zahgurim
queernessandlatkes:

#Justice4Cecily Dance Dance Revolution! Solidarity Party (link to Facebook event)
Hey Tumblr, there’s a really important event/party happening this Saturday (3/1/2014) in Brooklyn. Please reblog and attend if you’re able! Even if you don’t live in NYC, pass this along to any friends or followers who do. If you see this post after Saturday, please keep reblogging because Cecily’s trial begins on Monday 3/3 and will continue until 3/10. We need people to show up in court to show their support for Cecily, so this needs to be spread until then. If you’re interested in signing up to come to court, you can RSVP on www.justiceforcecily.com. (Also, it’d be great if you could tag it with anything relevant that’ll help more people see this!)
Cecily McMillan is an activist and grad student who was brutally sexually and physically assaulted by police officers on the 6-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. When Cecily felt her right breast being grabbed from behind, she involuntarily swung her elbow back and hit her attacker in the face. It turns out that the person who groped her was an NYPD police officer, so Cecily is now being charged as a felon and is facing up to 7 years in jail for “assaulting a police officer.” When Cecily struck the officer, he and other officers attacked her until she was badly bruised, knocked unconscious and seizing. Although there is video footage of several police officers kicking Cecily as she laid unconscious on the ground, it is she who is being sued and could go to jail because she was attacked.
The event on Saturday will be a dance party (with DJs, live musicians, food and beer/wine for those over 21) and also with social justice components. There will be a space for people to write down and share their experiences with police brutality. There will be a table with zines and folks are invited to hang up posters for upcoming political/activist/leftist/queer events! Hopefully, we’ll also have computers so anyone who’s interested in supporting Cecily in court can sign up for shifts at the party. 
Hope to see you on Saturday and/or in court in the following weeks!
To learn more about Cecily and her trial:www.justiceforcecily.com (Official website)
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/23/exclusive_ows_activist_cecily_mcmillan_describes (Video interview immediately following the incident)
http://justiceforcecily.com/media/ (Comprehensive list of articles and videos about Cecily)
http://www.policymic.com/articles/82123/this-occupy-activist-could-go-to-prison-for-standing-up-to-the-cop-who-grabbed-her-breast (Trigger warning: somewhat graphic images of bruises)
How you can help:
Attend the party on Saturday 3/1! This is an opportunity to do something great and have fun at the same time. There is a $5 suggested donation (although no one will be turned away for lack of funds.) Please show up if you can—we’d like to see as many of you there as possible! (FB event)
Sign up to attend court any time from 3/3-3/10. It’s critical to show the judge, jury and the media that we all stand with Cecily. We’re hoping to pack the court room to capacity, with 100 people every day! For more information and to RSVP, click here. You can also find the Facebook event for the trial here: 
If you don’t live in NY: Sign this petition to ask the NY District Attorney to drop all charges against Cecily. After you sign it’ll prompt you to tweet at the DA if you want (but you don’t have to)
Spread the word!! Reblog this post, share articles and events on Facebook, and reach out to people you know, especially in the NYC area. Share Cecily’s story.

queernessandlatkes:

#Justice4Cecily Dance Dance Revolution! Solidarity Party 
(link to Facebook event)

Hey Tumblr, there’s a really important event/party happening this Saturday (3/1/2014) in Brooklyn. Please reblog and attend if you’re able! Even if you don’t live in NYC, pass this along to any friends or followers who do. If you see this post after Saturday, please keep reblogging because Cecily’s trial begins on Monday 3/3 and will continue until 3/10. We need people to show up in court to show their support for Cecily, so this needs to be spread until then. If you’re interested in signing up to come to court, you can RSVP on www.justiceforcecily.com. (Also, it’d be great if you could tag it with anything relevant that’ll help more people see this!)

Cecily McMillan is an activist and grad student who was brutally sexually and physically assaulted by police officers on the 6-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. When Cecily felt her right breast being grabbed from behind, she involuntarily swung her elbow back and hit her attacker in the face. It turns out that the person who groped her was an NYPD police officer, so Cecily is now being charged as a felon and is facing up to 7 years in jail for “assaulting a police officer.” When Cecily struck the officer, he and other officers attacked her until she was badly bruised, knocked unconscious and seizing. Although there is video footage of several police officers kicking Cecily as she laid unconscious on the ground, it is she who is being sued and could go to jail because she was attacked.

The event on Saturday will be a dance party (with DJs, live musicians, food and beer/wine for those over 21) and also with social justice components. There will be a space for people to write down and share their experiences with police brutality. There will be a table with zines and folks are invited to hang up posters for upcoming political/activist/leftist/queer events! Hopefully, we’ll also have computers so anyone who’s interested in supporting Cecily in court can sign up for shifts at the party. 

Hope to see you on Saturday and/or in court in the following weeks!

To learn more about Cecily and her trial:
www.justiceforcecily.com 
(Official website)

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/23/exclusive_ows_activist_cecily_mcmillan_describes 
(Video interview immediately following the incident)

http://justiceforcecily.com/media/ 
(Comprehensive list of articles and videos about Cecily)

http://www.policymic.com/articles/82123/this-occupy-activist-could-go-to-prison-for-standing-up-to-the-cop-who-grabbed-her-breast 
(Trigger warning: somewhat graphic images of bruises)

How you can help:

  • Attend the party on Saturday 3/1! This is an opportunity to do something great and have fun at the same time. There is a $5 suggested donation (although no one will be turned away for lack of funds.) Please show up if you can—we’d like to see as many of you there as possible! (FB event)

  • Sign up to attend court any time from 3/3-3/10. It’s critical to show the judge, jury and the media that we all stand with Cecily. We’re hoping to pack the court room to capacity, with 100 people every day! For more information and to RSVP, click here. You can also find the Facebook event for the trial here

  • If you don’t live in NY: Sign this petition to ask the NY District Attorney to drop all charges against Cecily. After you sign it’ll prompt you to tweet at the DA if you want (but you don’t have to)

  • Spread the word!! Reblog this post, share articles and events on Facebook, and reach out to people you know, especially in the NYC area. Share Cecily’s story.
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’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’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:
Folks will be profiled as homeless and told to leave the trains after they’ve paid their fare
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!
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.
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 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’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’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. 

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’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 “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

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

NYPD must ditch discriminatory Muslim surveillance: Profiling is unconstitutional and counterproductiveNovember 3, 2013
Twice in the course of the last month, the New York City Police Department has been forced to defend its Muslim surveillance program in court. Police documents show that at least since 2003, the NYPD&#8217;s Intelligence Division intensively monitored the daily lives of law-abiding American Muslims in the city and surrounding areas. The department&#8217;s argument that there is no such program — it simply follow leads and goes where they take it — flies in the face of this publicly available evidence. And its refusal to acknowledge that Muslims may have legitimate concerns about surveillance will likely take the NYPD down the same unproductive path it followed with its stop-and-frisk program.
New York&#8217;s police force has long been criticized for its policy of stopping and searching people based on race rather than on suspicion of criminal activity. But instead of taking these complaints seriously, the police only ramped up the program. From 2002 to 2011, the number of stops by the NYPD increased some 600 percent; nearly nine of 10 people stopped were innocent of any wrongdoing. After a series of lawsuits, in August of this year a federal court found that the stop-and-frisk program amounted to an unconstitutional pattern and practice of racial profiling.
It is now well documented that the NYPD&#8217;s Demographics Unit secretly mapped Muslim communities. It created lists of bookshops, kebab houses, hookah bars and food stores frequented by Muslims, and it kept notes on the mundane conversations that officers overheard there. The NYPD also sent informants into mosques to eavesdrop on sermons and conversations among worshippers. It apparently wanted to gauge reactions to world and local events, such as the 2006 protests in parts of the Arab world about Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad and the small plane that accidentally crashed into a Manhattan building the same year. The result of this snooping: nothing. Yet all the chatter was dutifully logged.
So how does the NYPD defend these actions?
To a degree, the department has relied on the same losing strategy it deployed in the stop-and-frisk litigation. Faced with statistics showing that in the past decade 86 percent of people stopped by police were black or Latino, the NYPD argued that this proportion was only to be expected, because these groups committed the most crimes. But a federal court rejected this argument. &#8220;Rather than being a defense against the charge of racial profiling, however, this reasoning is a defense of racial profiling,&#8221; the judge wrote. In court hearings on the Muslim surveillance program, city lawyers have said that snooping on Muslims is only to be expected, because Muslims staged terrorist attacks in New York.
The NYPD simply refuses to understand that targeting all members of a religious group just because some among them have committed terrible crimes is the essence of unconstitutional profiling. In this, the department has the full backing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
When it comes to spying inside mosques, the NYPD says it is following the Handschu Guidelines. These were part of the settlement of a lawsuit over the NYPD’s 1970s-era spying on political groups. After the 9/11 attacks, the rules were loosened to allow the police to attend First Amendment-protected gatherings, such as demonstrations and religious services. But attendance is one thing, using undercover informants masquerading as devout Muslims is another. For that sort of involvement, the NYPD concedes that it needs some indication of criminality.
Full article

NYPD must ditch discriminatory Muslim surveillance: Profiling is unconstitutional and counterproductive
November 3, 2013

Twice in the course of the last month, the New York City Police Department has been forced to defend its Muslim surveillance program in court. Police documents show that at least since 2003, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division intensively monitored the daily lives of law-abiding American Muslims in the city and surrounding areas. The department’s argument that there is no such program — it simply follow leads and goes where they take it — flies in the face of this publicly available evidence. And its refusal to acknowledge that Muslims may have legitimate concerns about surveillance will likely take the NYPD down the same unproductive path it followed with its stop-and-frisk program.

New York’s police force has long been criticized for its policy of stopping and searching people based on race rather than on suspicion of criminal activity. But instead of taking these complaints seriously, the police only ramped up the program. From 2002 to 2011, the number of stops by the NYPD increased some 600 percent; nearly nine of 10 people stopped were innocent of any wrongdoing. After a series of lawsuits, in August of this year a federal court found that the stop-and-frisk program amounted to an unconstitutional pattern and practice of racial profiling.

It is now well documented that the NYPD’s Demographics Unit secretly mapped Muslim communities. It created lists of bookshops, kebab houses, hookah bars and food stores frequented by Muslims, and it kept notes on the mundane conversations that officers overheard there. The NYPD also sent informants into mosques to eavesdrop on sermons and conversations among worshippers. It apparently wanted to gauge reactions to world and local events, such as the 2006 protests in parts of the Arab world about Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad and the small plane that accidentally crashed into a Manhattan building the same year. The result of this snooping: nothing. Yet all the chatter was dutifully logged.

So how does the NYPD defend these actions?

To a degree, the department has relied on the same losing strategy it deployed in the stop-and-frisk litigation. Faced with statistics showing that in the past decade 86 percent of people stopped by police were black or Latino, the NYPD argued that this proportion was only to be expected, because these groups committed the most crimes. But a federal court rejected this argument. “Rather than being a defense against the charge of racial profiling, however, this reasoning is a defense of racial profiling,” the judge wrote. In court hearings on the Muslim surveillance program, city lawyers have said that snooping on Muslims is only to be expected, because Muslims staged terrorist attacks in New York.

The NYPD simply refuses to understand that targeting all members of a religious group just because some among them have committed terrible crimes is the essence of unconstitutional profiling. In this, the department has the full backing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

When it comes to spying inside mosques, the NYPD says it is following the Handschu Guidelines. These were part of the settlement of a lawsuit over the NYPD’s 1970s-era spying on political groups. After the 9/11 attacks, the rules were loosened to allow the police to attend First Amendment-protected gatherings, such as demonstrations and religious services. But attendance is one thing, using undercover informants masquerading as devout Muslims is another. For that sort of involvement, the NYPD concedes that it needs some indication of criminality.

Full article

Court blocks NYPD Stop &amp; Frisk reforms, removes judge who found program unconstitutionalNovember 1, 2013
A sweeping set of changes to the New York City Police Department’s controversial &#8220;stop-and-frisk&#8221; program has been put on hold. In August, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found the program unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a &#8220;policy of indirect racial profiling&#8221; that led officers to routinely stop &#8220;blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.&#8221; 
While she did not halt the use of stop-and-frisk, Scheindlin appointed a federal court monitor to oversee a series of reforms. The city appealed Scheindlin’s ruling, saying it made officers &#8220;passive and scared&#8221; to frisk suspects. On Thursday, it got what it was hoping for, and much more. 
An appeals court stayed the changes, effectively postponing the operations of the monitor, while allowing police officers to continue using stop-and-frisk tactics. 
In a striking move, the court also took the unusual step of removing Scheindlin from the case, saying she &#8220;ran afoul&#8221; of the judiciary’s code of conduct and compromised the &#8220;appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation&#8221; by granting media interviews while the case was pending before her. 
All of this comes as stop-and-frisk has been a major issue in New York City’s mayoral election, which takes place this Tuesday. 
"The next mayor should consider withdrawing the appeal," says Sunita Patel, co-counsel on the stop-and-frisk federal class action lawsuit and a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. "Any fair-minded and neutral judge to look at the record … will come up with the same conclusion. There was a nine-week trial. There is 23,000 pages of evidence here, 8,000 pages of trial transcript. No one could come to a different conclusion than Judge Scheindlin."
Source

Court blocks NYPD Stop & Frisk reforms, removes judge who found program unconstitutional
November 1, 2013

A sweeping set of changes to the New York City Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” program has been put on hold. In August, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin found the program unconstitutional, saying police had relied on a “policy of indirect racial profiling” that led officers to routinely stop “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.”

While she did not halt the use of stop-and-frisk, Scheindlin appointed a federal court monitor to oversee a series of reforms. The city appealed Scheindlin’s ruling, saying it made officers “passive and scared” to frisk suspects. On Thursday, it got what it was hoping for, and much more.

An appeals court stayed the changes, effectively postponing the operations of the monitor, while allowing police officers to continue using stop-and-frisk tactics.

In a striking move, the court also took the unusual step of removing Scheindlin from the case, saying she “ran afoul” of the judiciary’s code of conduct and compromised the “appearance of impartiality surrounding this litigation” by granting media interviews while the case was pending before her.

All of this comes as stop-and-frisk has been a major issue in New York City’s mayoral election, which takes place this Tuesday.

"The next mayor should consider withdrawing the appeal," says Sunita Patel, co-counsel on the stop-and-frisk federal class action lawsuit and a staff attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights. "Any fair-minded and neutral judge to look at the record … will come up with the same conclusion. There was a nine-week trial. There is 23,000 pages of evidence here, 8,000 pages of trial transcript. No one could come to a different conclusion than Judge Scheindlin."

Source

NYPD designates mosques as terrorism organizationsAugust 28, 2013
The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.
Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen &#8220;terrorism enterprise investigations&#8221; into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.
Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.
The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.
The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques and at least one prominent Arab-American group in Brooklyn, whose executive director has worked with city officials, including Bill de Blasio, a front-runner for mayor.
De Blasio said Wednesday on Twitter that he was &#8220;deeply troubled NYPD has labelled entire mosques &amp; Muslim orgs terror groups with seemingly no leads. Security AND liberty make us strong.&#8221;
The revelations about the NYPD&#8217;s massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, &#8220;Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD&#8217;s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden&#8217;s Final Plot Against America.&#8221; The book by AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials.
The disclosures come as the NYPD is fighting off lawsuits accusing it of engaging in racial profiling while combating crime. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that the department&#8217;s use of the stop-and-frisk tactic was unconstitutional.
The American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups have sued, saying the Muslim spying programs are unconstitutional and make Muslims afraid to practice their faith without police scrutiny.
Both Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have denied those accusations. Speaking Wednesday on MSNBC&#8217;s Morning Joe, Kelly reminded people that his intelligence-gathering programs began in the wake of 9/11.


"We follow leads wherever they take us," Kelly said. "We&#8217;re not intimidated as to wherever that lead takes us. And we&#8217;re doing that to protect the people of New York City."


Full article

NYPD designates mosques as terrorism organizations
August 28, 2013

The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorist organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.

The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.

The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques and at least one prominent Arab-American group in Brooklyn, whose executive director has worked with city officials, including Bill de Blasio, a front-runner for mayor.

De Blasio said Wednesday on Twitter that he was “deeply troubled NYPD has labelled entire mosques & Muslim orgs terror groups with seemingly no leads. Security AND liberty make us strong.”

The revelations about the NYPD’s massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, “Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.” The book by AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials.

The disclosures come as the NYPD is fighting off lawsuits accusing it of engaging in racial profiling while combating crime. Earlier this month, a judge ruled that the department’s use of the stop-and-frisk tactic was unconstitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups have sued, saying the Muslim spying programs are unconstitutional and make Muslims afraid to practice their faith without police scrutiny.

Both Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have denied those accusations. Speaking Wednesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Kelly reminded people that his intelligence-gathering programs began in the wake of 9/11.

Full article

TW: Transphobic violence - Black transgender woman dies after being attacked in Harlem

August 23, 2013

A transgender woman who was savagely beaten over the weekend by a man shouting homophobic slurs in Harlem died of her injuries on Thursday in what police are investigating as a hate crime, authorities said.

Islan Nettles, 21, was taken off life support at Harlem Hospital after she was declared brain dead from injuries she suffered in the attack, cops said. She had been clinging to life since being rushed to the hospital late Saturday night, police said.

Nettles was out with several other transgender women at 11 p.m. Saturday when she ran across a group of men near West 148th Street and Eighth Avenue — directly across from the housing bureau’s Police Service Area 6 precinct.

When the man realized that Nettles and her friends were transgender, they began throwing punches and yelling homophobic slurs, cops said.

Nettles, who also went by Vaughn Nettles and Alon Nettles, was taken to Harlem Hospital, but could not be revived, cops said.

A 20-year-old man, whose identity was not immediately released, was arrested in connection with the attack, police said. He was initially charged with misdemeanor assault, but cops said they expected to upgrade the charges on Friday.

According to Nettles’ LinkedIn page, she planned to work in the fashion industry, and had worked as an intern at Harlem design house Ay’ Medici.

"Fashion became a definite decision for my life after my first show with my hand designed garments in high school at the 11th grade," she wrote.

Source

NYC City Council overturns Bloomberg&#8217;s veto on Stop &amp; FriskAugust 22, 2013
The New York City Council has voted to affirm legislation previously vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that seeks to ban discriminatory profiling within the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program and establishes oversight over of the department.
The Community Safety Act includes two pieces of legislation. The End Discriminatory Profiling Act, passed by a vote of 34-15, establishes an enforceable ban on profiling and discrimination by the NYPD and broadens the categories of communities protected to include age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status, in addition to race, ethnicity, religion, and national origin. The NYPD Oversight Act, passed by a margin of 39-10, puts department oversight responsibility on the Commissioner of the Department of Investigation. The NYPD does not currently have an inspector general. The override of the program vociferously defended by Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly comes ten days after it was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge. Judge Schira Scheindlin ruled on August 12 that the “stop, question and frisk” program instituted in by the NYPD in 2002 is unlawful, agreeing with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other civil liberty groups that the program has clearly and wrongfully targeted racial minorities. As a result, a federal monitor will be assigned to oversee departmental policies. 
Source

NYC City Council overturns Bloomberg’s veto on Stop & Frisk
August 22, 2013

The New York City Council has voted to affirm legislation previously vetoed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that seeks to ban discriminatory profiling within the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program and establishes oversight over of the department.

The Community Safety Act includes two pieces of legislation. The End Discriminatory Profiling Act, passed by a vote of 34-15, establishes an enforceable ban on profiling and discrimination by the NYPD and broadens the categories of communities protected to include age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability, and housing status, in addition to race, ethnicity, religion, and national origin. 

The NYPD Oversight Act, passed by a margin of 39-10, puts department oversight responsibility on the Commissioner of the Department of Investigation. The NYPD does not currently have an inspector general. 

The override of the program vociferously defended by Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly comes ten days after it was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge. 

Judge Schira Scheindlin ruled on August 12 that the “stop, question and frisk” program instituted in by the NYPD in 2002 is unlawful, agreeing with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other civil liberty groups that the program has clearly and wrongfully targeted racial minorities. As a result, a federal monitor will be assigned to oversee departmental policies. 

Source

Will there be justice for NYPD victim Ramarley Graham?August 22, 2013
At around 3 pm on a Thursday afternoon in February 2012, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was leaving a Bronx bodega with his friends, when he was followed by members of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit of the 47th Precinct of the New York Police Department. Footage from his home’s surveillance camera shows that Ramarley approached the door of his house, in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, unlocked it and walked inside. An officer then ran to the door, followed by another, gun drawn, and tried to kick it in without success. Multiple officers swarmed the house, entering through the back without a warrant and letting others in through the front.
Officers at the bodega radioed their suspicion that Ramarley was armed. Rather than moving with caution and calling for backup, NYPD officers broke through a series of doors, following Ramarley upstairs and into his bathroom. According to Officer Richard Haste, he yelled “Show me your hands!” before Ramarley reached for his belt. Shouting “Gun! Gun!” Haste then shot Ramarley in the chest, killing him. No weapon was found, only a small bag of marijuana which investigators hypothesized Ramarley had been attempting to flush down the toilet.
Ramarley Graham was one of at least twenty-one people killed by the NYPD in 2012, according to the Stolen Lives Project, a project of the October 22 Coalition, whose members mine news articles and reach out to the community seeking examples of deaths at the hands of police. In 2013 so far, twelve people have been fatally shot by NYPD, including 16-year-old Kimani Gray this past March. Stolen Lives estimates that since Amadou Diallo was killed in 1999, unarmed and fired upon forty-one times outside his apartment building, at least 238 people have been killed by NYPD—the majority black or Latino men or teenagers.
Setting Ramarley Graham’s case apart from most was the indictment of his shooter, then 31, who was charged with manslaughter, first and second degree. It was the first indictment of an on-duty NYPD officer for such a shooting since 2007, when three detectives were indicted, and later acquitted, for killing Sean Bell, also in the Bronx. A 23-year-old father, Bell had been out celebrating on the eve of his wedding when killed. Haste pleaded not guilty, just as the detectives in the Bell case did.
Since their son’s death, Ramarley’s parents, Constance Malcolm and Franclot (Frank) Graham, have been fighting tirelessly for answers and accountability. The raid on the family’s home was traumatic; Ramarley’s little brother Chinnor, now 7, was in the house, along with his grandmother, Gwendolyn Henry, who was taken directly to the NYPD’s 47th Precinct Station House and interrogated for seven hours. Beginning shortly after Ramarley’s funeral, which included the Reverand Al Sharpton as a speaker, Malcolm and Graham held eighteen weekly vigils outside the house where he died, one for each year of his life. They also created theorganization Ramarley’s Call, which meets weekly to strategize rallies and participation in other anti-police brutality events.
Members of the group were in the courtroom this past May, when Judge Steven L. Barrett threw out the indictment against Haste, calling the language used by the District Attorney to present the case to the grand jury “misleading.”
“With no great pleasure, I’m obliged in this case to dismiss the charges,” Judge Barrett told the court, adding that his ruling did not establish that Haste had acted with justification, and that the DA had the right to reconvene a grand jury.
But on August 7, a reconvened grand jury decided not to re-indict Officer Haste. Outraged by the news, the next day Malcolm and Graham held a rally outside DA Robert Johnson’s office, where they were joined by Councilmembers Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn and Andy King of the Bronx, as well as Comptroller John Liu, Tamika Mallory of the National Action Network (NAN), along with friends, family, and supporters. “I’m just lost right now,” said Graham tearfully. “I’ve got so much pain and anger inside of me.” The family has initiated a petition calling for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the case.
Another protest two days later was held in front of the 47th Precinct Station House in the Bronx, and Ramarley’s parents plan to participate in the upcoming march on Washington with NAN, this coming Saturday, August 24.
“We have to ask ourselves this question,” Graham implored the crowd outside the DA’s office on August 8. “Had Ramarley been white, would this have happened? Would they have run into a white person’s home?” The question echoed the hypothetical offered by President Obama in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in July: Had Trayvon Martin been of age and armed, would he have been allowed to stand his ground?
The answer to these imagined scenarios clarifies reality: our system judges these murders not as injustices. As tragedies, maybe. Just as important, we need to ask ourselves how these murders even occurred—how they developed from the seed of subjective suspicion to a teenage life prematurely taken—and what this has to do with the way race operates in our criminal justice system.
Source

Will there be justice for NYPD victim Ramarley Graham?
August 22, 2013

At around 3 pm on a Thursday afternoon in February 2012, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was leaving a Bronx bodega with his friends, when he was followed by members of the Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit of the 47th Precinct of the New York Police Department. Footage from his home’s surveillance camera shows that Ramarley approached the door of his house, in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, unlocked it and walked inside. An officer then ran to the door, followed by another, gun drawn, and tried to kick it in without success. Multiple officers swarmed the house, entering through the back without a warrant and letting others in through the front.

Officers at the bodega radioed their suspicion that Ramarley was armed. Rather than moving with caution and calling for backup, NYPD officers broke through a series of doors, following Ramarley upstairs and into his bathroom. According to Officer Richard Haste, he yelled “Show me your hands!” before Ramarley reached for his belt. Shouting “Gun! Gun!” Haste then shot Ramarley in the chest, killing him. No weapon was found, only a small bag of marijuana which investigators hypothesized Ramarley had been attempting to flush down the toilet.

Ramarley Graham was one of at least twenty-one people killed by the NYPD in 2012, according to the Stolen Lives Project, a project of the October 22 Coalition, whose members mine news articles and reach out to the community seeking examples of deaths at the hands of police. In 2013 so far, twelve people have been fatally shot by NYPD, including 16-year-old Kimani Gray this past March. Stolen Lives estimates that since Amadou Diallo was killed in 1999, unarmed and fired upon forty-one times outside his apartment building, at least 238 people have been killed by NYPD—the majority black or Latino men or teenagers.

Setting Ramarley Graham’s case apart from most was the indictment of his shooter, then 31, who was charged with manslaughter, first and second degree. It was the first indictment of an on-duty NYPD officer for such a shooting since 2007, when three detectives were indicted, and later acquitted, for killing Sean Bell, also in the Bronx. A 23-year-old father, Bell had been out celebrating on the eve of his wedding when killed. Haste pleaded not guilty, just as the detectives in the Bell case did.

Since their son’s death, Ramarley’s parents, Constance Malcolm and Franclot (Frank) Graham, have been fighting tirelessly for answers and accountability. The raid on the family’s home was traumatic; Ramarley’s little brother Chinnor, now 7, was in the house, along with his grandmother, Gwendolyn Henry, who was taken directly to the NYPD’s 47th Precinct Station House and interrogated for seven hours. Beginning shortly after Ramarley’s funeral, which included the Reverand Al Sharpton as a speaker, Malcolm and Graham held eighteen weekly vigils outside the house where he died, one for each year of his life. They also created theorganization Ramarley’s Call, which meets weekly to strategize rallies and participation in other anti-police brutality events.

Members of the group were in the courtroom this past May, when Judge Steven L. Barrett threw out the indictment against Haste, calling the language used by the District Attorney to present the case to the grand jury “misleading.”

“With no great pleasure, I’m obliged in this case to dismiss the charges,” Judge Barrett told the court, adding that his ruling did not establish that Haste had acted with justification, and that the DA had the right to reconvene a grand jury.

But on August 7, a reconvened grand jury decided not to re-indict Officer Haste. Outraged by the news, the next day Malcolm and Graham held a rally outside DA Robert Johnson’s office, where they were joined by Councilmembers Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn and Andy King of the Bronx, as well as Comptroller John Liu, Tamika Mallory of the National Action Network (NAN), along with friends, family, and supporters. “I’m just lost right now,” said Graham tearfully. “I’ve got so much pain and anger inside of me.” The family has initiated a petition calling for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into the case.

Another protest two days later was held in front of the 47th Precinct Station House in the Bronx, and Ramarley’s parents plan to participate in the upcoming march on Washington with NAN, this coming Saturday, August 24.

“We have to ask ourselves this question,” Graham implored the crowd outside the DA’s office on August 8. “Had Ramarley been white, would this have happened? Would they have run into a white person’s home?” The question echoed the hypothetical offered by President Obama in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in July: Had Trayvon Martin been of age and armed, would he have been allowed to stand his ground?

The answer to these imagined scenarios clarifies reality: our system judges these murders not as injustices. As tragedies, maybe. Just as important, we need to ask ourselves how these murders even occurred—how they developed from the seed of subjective suspicion to a teenage life prematurely taken—and what this has to do with the way race operates in our criminal justice system.

Source

A judge ruled Stop &amp; Frisk to be unconstitutional &amp; racist - but will the racial profiling practice stop?August 17, 2013
A federal judge‘s ruling has finally affirmed what activists in New York City have been saying for years: The New York City Police Department (NYPD) policy of “stop-and-frisk” is legalized racial profiling and harassment. The long-awaited decision came in response to a lawsuit by eight plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk. But more fundamentally, it was the product of an activist movement that has for years highlighted the racist implications of this policy. The longstanding campaign to stop “stop-and-frisk” gained new momentum in the aftermath of high profile cases of police brutality and murder.
In February of 2012, unarmed African American teenager Ramarley Graham was gunned down in his bathroom by NYPD officers claiming they saw a gun in the waistband of his pants. This case helped to mobilize thousands of New Yorkers to take to the streets more than a year ago to oppose the policy. The murder of Trayvon Martin just days after Ramarley&#8217;s death sparked a national discussion about the perils of racial profiling and the impact on young African-American men. All of this contributed to an atmosphere where stop-and-frisk could no longer go unchallenged.
According to a report by the Center for Constitutional Rights, between 2004 and 2012, more than 4 million people were stopped, and in less than 6 percent of those stops was an arrest made. More than 80 percent of those 4 million people were African American or Latino, raising the cry from those communities that stop-and-frisk was officially sanctioned racial profiling.
In her verdict Monday, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin concurred, zeroing in on the racial discrimination at the core of the stop-and-frisk policy. She wrote, “Blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white… Blacks are likely targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of objectively founded suspicion than whites…[and Blacks and Latinos] were more likely to be subjected to the use of force than whites, despite the fact that whites are more likely to be found with weapons or contraband.”
Yet even though the verdict left no question that the policy consisted of racially motivated stops, the judge did not halt the practice. Instead, she ruled that the NYPD will be subjected to federal oversight and must institute reforms such as using body cameras to monitor of officers&#8217; engagements with the general public.
Given the attitudes of the police department, city leaders and the federal government, these measures are likely to be insufficient. For one, neither New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg nor his Police Commissioner Ray Kelly can be trusted to reform a policy that they continue to champion. The overwhelming evidence of racial profiling at the heart of stop-and-frisk did not stop Bloomberg and Kelly from angrily denouncing the ruling and declaring the city’s intent to appeal the decision. In doing so, they continued to deny the problem.
Ray Kelly claimed that charges of racial profiling were “recklessly untrue.” Yet evidence at the trial suggested that he himself thought stop-and-frisk should target communities of color. New York state Sen. Eric Adams testified that he heard Kelly say that stop-and-frisk should “instill fear in them, every time they leave their home, [that] they could be stopped by the police.” According to Adams, the “them” were Blacks and Latinos.
Kelly’s dismissal also ignores an avalanche of evidence from police themselves that race was a central factor. A high-ranking officer implied during the trial that stop-and-frisk tactics were directed at young Black and Latino men, testifying, “Well, who is doing those shootings? Well, it’s young men of color in their late teens, early 20s.”
To be sure, Judge Scheindlin has required that a federal monitor be charged with overseeing the NYPD’s compliance with her order, but why would the federal government be trusted to vigorously regulate and monitor the practices of the NYPD? Last July, Obama shocked many activists when he lavishly praised Ray Kelly as a potential head of Homeland Security. Obama’s fawning descriptions of Ray Kelly as “outstanding” and “very well qualified” raise questions about the ability or willingness of the Department of Justice to rein in the NYPD’s racist practices.
But there is a larger problem. Much of police work in the United States is based on racial profiling, whether police departments refer to it as a policy or whether it is simply everyday practice. For example, when the New York Post and New York Daily News quote hysterical claims that New York City will turn into Chicago without stop-and-frisk, they are ignoring that the Chicago Police Department already engages in stop-and-frisk tactics. In Chicago the police refer to them as “Investigatory Street Stops,” during which the police may stop any individual they believe “is committing, is about to commit, or has committed a crime.”
This policy also allows the police to enter the personal data of whomever they have stopped into a database for up to one year regardless of whether or not the person stopped committed a crime or was a arrested. As Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy put it, “Stop-and-frisk is a tactic that every department in the country uses because we have to stop people when we’re going to arrest them. We have to frisk them if we’re in fear of a weapon.” But in Chicago, just as in New York, the pretext for stops are just as vague and open-ended.
As cities have becoming increasingly inhospitable to poor and working class Black and Latino communities, the police have been used to reinforce the boundary between distressed neighborhoods and the gentrified and economically vibrant areas where they are perceived not to belong. It was no coincidence that Judge Scheindlin commented in her ruling that one of the effects of stop-and-frisk to make Blacks and Latinos “feel unwelcome in some parts of the city.”
In many of these economically marginalized communities, public officials have come to rely on aggressive policing as the only public policy response to the social crises that have erupted as a result of chronic unemployment and growing poverty. Meanwhile, the mass closing of public schools, public clinics and hospitals, along with a range of other budget cuts that have reduced the public sector to a hollow shadow of itself, are undoing the very public programs that were intended to mitigate or undo the effects of poverty and, presumably, the crime that often comes along with it. Instead, in cities like Chicago, more policing has become the alternative. Despite falling crime statistics across the nation, police forces have become more militarized and aggressive and “proactive policing”—a term Ray Kelly uses for stop-and-frisk—is a central component of this.
And because the communities disproportionately impacted by joblessness and poverty are communities of color, they are targeted by the police.  This targeting is evidenced, in part, by overwhelmingly disproportionate arrests and imprisonment for drug use.  Even though African Americans account for 12 percent of drug users, they account for 38 percent of drug arrests and account for 59 percent of persons serving time in state prison for drug offenses. 
We should applaud the court’s recognition that the NYPD’s policing targets Blacks and Latinos unfairly, but we should not be under the illusion that this insight (long obvious to the communities suffering from racialized policing) will somehow end the routine ways in which police target communities of color.
Source

A judge ruled Stop & Frisk to be unconstitutional & racist - but will the racial profiling practice stop?
August 17, 2013

A federal judge‘s ruling has finally affirmed what activists in New York City have been saying for years: The New York City Police Department (NYPD) policy of “stop-and-frisk” is legalized racial profiling and harassment. The long-awaited decision came in response to a lawsuit by eight plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk. But more fundamentally, it was the product of an activist movement that has for years highlighted the racist implications of this policy. The longstanding campaign to stop “stop-and-frisk” gained new momentum in the aftermath of high profile cases of police brutality and murder.

In February of 2012, unarmed African American teenager Ramarley Graham was gunned down in his bathroom by NYPD officers claiming they saw a gun in the waistband of his pants. This case helped to mobilize thousands of New Yorkers to take to the streets more than a year ago to oppose the policy. The murder of Trayvon Martin just days after Ramarley’s death sparked a national discussion about the perils of racial profiling and the impact on young African-American men. All of this contributed to an atmosphere where stop-and-frisk could no longer go unchallenged.

According to a report by the Center for Constitutional Rights, between 2004 and 2012, more than 4 million people were stopped, and in less than 6 percent of those stops was an arrest made. More than 80 percent of those 4 million people were African American or Latino, raising the cry from those communities that stop-and-frisk was officially sanctioned racial profiling.

In her verdict Monday, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin concurred, zeroing in on the racial discrimination at the core of the stop-and-frisk policy. She wrote, “Blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white… Blacks are likely targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of objectively founded suspicion than whites…[and Blacks and Latinos] were more likely to be subjected to the use of force than whites, despite the fact that whites are more likely to be found with weapons or contraband.”

Yet even though the verdict left no question that the policy consisted of racially motivated stops, the judge did not halt the practice. Instead, she ruled that the NYPD will be subjected to federal oversight and must institute reforms such as using body cameras to monitor of officers’ engagements with the general public.

Given the attitudes of the police department, city leaders and the federal government, these measures are likely to be insufficient. For one, neither New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg nor his Police Commissioner Ray Kelly can be trusted to reform a policy that they continue to champion. The overwhelming evidence of racial profiling at the heart of stop-and-frisk did not stop Bloomberg and Kelly from angrily denouncing the ruling and declaring the city’s intent to appeal the decision. In doing so, they continued to deny the problem.

Ray Kelly claimed that charges of racial profiling were “recklessly untrue.” Yet evidence at the trial suggested that he himself thought stop-and-frisk should target communities of color. New York state Sen. Eric Adams testified that he heard Kelly say that stop-and-frisk should “instill fear in them, every time they leave their home, [that] they could be stopped by the police.” According to Adams, the “them” were Blacks and Latinos.

Kelly’s dismissal also ignores an avalanche of evidence from police themselves that race was a central factor. A high-ranking officer implied during the trial that stop-and-frisk tactics were directed at young Black and Latino men, testifying, “Well, who is doing those shootings? Well, it’s young men of color in their late teens, early 20s.”

To be sure, Judge Scheindlin has required that a federal monitor be charged with overseeing the NYPD’s compliance with her order, but why would the federal government be trusted to vigorously regulate and monitor the practices of the NYPD? Last July, Obama shocked many activists when he lavishly praised Ray Kelly as a potential head of Homeland Security. Obama’s fawning descriptions of Ray Kelly as “outstanding” and “very well qualified” raise questions about the ability or willingness of the Department of Justice to rein in the NYPD’s racist practices.

But there is a larger problem. Much of police work in the United States is based on racial profiling, whether police departments refer to it as a policy or whether it is simply everyday practice. For example, when the New York Post and New York Daily News quote hysterical claims that New York City will turn into Chicago without stop-and-frisk, they are ignoring that the Chicago Police Department already engages in stop-and-frisk tactics. In Chicago the police refer to them as “Investigatory Street Stops,” during which the police may stop any individual they believe “is committing, is about to commit, or has committed a crime.”

This policy also allows the police to enter the personal data of whomever they have stopped into a database for up to one year regardless of whether or not the person stopped committed a crime or was a arrested. As Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy put it, “Stop-and-frisk is a tactic that every department in the country uses because we have to stop people when we’re going to arrest them. We have to frisk them if we’re in fear of a weapon.” But in Chicago, just as in New York, the pretext for stops are just as vague and open-ended.

As cities have becoming increasingly inhospitable to poor and working class Black and Latino communities, the police have been used to reinforce the boundary between distressed neighborhoods and the gentrified and economically vibrant areas where they are perceived not to belong. It was no coincidence that Judge Scheindlin commented in her ruling that one of the effects of stop-and-frisk to make Blacks and Latinos “feel unwelcome in some parts of the city.”

In many of these economically marginalized communities, public officials have come to rely on aggressive policing as the only public policy response to the social crises that have erupted as a result of chronic unemployment and growing poverty. Meanwhile, the mass closing of public schools, public clinics and hospitals, along with a range of other budget cuts that have reduced the public sector to a hollow shadow of itself, are undoing the very public programs that were intended to mitigate or undo the effects of poverty and, presumably, the crime that often comes along with it. Instead, in cities like Chicago, more policing has become the alternative. Despite falling crime statistics across the nation, police forces have become more militarized and aggressive and “proactive policing”—a term Ray Kelly uses for stop-and-frisk—is a central component of this.

And because the communities disproportionately impacted by joblessness and poverty are communities of color, they are targeted by the police.  This targeting is evidenced, in part, by overwhelmingly disproportionate arrests and imprisonment for drug use.  Even though African Americans account for 12 percent of drug users, they account for 38 percent of drug arrests and account for 59 percent of persons serving time in state prison for drug offenses. 

We should applaud the court’s recognition that the NYPD’s policing targets Blacks and Latinos unfairly, but we should not be under the illusion that this insight (long obvious to the communities suffering from racialized policing) will somehow end the routine ways in which police target communities of color.

Source

Judge rules NYPD Stop &amp; Frisk unconstitutional, appoints federal monitorAugust 12, 2013
A federal judge in New York City ruled today that the police department’s policy of stopping, frisking and questioning people on the street is unconstitutional. Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) tactic known as stop and frisk has violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment.
Scheindlin’s ruling said that NYPD employees have systematically stopped innocent people on the street. Scheindlin has also announced that an outside lawyer will be designated to oversee reforms aimed at making sure the police comply with the Constitution. The judge said that the city had adopted a policy of racial profiling, and that officers had deemed innocent behavior as suspicious too often.
The ruling is the conclusion of a two-month long federal trial on the city’s stop and frisk policy, which disproportionately impacts young Black and Latino men. The lawsuit, known as Floyd v. City of New York, was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Stop and frisk has become a hot-button issue in New York City, and is a major point of debate in the city’s mayoral race. The Bloomberg administration has overseen a rise in the number of stop and frisks to much criticism. 90 percent of those stopped and frisked are minorities, while nearly 9 out of ten of those stopped are innocent.
Source
This is also just a reminder that President Obama thinks Ray Kelly, the mastermind behind Stop &amp; Frisk &amp; NYPD commissioner, is &#8220;well-qualified&#8221; to run the Department of Homeland Security. 
Kelly had this to say about the NYPD &amp; the judge&#8217;s ruling today: &#8220;What I find most disturbing and offensive about this decision is the notion that the NYPD engages in racial profiling. That simply is recklessly untrue. We do not engage in racial profiling, it is prohibited by law, it is prohibited by our own regulations. We train our officers that they need reasonable suspicion to make a stop, and I can assure you that race is never a reason to conduct a stop. The NYPD is the most racially and ethnically diverse police department in the world.&#8221;
According to the NYCLU: 
In 2012, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 532,911 times.
473,644 were totally innocent (89 percent).
284,229 were black (55 percent).
165,140 were Latino (32 percent).
50,366 were white (10 percent).

Judge rules NYPD Stop & Frisk unconstitutional, appoints federal monitor
August 12, 2013

A federal judge in New York City ruled today that the police department’s policy of stopping, frisking and questioning people on the street is unconstitutional. Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) tactic known as stop and frisk has violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures and the Fourteenth Amendment.

Scheindlin’s ruling said that NYPD employees have systematically stopped innocent people on the street. Scheindlin has also announced that an outside lawyer will be designated to oversee reforms aimed at making sure the police comply with the Constitution. The judge said that the city had adopted a policy of racial profiling, and that officers had deemed innocent behavior as suspicious too often.

The ruling is the conclusion of a two-month long federal trial on the city’s stop and frisk policy, which disproportionately impacts young Black and Latino men. The lawsuit, known as Floyd v. City of New York, was brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Stop and frisk has become a hot-button issue in New York City, and is a major point of debate in the city’s mayoral race. The Bloomberg administration has overseen a rise in the number of stop and frisks to much criticism. 90 percent of those stopped and frisked are minorities, while nearly 9 out of ten of those stopped are innocent.

Source

This is also just a reminder that President Obama thinks Ray Kelly, the mastermind behind Stop & Frisk & NYPD commissioner, is “well-qualified” to run the Department of Homeland Security. 

Kelly had this to say about the NYPD & the judge’s ruling today: “What I find most disturbing and offensive about this decision is the notion that the NYPD engages in racial profiling. That simply is recklessly untrue. We do not engage in racial profiling, it is prohibited by law, it is prohibited by our own regulations. We train our officers that they need reasonable suspicion to make a stop, and I can assure you that race is never a reason to conduct a stop. The NYPD is the most racially and ethnically diverse police department in the world.”


According to the NYCLU

  • In 2012, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 532,911 times.
  • 473,644 were totally innocent (89 percent).
  • 284,229 were black (55 percent).
  • 165,140 were Latino (32 percent).
  • 50,366 were white (10 percent).