They demanded that the constitutional rights of homeless people be respected.
Some 52,000 homeless people were living in New York City shelters by the end of 2013, according to Coalition for the Homeless, with thousands more living on streets. The number of homeless people living on the subway system has risen from 1,000 in 2009 to more than 1,800 last year, according to a survey by the city’s department of homeless services.
SourcePhoto

NY abandons plan to clear subways of sleeping homeless people
February 25, 2014

A plan to clear homeless people from New York City subway trains in a pre-dawn Monday operation by police and transportation officials was abandoned amid pressure from campaigners.

Dozens of homeless men and women sleeping on the seats of E line trains as they rolled into the World Trade Center terminal in the early hours were left alone, despite warnings that they would be asked to leave so cars could be cleaned.

“It was postponed,” Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, told the Guardian. “We decided not to go ahead. I can’t give you a specific reason why it was postponed. But it may well take place in the future”.

Detective James Duffy, a spokesman for the New York police department, said in an email: “I’ve learned that the MTA operation for this morning was cancelled”.

City officials told DNAInfo last week that from 3am on Monday, each E train pulling into World Trade Center and the Jamaica terminal at the other end of the line in Queens would be entered by teams of medical staff, police officers and MTA officials.

Other lines were due to be dealt with similarly after the E, which has been the subject of numerous complaints from commuters. The line is particularly popular among sleepers in winter, because it runs 24 hours a day and is completely underground.

Amid sharp criticism, officials clarified that the plan was for an “outreach program” to help homeless people during cold weather. They stressed that no one could be forced to leave the subway system unless they were hurting someone or committing a crime.

“We offer extensive services, ranging from providing them with shelter to helping them if they are sick,” Ortiz said later on Monday.

However, no police or any other officials were at the World Trade Center stop at 3am. Trains carrying a number of sleeping people arrived, idled for about 15 minutes, then set off in the opposite direction.

Volunteers from Picture the Homeless, a group that campaigns for the rights of homeless people, had gathered on the platforms of both stations and were travelling the line to ensure that sleeping people were not mistreated.

“The media attention and all the hubbub probably made them [the MTA and NYPD] stay away,” said Sam Miller, an activist with the group. “But[NYPD commissioner Bill] Bratton has a record of things like this. We expect them to try again another day when we’re not expecting it.”

Picture the Homeless held a rally outside NYPD headquarters on Sunday, along with the New York Civil Liberties Union, other advocacy groups and members of the city council. They demanded that the constitutional rights of homeless people be respected.

Some 52,000 homeless people were living in New York City shelters by the end of 2013, according to Coalition for the Homeless, with thousands more living on streets. The number of homeless people living on the subway system has risen from 1,000 in 2009 to more than 1,800 last year, according to a survey by the city’s department of homeless services.

Source
Photo

Two emergency actions to stop NYC&#8217;s homeless purge on trainsFebruary 21, 2014
We knew this was coming - NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is rolling out his first major anti-homeless policing initiative. And we&#8217;re ready to fight back. And we need your help.
DNAInfo is reporting that at 3AM on Monday, the City will start purging sleeping homeless people from the subways, stopping trains at two stations to force people off and into a shelter or a hospital. But the NYPD will be on hand, presumably to arrest people who refuse to go. It&#8217;s framed as an MTA response to the increased volume of homeless people during this bitter cold winter, but this is a police action, pure and simple. Homeless people who ride the trains have already assessed and rejected the shelter and the hospital as alternative options.
Our main concerns are:
Folks will be profiled as homeless and told to leave the trains after they&#8217;ve paid their fare
Folks will be told to leave the train if they are homeless regardless if they&#8217;ve been on the train for 15 minutes or 15 days. It isn&#8217;t against the law to be riding a subway while homeless!
Besides being a misguided, broken windows strategy, this is a clear violation of the newly-passed Community Safety Act, and its ban on profiling based on &#8220;housing status&#8221; or perceived homelessness.
While it is problematic that there is a huge increase in homelessness in NYC policing is not the solution, housing is.
Some of our members have already written powerful responses, captured here on our blog. But statements are not enough.
On Sunday, February 23rd, we&#8217;ll gather at NYPD headquarters to hold a press conference condemning this blatant violation of our rights.
3PM, Sunday February 23rd1 Police Plaza (4/5/6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall; behind the Municipal Building)
And then at 3AM, when the MTA is scheduled to roll out this new policy, we&#8217;ll be on hand with legal observers to monitor the enforcement and ensure no ones rights are violated! 


3AM, Monday February 24thJamaica Center Subway Station, E PlatformWTC Subway Station, E Platform

We really really need your help, at either or both of these important actions. We knew that when Bratton returned as NYPD commissioner, bad policing was on its way - but if we fight back fast and hard, we can show him that a lot has changed in New York City since he&#8217;s been away, and folks won&#8217;t stand for profiling of any kind!
- Picture the Homeless NYC
In news related to NYC&#8217;s homelessness crisis &amp; deplorable shelter system, 400 children &amp; their families will be removed from two city shelters - Auburn in Brooklyn &amp; Catherine Street in Manhattan - for more than 400 violations, including &#8220;vermin, mold, lead exposure, an inoperable fire safety system, insufficient child care and the presence of sexual predators, among them, a caseworker.&#8221; 
Disgusting shelter conditions, high rates of sexual abuse, violence, &amp; pure bureaucratic bullshit people have to deal with when entering the shelter system are exactly why there are so many street homeless people &amp; subway sleepers here. Now people will be kicked out of the only warm (&amp; relatively safe) shelter they can find in the city.
The homeless population in New York City includes more than 52,000 people, including 22,000 youth. 

Two emergency actions to stop NYC’s homeless purge on trains
February 21, 2014

We knew this was coming - NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is rolling out his first major anti-homeless policing initiative. And we’re ready to fight back. And we need your help.
DNAInfo is reporting that at 3AM on Monday, the City will start purging sleeping homeless people from the subways, stopping trains at two stations to force people off and into a shelter or a hospital. But the NYPD will be on hand, presumably to arrest people who refuse to go. It’s framed as an MTA response to the increased volume of homeless people during this bitter cold winter, but this is a police action, pure and simple. Homeless people who ride the trains have already assessed and rejected the shelter and the hospital as alternative options.
Our main concerns are:
  1. Folks will be profiled as homeless and told to leave the trains after they’ve paid their fare
  2. Folks will be told to leave the train if they are homeless regardless if they’ve been on the train for 15 minutes or 15 days. It isn’t against the law to be riding a subway while homeless!
  3. Besides being a misguided, broken windows strategy, this is a clear violation of the newly-passed Community Safety Act, and its ban on profiling based on “housing status” or perceived homelessness.
  4. While it is problematic that there is a huge increase in homelessness in NYC policing is not the solution, housing is.

Some of our members have already written powerful responses, captured here on our blog. But statements are not enough.

On Sunday, February 23rd, we’ll gather at NYPD headquarters to hold a press conference condemning this blatant violation of our rights.

3PM, Sunday February 23rd
1 Police Plaza (4/5/6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall; behind the Municipal Building)

And then at 3AM, when the MTA is scheduled to roll out this new policy, we’ll be on hand with legal observers to monitor the enforcement and ensure no ones rights are violated! 
3AM, Monday February 24th
Jamaica Center Subway Station, E PlatformWTC Subway Station, E Platform
We really really need your help, at either or both of these important actions. We knew that when Bratton returned as NYPD commissioner, bad policing was on its way - but if we fight back fast and hard, we can show him that a lot has changed in New York City since he’s been away, and folks won’t stand for profiling of any kind!

- Picture the Homeless NYC

In news related to NYC’s homelessness crisis & deplorable shelter system, 400 children & their families will be removed from two city shelters - Auburn in Brooklyn & Catherine Street in Manhattan - for more than 400 violations, including “vermin, mold, lead exposure, an inoperable fire safety system, insufficient child care and the presence of sexual predators, among them, a caseworker.” 

Disgusting shelter conditions, high rates of sexual abuse, violence, & pure bureaucratic bullshit people have to deal with when entering the shelter system are exactly why there are so many street homeless people & subway sleepers here. Now people will be kicked out of the only warm (& relatively safe) shelter they can find in the city.

The homeless population in New York City includes more than 52,000 people, including 22,000 youth. 

Activists to protest NYPD&#8217;s handling of murder of Islan NettlesJanuary 29, 2014
On Thursday, Jan. 30 at 4 p.m., a coalition of representatives from New York City human rights organizations will protest the NYPD’s negligence in the immediate aftermath of the brutal beating death of transgender woman, Islan Nettles. The protest at One Police Plaza demands an explanation by incoming NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton and the NYPD for its initial malfeasance on the case and demands a report on the current status of the homicide investigation by NY County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
"The transgender and cisgender communities together call on William Bratton and the NYPD to set an example with the Islan Nettles case by committing to seeing justice served, not only for Islan Nettles, but for all victims of transphobic violence in New York City," said Brooke Cerda, founder of the Transgender/Cisgender Coalition.
Endorsers include the Transgender/Cisgender Coalition, ACT UP/NY, Luz’s Daughter Cares, Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), Harlem Pride, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR), Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, Ali Forney Center, VOCAL-NY, ETNYC and Make the Road.
Several glaringly obvious breaches of procedure stand out about this case. At midnight on Aug. 17, 2013, Paris Wilson, accompanied by friends, flirted with Islan Nettles in Harlem, directly across the street from Police Service Area 6 at 2770 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between West 147th and West 148th Street. (Public Service Area 6 covers the 24th, 26th, and 32nd Precincts.)
Upon realizing Nettles was transgender, Wilson became enraged and began to harass Nettles and her transgender companions with transphobic slurs. Wilson began punching Nettles vigorously in the face until she fell to the pavement, slamming her head on concrete, according to the NYPD. Notified by one of Nettles’ friends, police officers arrived at the scene and pulled Wilson off Nettles, who was then transported to Harlem Hospital and admitted with severe head trauma.
Officers at Police Service Area 6 did not question Nettles’ companions thoroughly and never checked on Nettles’ condition after her admittance to Harlem Hospital, according to law enforcement sources. Officers at the scene never obtained DNA evidence from Wilson’s hands. Investigations were halted until Aug. 23, when the D.A.’s office learned that Nettles was declared brain dead and removed from life support. When asked about crucial footage from the ten surveillance cameras located on the PSA 6 edifice and on surrounding structures, the D.A.’s office said all cameras were broken and no footage existed.
After the assault, Simone Wilson, mother of Paris Wilson, coerced an inebriated friend of her son to confess to the crime but he later denied the allegations, according to the NYPD. Shockingly, Simone Wilson was never held accountable for falsifying evidence or for hindering the investigation. Nettles’ friends and family also report that Simone Wilson aggressively photographed them at Harlem Hospital, as if threatening them if they filed charges.
Following a misdemeanor charge of third degree assault, Paris Wilson was immediately released from jail on a mere $2,000 bail and on Nov. 19 even that charge was dropped due to &#8220;lack of evidence.&#8221; The D.A.’s office has since said it is &#8220;aggressively investigating the crime as a homicide,&#8221; but no suspect or statement on the progress of the investigation has been presented in the two months since the investigation began.
The Jan. 30 protest calls for the NYPD to explain its failure to immediately and adequately investigate the crime scene, question witnesses, retain DNA samples and surveillance footage and check on Nettles’ condition, even if the crime was initially misperceived as merely an assault.
We call for the NYPD to explain why Simone Wilson has never been charged with obstruction of justice. We demand that D.A. Vance provide a status report on the investigation. Finally, we call for the NYPD to audit the 24, 26, and 32 Precincts and all city precincts for their capacity to conduct timely and unbiased investigations of this and all transphobic violent crimes.
Life expectancy for transgender women of color is 23 years, according to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project reports that on average one trans person is murdered per month in the U.S., most of them women of color.
The protest will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30 at One Police Plaza in Manhattan. For more information, call 718-924-3322 or visit http://luzsdaughtercares.wordpress.com/tag/justice-for-islan-nettles/
Source
I&#8217;ll be out there tomorrow - spread the word, let&#8217;s get a big crowd out there &amp; demand justice for Islan &lt;3

Activists to protest NYPD’s handling of murder of Islan Nettles
January 29, 2014

On Thursday, Jan. 30 at 4 p.m., a coalition of representatives from New York City human rights organizations will protest the NYPD’s negligence in the immediate aftermath of the brutal beating death of transgender woman, Islan Nettles. The protest at One Police Plaza demands an explanation by incoming NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton and the NYPD for its initial malfeasance on the case and demands a report on the current status of the homicide investigation by NY County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

"The transgender and cisgender communities together call on William Bratton and the NYPD to set an example with the Islan Nettles case by committing to seeing justice served, not only for Islan Nettles, but for all victims of transphobic violence in New York City," said Brooke Cerda, founder of the Transgender/Cisgender Coalition.

Endorsers include the Transgender/Cisgender Coalition, ACT UP/NY, Luz’s Daughter Cares, Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), Harlem Pride, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR), Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, Ali Forney Center, VOCAL-NY, ETNYC and Make the Road.

Several glaringly obvious breaches of procedure stand out about this case. At midnight on Aug. 17, 2013, Paris Wilson, accompanied by friends, flirted with Islan Nettles in Harlem, directly across the street from Police Service Area 6 at 2770 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between West 147th and West 148th Street. (Public Service Area 6 covers the 24th, 26th, and 32nd Precincts.)

Upon realizing Nettles was transgender, Wilson became enraged and began to harass Nettles and her transgender companions with transphobic slurs. Wilson began punching Nettles vigorously in the face until she fell to the pavement, slamming her head on concrete, according to the NYPD. Notified by one of Nettles’ friends, police officers arrived at the scene and pulled Wilson off Nettles, who was then transported to Harlem Hospital and admitted with severe head trauma.

Officers at Police Service Area 6 did not question Nettles’ companions thoroughly and never checked on Nettles’ condition after her admittance to Harlem Hospital, according to law enforcement sources. Officers at the scene never obtained DNA evidence from Wilson’s hands. Investigations were halted until Aug. 23, when the D.A.’s office learned that Nettles was declared brain dead and removed from life support. When asked about crucial footage from the ten surveillance cameras located on the PSA 6 edifice and on surrounding structures, the D.A.’s office said all cameras were broken and no footage existed.

After the assault, Simone Wilson, mother of Paris Wilson, coerced an inebriated friend of her son to confess to the crime but he later denied the allegations, according to the NYPD. Shockingly, Simone Wilson was never held accountable for falsifying evidence or for hindering the investigation. Nettles’ friends and family also report that Simone Wilson aggressively photographed them at Harlem Hospital, as if threatening them if they filed charges.

Following a misdemeanor charge of third degree assault, Paris Wilson was immediately released from jail on a mere $2,000 bail and on Nov. 19 even that charge was dropped due to “lack of evidence.” The D.A.’s office has since said it is “aggressively investigating the crime as a homicide,” but no suspect or statement on the progress of the investigation has been presented in the two months since the investigation began.

The Jan. 30 protest calls for the NYPD to explain its failure to immediately and adequately investigate the crime scene, question witnesses, retain DNA samples and surveillance footage and check on Nettles’ condition, even if the crime was initially misperceived as merely an assault.

We call for the NYPD to explain why Simone Wilson has never been charged with obstruction of justice. We demand that D.A. Vance provide a status report on the investigation. Finally, we call for the NYPD to audit the 24, 26, and 32 Precincts and all city precincts for their capacity to conduct timely and unbiased investigations of this and all transphobic violent crimes.

Life expectancy for transgender women of color is 23 years, according to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. The Trans Murder Monitoring Project reports that on average one trans person is murdered per month in the U.S., most of them women of color.

The protest will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30 at One Police Plaza in Manhattan. For more information, call 718-924-3322 or visit http://luzsdaughtercares.wordpress.com/tag/justice-for-islan-nettles/

Source

I’ll be out there tomorrow - spread the word, let’s get a big crowd out there & demand justice for Islan <3

New York City agrees to pay $18 million settlement to protesters of the RNCJanuary 16, 2014
The city of New York has agreed to pay $18m to settle a civil rights claim from hundreds of protesters who were rounded up and detained in overcrowded and dirty conditions after they rallied outside the 2004 Republican National Convention.
The settlement, between city hall and almost 500 individuals, brings to an end a long-running sore between the overwhelmingly peaceful protesters and the New York police department (NYPD) that had been pursuing aggressive surveillance and detention tactics in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. More than 1,800 people, including teenagers and many uninvolved bystanders, were caught up in the massive police sweep outside the convention that was held to mark the nomination of George W Bush for a second presidential term.
The deal, announced by the law department of the city of New York on Wednesday, does not come down on either side of the argument. It admits no liability on the part of the NYPD, noting that for nine years City Hall and the police department “had vigorously defended all these lawsuits, maintaining that the conduct of the police had at all times been constitutional”.
It nevertheless involves a payment of $10.4m to individual plaintiffs and to 1,200 members of a class action that alleged violation of their rights, and a further $7.6m in attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.
The settlement offers a note of agreement between the parties, saying that “both the plaintiffs and defendants recognize the difficulties in policing an event of this magnitude, especially in New York City.” But it adds that the circumstances of the arrests at the RNC had been “heavily disputed” and in the end “the parties and the court believed it was in the best interests of all involved to settle the outstanding claims at this time.”
The events of 30 August to 2 September 2004 in New York were among the most dramatic of any political convention in US presidential history. Tensions were running high over the invasion of Iraq the previous year and hundreds of thousands marched against Bush and the war in one of the largest expressions of public dissent against a president.
Wednesday’s settlement notes that the demonstrators “on the whole, protested lawfully and peacefully”. But a total of 1,806 were arrested, most on charges of parading without a permit or disorderly conduct.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the protesters renamed Pier 57, then a disused former bus depot in Manhattan where those arrested were taken, Guantánamo on the Hudson. “All that was missing were the orange jumpsuits. Under the guise of terrorism and the fear of terrorism, we are all losing our rights,” Jonathan Moore, the lawyer who filed the original lawsuit a few months after the convention, said at the time .
Pier 57 was not properly adapted for use as a detention center. In it, detained individuals were herded 30 or 40 at a time into 10ft by 20ft pens.
Some were held for more than two days without being brought before a judge, a violation of New York’s legal limit of 24 hours between arrest and arraignment. They were only released when a New York supreme court judge ruled the breach of the deadline a contempt of court.
Some released detainees were taken straight to hospital for treatment of rashes and asthma caused by oil-soaked floors and chemical fumes. Most had the charges against them were dropped immediately or within six months of the arrests, and some police claims of resisting arrest were later shown to be spurious through video evidence gathered by defence lawyers.
The announcement of the final settlement only two weeks into the term of New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, may not be entirely coincidental. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg, and his police chief Ray Kelly, had consistently defended the conduct of the NYPD in the week of the RNC convention, 30 August to 2 September 2004, saying it had been justified by intelligence of possible violent threats that had been uncovered. But the documentary evidence to support that claim has never been released.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks three years previously, Bloomberg and Kelly had expanded the activities of the NYPD dramatically to include surveillance and infiltration of political and protest groups. A year before the convention they received court approval to expand NYPD investigations into the work of political and social organisations, which Kelly said was necessary as “we live in a more dangerous, constantly changing world”.
When the convention came along, with its venue in the overwhelmingly liberal city of New York, tensions were running high particularly over the invasion of Iraq that occurred the previous year. Hundreds of thousands marched against Bush and the war in one of the largest expressions of public dissent against a president.
Before Wednesday’s settlement, the fact of which was first disclosed by the New York Times, the city had already spent more than $18m fighting legal battles in the aftermath of the convention: $2.1m to resolve 112 of the total of 600 individual claims, and a further $16m in legal fees. The final settlement brings the total cost of the police over-reach to $34m.
Source

New York City agrees to pay $18 million settlement to protesters of the RNC
January 16, 2014

The city of New York has agreed to pay $18m to settle a civil rights claim from hundreds of protesters who were rounded up and detained in overcrowded and dirty conditions after they rallied outside the 2004 Republican National Convention.

The settlement, between city hall and almost 500 individuals, brings to an end a long-running sore between the overwhelmingly peaceful protesters and the New York police department (NYPD) that had been pursuing aggressive surveillance and detention tactics in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. More than 1,800 people, including teenagers and many uninvolved bystanders, were caught up in the massive police sweep outside the convention that was held to mark the nomination of George W Bush for a second presidential term.

The deal, announced by the law department of the city of New York on Wednesday, does not come down on either side of the argument. It admits no liability on the part of the NYPD, noting that for nine years City Hall and the police department “had vigorously defended all these lawsuits, maintaining that the conduct of the police had at all times been constitutional”.

It nevertheless involves a payment of $10.4m to individual plaintiffs and to 1,200 members of a class action that alleged violation of their rights, and a further $7.6m in attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.

The settlement offers a note of agreement between the parties, saying that “both the plaintiffs and defendants recognize the difficulties in policing an event of this magnitude, especially in New York City.” But it adds that the circumstances of the arrests at the RNC had been “heavily disputed” and in the end “the parties and the court believed it was in the best interests of all involved to settle the outstanding claims at this time.”

The events of 30 August to 2 September 2004 in New York were among the most dramatic of any political convention in US presidential history. Tensions were running high over the invasion of Iraq the previous year and hundreds of thousands marched against Bush and the war in one of the largest expressions of public dissent against a president.

Wednesday’s settlement notes that the demonstrators “on the whole, protested lawfully and peacefully”. But a total of 1,806 were arrested, most on charges of parading without a permit or disorderly conduct.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the protesters renamed Pier 57, then a disused former bus depot in Manhattan where those arrested were taken, Guantánamo on the Hudson. “All that was missing were the orange jumpsuits. Under the guise of terrorism and the fear of terrorism, we are all losing our rights,” Jonathan Moore, the lawyer who filed the original lawsuit a few months after the convention, said at the time .

Pier 57 was not properly adapted for use as a detention center. In it, detained individuals were herded 30 or 40 at a time into 10ft by 20ft pens.

Some were held for more than two days without being brought before a judge, a violation of New York’s legal limit of 24 hours between arrest and arraignment. They were only released when a New York supreme court judge ruled the breach of the deadline a contempt of court.

Some released detainees were taken straight to hospital for treatment of rashes and asthma caused by oil-soaked floors and chemical fumes. Most had the charges against them were dropped immediately or within six months of the arrests, and some police claims of resisting arrest were later shown to be spurious through video evidence gathered by defence lawyers.

The announcement of the final settlement only two weeks into the term of New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, may not be entirely coincidental. Former mayor Michael Bloomberg, and his police chief Ray Kelly, had consistently defended the conduct of the NYPD in the week of the RNC convention, 30 August to 2 September 2004, saying it had been justified by intelligence of possible violent threats that had been uncovered. But the documentary evidence to support that claim has never been released.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks three years previously, Bloomberg and Kelly had expanded the activities of the NYPD dramatically to include surveillance and infiltration of political and protest groups. A year before the convention they received court approval to expand NYPD investigations into the work of political and social organisations, which Kelly said was necessary as “we live in a more dangerous, constantly changing world”.

When the convention came along, with its venue in the overwhelmingly liberal city of New York, tensions were running high particularly over the invasion of Iraq that occurred the previous year. Hundreds of thousands marched against Bush and the war in one of the largest expressions of public dissent against a president.

Before Wednesday’s settlement, the fact of which was first disclosed by the New York Times, the city had already spent more than $18m fighting legal battles in the aftermath of the convention: $2.1m to resolve 112 of the total of 600 individual claims, and a further $16m in legal fees. The final settlement brings the total cost of the police over-reach to $34m.

Source

Victory in unlawful mass arrest during 2004 RNC in largest protest settlement in historyJanuary 16, 2014
In a settlement announced yesterday with the New York Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights advocates, New York City has agreed to pay nearly $18 million for the arrest, detention and fingerprinting of hundreds of protesters, journalists, legal observers and bystanders during the 2004 Republican National Convention – the largest protest settlement in history. The NYCLU filed the first cases following the Convention and has been central to the legal challenge to the NYPD’s actions.
“No lawful protester should ever be treated like a criminal in New York City, or anywhere else in the United States,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This historic settlement must serve as a reminder to New York City and government across the country that the right to protest is a fundamental pillar of a fair and functioning democracy. And it is the role of government and law enforcement to not only tolerate protest, but protect and defend it.”
The 2004 RNC prompted hundreds of thousands of people to participate in lawful demonstrations in New York City. Despite the peaceful nature of the gatherings and the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to protest, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests, including of more than 1,800 protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists. The Department then fingerprinted everyone and held hundreds for more than 24 hours at a filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.
In early October 2004, the NYCLU filed the first two Convention lawsuits. One (Schiller v. City of New York) arose out of the mass arrest of 226 people on a sidewalk on Fulton Street near the World Trade Center and the other (Dinler v. City of New York) out of the mass arrest of nearly 400 people on East 16th Street near Union Square. Both challenged the mass arrest, lengthy detention and blanket fingerprinting of protesters, journalists and bystanders at each location.
Following many years of litigation, the federal District Court in October 2012 ruled that the Fulton Street mass arrest was unconstitutional and rejected the city’s claim that the 16th Street mass arrest was permissible. In that ruling, federal Judge Richard Sullivan urged the city and the plaintiffs in the dozens of remaining Convention cases to settle, leading to today&#8217;s settlement. And as condition of settling the two NYCLU cases, the city has agreed to abandon all the appeals it had filed of the October 2012 ruling.
“The mass arrest, blanket fingerprinting and prolonged detention of demonstrators, bystanders and journalists at the Convention is one of the darkest chapters in New York City’s long and proud history of protest,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the NYCLU cases. “While no amount of money can undo the damage inflicted by the NYPD’s actions during the Convention, we hope and expect that this enormous settlement will help assure that what happened in 2004 will not happen again.”
Full article

Victory in unlawful mass arrest during 2004 RNC in largest protest settlement in history
January 16, 2014

In a settlement announced yesterday with the New York Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights advocates, New York City has agreed to pay nearly $18 million for the arrest, detention and fingerprinting of hundreds of protesters, journalists, legal observers and bystanders during the 2004 Republican National Convention – the largest protest settlement in history. The NYCLU filed the first cases following the Convention and has been central to the legal challenge to the NYPD’s actions.

“No lawful protester should ever be treated like a criminal in New York City, or anywhere else in the United States,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This historic settlement must serve as a reminder to New York City and government across the country that the right to protest is a fundamental pillar of a fair and functioning democracy. And it is the role of government and law enforcement to not only tolerate protest, but protect and defend it.”

The 2004 RNC prompted hundreds of thousands of people to participate in lawful demonstrations in New York City. Despite the peaceful nature of the gatherings and the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to protest, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests, including of more than 1,800 protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists. The Department then fingerprinted everyone and held hundreds for more than 24 hours at a filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.

In early October 2004, the NYCLU filed the first two Convention lawsuits. One (Schiller v. City of New York) arose out of the mass arrest of 226 people on a sidewalk on Fulton Street near the World Trade Center and the other (Dinler v. City of New York) out of the mass arrest of nearly 400 people on East 16th Street near Union Square. Both challenged the mass arrest, lengthy detention and blanket fingerprinting of protesters, journalists and bystanders at each location.

Following many years of litigation, the federal District Court in October 2012 ruled that the Fulton Street mass arrest was unconstitutional and rejected the city’s claim that the 16th Street mass arrest was permissible. In that ruling, federal Judge Richard Sullivan urged the city and the plaintiffs in the dozens of remaining Convention cases to settle, leading to today’s settlement. And as condition of settling the two NYCLU cases, the city has agreed to abandon all the appeals it had filed of the October 2012 ruling.

“The mass arrest, blanket fingerprinting and prolonged detention of demonstrators, bystanders and journalists at the Convention is one of the darkest chapters in New York City’s long and proud history of protest,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, lead counsel in the NYCLU cases. “While no amount of money can undo the damage inflicted by the NYPD’s actions during the Convention, we hope and expect that this enormous settlement will help assure that what happened in 2004 will not happen again.”

Full article

Cooper Union trustees vote on $20,000 tuition next fall
January 15, 2014

Cooper Union trustees rejected a last-ditch effort to keep the New York City college free. 

Their vote Friday makes it all but certain, following months of controversy, that the college’s legacy of free education will end for incoming students this fall. Opponents predict the $20,000 tuition will badly hurt the college, which was founded by industrialist Paul Cooper to educate the working class and has become a well-regarded training ground for artist, architects and engineers.

“I went in to try and prevent a murder, but I arrived to find a corpse,” Kevin Slavin, a trustee who tried to keep the college free, said in an online post after Friday’s vote, in which he blamed years of poor management and predicted a dire future. “A corpse from a tragedy that happened years ago.”

According to Slavin’s account, trustees overwhelmingly rejected an 18-member working group’s plan to keep the college free.

Slavin, who joined the board last year to champion its tuition-free model, called the working group plan “the Plan that Sucks” because of the cuts it would have forced. But he voted for it anyway to try to save the tuition-free legacy.

The plan to charge tuition, announced last April, set off a two-month student occupation of the president’s office. In a deal that ended the occupation, administrators agreed to make a “good faith effort” to rethink the highly controversial tuition plan. In December, the working group of alumni, administrators, faculty, students and trustees released its report. It concluded that the college could not only avoid financial ruin but actually end up better off without charging tuition by making a series of cuts and taking steps to raise revenue from things other than undergraduate tuition.

But several allies of the administration released their own “minority report” that threw cold cold water on the full report and argued that Cooper Union’s solvency depended on charging students. That argument carried the day Friday.

“The Working Group plan puts forward a number of recommendations that are worth pursuing under any financial model,” the board said in a statement Friday. “However, we believe that the contingencies and risks inherent in the proposals are too great to supplant the need for new revenue sources. Regrettably, tuition remains the only realistic source of new revenue in the near future.”

The board said it might try to make Cooper Union tuition free again if it could. Backers of the tuition plan also point out the college plans to offer aid to the lowest-income students trying to live in expensive New York City, something it doesn’t do now, which could make it easier for some to attend even with the tuition. But Slavin and others portrayed tuition as a grave wound to the college.

Michael Borkowsky, an alumnus whose 17 years as a trustee ended in December, fears for the future.

“When you have something that is unique in all the world, giving that up, seems to me, as a very desperate move,” he said in a telephone interview Sunday.

Borkowsky said the administration, now led by President Jamshed Bharucha, never really considered alternatives to charging tuition. He said pro-tuition trustees may not appreciate how important free tuition is to the college’s standing and predicted a decline in student quality.

“It seems to me that that’s inevitable: with tuition you’re not going to get the level of applications you get without tuition, so the selectivity will drop over time,” Borkowsky, a 1961 graduate, said.  He said the majority of the board and the administration are simply not accounting for this long-term risk. “If you’re dipping down further down in the applicant pool to get the students who can afford to pay, that’s your risk, that your quality is no longer the same,” he said.

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fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday he had no intention of ending the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

Asked by co-host Norah O’Donnell on “CBS This Morning” if he will halt stop-and-frisk, Bratton responded, “Not at all.”

The police commissioner went on to say, as he has before, that he wants to use it appropriately and explain to people why they are being stopped.

Bratton noted that Mayor Bill de Blasio “didn’t campaign against stop-and-frisk, he campaigned on reforming it.”

fuckyeahmarxismleninism

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

New York City: Protesters gather at the inauguration of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, January 1, 2014.

A few dozen hearty souls from New Yorkers Against Bratton, ACT UP and Occupy Wall St. came out to protest at the inauguration of New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio. They came to slam de Blasio’s choice of racist stop-and-frisk advocate Bill Bratton to head the NYPD, his lack of a plan to fight HIV/AIDS, and remind the city of the many ambitious promises he made to get the votes of poor and working people. De Blasio was sworn in before a who’s who of neoliberal politicians, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo.

De Blasio also just named former Goldman Sachs exec Alicia Glen as Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, a new position created to make housing more affordable…………………….