Can We Trust the Uber Rich like Michael Bloomberg on Gun Control?

michael-bloombergWas peeping Michael Bloomberg on the Today Show talking about all the money he’s set to lay out and the new tactics he set to deploy to enact what he describes as sensible gun control legislation.. He’s gearing up to launch NRA type organization that pushes for gun control. His goal is to have this organization be such that if politicians don’t follow its dictates they pay a hefty price at the ballot box. He intends to use the same political strong-arm bullying approach as the NRA..

Like most of the folks around me, I can’t stand the wanton violence that frequently visits our community. There are way too many guns in the hands of reckless folks who simply have no respect and do not value life… When you hear stories about little toddlers getting gunned down or students shooting up their schools, concluding that we have too many guns is not a hard one to establish..

With that being said, if there is one person who illustrated the danger we can all be in if unarmed is former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.. His Stop and Frisk policies via NYPD and sheer terror he allowed them to unleash on citizens was shuttering.. It was stunning to see that in the midst of tens of thousands of complaints, massive marches and court cases siding with those complaining, Bloomberg made no move to improve conditions or even back off. If anything he doubled down and said more police crackdowns were needed within the Black community.

It was in this political climate when he referred to NYPD as HIS private army that raised serious red flags and made me rethink my position on gun control. It was how he used that private army to ruthlessly crack down on protestors like he did on Occupy Wall Street or when he allowed NYPD to literally be rented out and deputized by the Wall Street bankers they opposed  that made me rethink things. Can we trust a guy who says he wants to keep people safe who did very little to stop the brutality of his NYPD private army?   Seeing how time and time again, private armies that are beholden to rich and powerful interests have played a key role in political repression has made it crystal clear the dangers that lay before us when tyrannical uber rich people who own private armies want you unarmed..(Fascism..)

In the words of Chuck D.. Can’t Truss It

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEKadgJYtMw

Where Was Bloomberg’s Private NYPD Army During the Westside Hwy Biker Chase?

Bikers chase SUVBy now many have seen the video of the altercation on the Westside Highway in NYC where enraged bikers chased down a man and his family driving an SUV after he ran over one of their comrades. It’s a scene out of a movie and for many its frightening.. In watching the six-minute video, a lot of questions are raised starting with ‘Where the hell was NYPD?’

This question is asked in the backdrop of knowing how intrusive and well-resourced NYPD is said to be. Here we have a department that is 40 thousand deep in personnel. We have department that has stopped and frisked NYC residents over 5 million times. In some neighborhoods it seems like police are stopping and frisking people darn near ever 3 minutes.

We have a police department that rivals the FBI and other federal law enforcement divisions in terms of its surveillance capabilities . They make no bones about spying on American-Muslims and their organizations, which has led many to accuse NYPD of being in violation of a number of laws and to say the least over the top in its practice.

We have a department that left no stone unturned when it came to surveilling, containing and in the end bashing on the Occupy Wall street Movement.  We saw the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg brag that NYPD was his private army that is unmatched by any police agency in the world..

It’s with that in mind that one needs to wonder how there were no police insight on one of the city’s most heavily traveled freeways? In the video we see a chase that lasts for 6 long minutes with no law enforcement in sight. One has to ask where are all the surveillance cameras that NYPD has been using to spy on citizens? They have cameras on the floors over every housing project but none on the Westside Highway which runs along the Hudson River? Isn’t that freeway of point on entry that should be watched in case of ‘terrorist’ attacks?

Domain Awareness System

NY’s Domain Awareness System

It was just last year that NYPD bragged to the world that they had teamed up with Microsoft to set up a top-tier all-seeing state of the art, Domain/ Domestic Awareness System that does everything from read license plates to face recognition. Over 3000 cameras have been placed in lower Manhattan alone.. You can read about that system HERE and HERE.

One would think if there was anytime that these domestic spying systems would’ve been used would’ve been over the weekend when close to 60 bikers held court on a freeway and chased down the SUV, especially if the reports of them blocking off freeway entrances are true..

Take a look at the video and ask where’s Bloomberg’s Private Army?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5ftcC2I0hc

Injured biker Edwin Mieses

Injured biker Edwin Mieses

With respect to the attack there are a number of conflicting reports.. The bikers are claiming the man in the SUV, Alexian Lien who is an executive at an internet company, bumped one of the bikers with his car. When the bikers went to help, Lien hit the gas and ran over several men including Edwin Mieses who was bent over his fallen friend helping him. Mieses had his spine severely injured and is now permanently paralyzed. His wife is calling for Lien to be arrested and charged.

The bikers are claiming that’s why they chased down Lien and his family. They didn’t want him to get away. They claim what took place was a road rage incident.

Biker chase SUVThe flip side to this story was the bikers had already been riding around swarming cars prior to getting on the freeway. Once on the freeway they had blocked off entrances and one of the drivers went and brake checked the SUV driven by Lien.  When the bike was hit from behind, bikers surrounded the vehicle and that’s when Lien whose 2-year-old daughter and wife were in the car with him hit the gas running over the bikers.

Lien was eventually caught when he exited in upper Manhattan. That’s when bikers smashed the window, dragged him out the car and beat him in front of his daughter and wife.

Eventually all that really happened will come out in the wash..Who was right and who was wrong will be sorted out. In the meantime all of us should be asking how a major freeway was shut down in the Big Apple for more than 6 minutes with a police agency notorious for conducting surveillance on everyone inspite of concerns and objections, was no where in sight?

This police agency conducts millions of stop and frisk where 90% of those detained are found to NOT be in violation of any law. Police commissioner Ray Kelly says he wants to increase Stop and Frisk, but a major incident like this jumps off and they are nowhere to be seen? Something ain’t right in Gotham

 

NYPD Attack CUNY Students Who Are Protesting General Petraeus

Police attack CUNY studentsNEW YORK, 17 September — Six students were arrested this evening in a brutal, unprovoked police attack on a peaceful protest by City University of New York students and faculty against CUNY’s appointment of former CIA chief ex-General David Petraeus. Students were punched, slammed against vehicles and against the pavement by police captains and officers, after the NYPD forced them off the pavement and into the street. The demonstration was called by the Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY.

The arrested students are presently being held and are to be arraigned this Wednesday, September 18, at some point between 9:00 a.m. and the afternoon at the Arraignment Court in the Manhattan Criminal Court at 100 Centre Street. All defenders of students’ basic right to protest are urged to come to the arraignment and show their support.

“As students were chanting ‘War Criminal Petraeus Out of CUNY Now,’ I was shocked to see several police officers grab and brutalize one of the demonstrators,” said City College student Yexenia Vanegas. “This was completely unprovoked, as demonstrators made clear that they were there to defend our university in a peaceful protest.” The attack occurred in front of CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, where Petraeus has been appointed to teach a class on public policy.

“Protesters were marching in a circle on the sidewalk and chanting, but the police forced them into the street and then charged. One of the most brutal things I saw was that five police officers slammed a Queens College student face down to the pavement across the street from Macaulay, put their knees on his back, and he was then repeatedly kneed in the back,” said Hunter student Michael Brian. The student was one of those pointed out by “white shirt” officers, then seized and brutalized. A Latina woman student was heaved through the air and slammed to the ground.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cisT-Fl1Sw

A broad range of CUNY students, faculty and staff members have been carrying out a campaign of “protest and exposure” against the Board of Trustees’ appointment of Petraeus, whose documented actions as Iraq/Afghanistan war commander and CIA chief include drone attacks upon civilians, and the creation of torture centers and death squads. When Petraeus was setting up special police commandos, the “dirty tactics” that were used included the use of white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, against the population in Fallujah. “Petraeus’ man” Col. James Steele, who organized death squads in Central America, had been brought to the area to organize death squads there.

With the NYPD being sent to brutalize and arrest CUNY students on behalf of a certified war criminal, organizers state that this blatant use of police brutality against peaceful protesters will not intimidate or deter those who expose the truth about the actions of David “Death Squad” Petraeus and oppose attempts to turn the City University into “a war college.”

For more info contact Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY adhoccunycommittee@gmail.com

written by Denise C. Ford

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPtn5–IVDo

Serious Concerns Arise Over Nationwide Slew of Police Shooting & Brutality Incidents

women shot in Times square

One of the women who was an innocent bystander shot by police in Times Square this past weekend

Over the weekend there was a wave of police violence directed at citizens all over the country with devastating and fatal results. From New York City to North Carolina to Texas, innocent people found themselves on the receiving end of police brutality and as a result lots of questions are being raised.

There is tendency when looking at police violence to isolate each incident and treat them as an aberration when in fact they are long-standing and systemic. Case in point is New York City where we find the NYPD who has been praised for receiving state of the art, top shelf training that is model for other agencies all over the world to emulate. Well over the weekend, two women who were innocent bystanders in heavily populated, tourist laden Times Square were shot by  officers in what was described as an over reaction to a chaotic scene.

Apparently a man who was high on something was running in between cars and got hit 3 times. Police who routinely patrol times square and are more often than not heavily armed, were called to the scene where the surrounded the man then gave chase. At one point more than a dozen officers were involved in the pursuit. The man was surrounded  and according to police, he pulled his hands from his pocket and pointed his fingers like he had a gun..Officers panicked and shot 3 times, missing him and hitting two women standing nearby..People could be heard in the back ground of the video shouting to police ‘don’t shoot no more.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsDe7IJDc7s

Now on the surface some might say; ‘well this is just an unfortunate accident, we should all be understanding and note that police officers are under stressful conditions and need more training’. That may be true, but unfortunately one would think such training would’ve taken place last year after two questionable shootings that took place in August 2012.

One of these shootings occurred near the Empire State building which is also heavily populated. In that incident NYPD officers were pursuing Jeffrey Johnson who had shot and killed a former coworker Steve Ercolino at the height of morning rush hour. Police who were supposed to be trained to deal with terrorist situations which they thought this shooting was, came on the scene and shot 16 rounds when Johnson aimed his gun at them. Johnson was killed instantly, but the 9 other innocent bystanders were shot by the two officers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQQuSppItYE

At the time of the Empire State shooting an enraged public questioned the training of NYPD officers because just two weeks prior there was a feeling that police over reacted when they shot a man who they confronted for smoking weed. In that incident the man pulled out a knife as officers gave chase. The man was surrounded in the middle of the street near Times Square and shot 12 times. Many felt the police overreacted and that they could’ve subdued the suspect in other ways. They also felt the lives of innocent people were potentially put in jeopardy with them firing shots in such a crowded area.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3_p4s57nnc

SeanBellsign-225Are these ‘over reactions‘ isolated incidents? Not when you take into account that NYPD’s history with other high profile situations. One of the most notable took place in November 2006 when undercover officers shot and killed an unarmed Sean Bell outside a strip club in Queens, NY.

According to the reports, undercover cops feared that Bell and his friends had a gun and was going to shoot up the establishment. They approached the group as they were driving away but never identified themselves as officers. Fearing they were being robbed Bell tried to drive off at which point officers fired 50 rounds  into the car, killing Bell and hitting one of his friends 19 times. It was later discovered that one officer shot 31 times stopping to reload his weapon twice.

Another high-profile incident occurres  in February 1999, when plain clothes NYPD  officers in the Bronx approached Amadou Diallo, a 23 year old African immigrant as he stood on the staircase to his home. Diallo had no criminal record but according to the police fit the description of a rape suspect. As police approached they saw what they thought was a gun and shot Diallo 41 times. That ‘gun’ wound up being a wallet. It was later discovered one of the officers, Kenneth Boss who shot Diallo had previously shot an unarmed man named Patrick Bailey..

Nationwide protests erupted over the Diallo and Bell incidents.. The police in both cases were acquitted, but promises to better train officers were put forth as solutions. Obviously with these most recent incidents of innocent bystanders being shot, one wonders how much training was given and how effective was it.

LAPD shoots Blue TruckIt’s hard not to look at this excessive gun play with NYPD and not look at similar incidents around the country. One that immediately comes to mind, took place earlier this year in April when plain clothes LAPD officers were assigned to protect the home of a high-ranking police official from rogue cop Christopher Dorner who threatened to kill him.

In the early morning hours two women driving a light blue pick up truck were fired upon more than 100 times by six officers feared the two petite Latina women Margie Carranza and her 71-year-old mother Emma Hernandez who were delivering newspapers was the 6′ 4″ Christopher Dorner.

The women had no idea they had no idea they were in harm’s way. Officers who were looking for a dark grey truck, gave no warning when they opened fire on the women. Luckily they survived. To this day the names of the officers who shot the pair have not been revealed. As was the cases in NY, LAPD deemed this an ‘accident’ and the solution to this would be ‘more training’.

Danroy Henry

Danroy Henry

Another  incident in this long sordid list of overacting police occurred in 2010 in when the life Danroy DJ Henry was lost. The star football player who played for Pace University in Westchester County, New York was an innocent bystander who drove to a bar in nearby Pleasantville just as a fight was unfolding inside.

An agitated police officer, who was on the scene named Aaron Hess banged on Henry’s car and demanded he move the vehicle. Henry unaware of what was going on drove away as instructed at which point the officer fired into the windshield killing Henry. He claimed Henry had tried to run him over. It was a claim vehemently refuted by his friends and witnesses who were besides themselves as he lay on the ground bleeding and they were preventing from helping him. You can read about that HERE.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_gksc2dreI

Kenneth Chamberlain jr holding a picture of his father

Kenneth Chamberlain jr holding a picture of his father

The case of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr a 68-year-old former Marine and a 20 year department of corrections officer was shot and killed by fellow officers in November 2011 inside his White Plains, NY Home. Chamberlain wore a Life Alert bracelet which accidentally went off. Police arrived and Chamberlain explained he did not call them nor did he have a medical emergency. Police refused to leave and kicked down the door. They shot Chamberlain claiming he tried to kill them with a butcher knife.

It was later discovered the officer who shot him Anthony Carelli had a violent past of racially charge incidents including beating two Arab men inside a precinct calling them ‘ragheads‘. His partner Steven Hart also had an unsavory past and had called Chamberlain a ‘nigger’. This incident raised the question about what type of people are being allowed on police forces and what type of training are they getting and how effective are they? You can read about that HERE.

These incidents are not limited to civilians. Chamberlain was a former corrections officer. Earlier this year an office duty San Francisco cop Lorenzo Adamson, was driving around his neighborhood, the predominantly Black Bayview District, when 3 white officers stopped him and asked if he was on parole. The 15 year veteran and former football player reacted to the harsh questioning and told the officers “That’s not the question you should ask.. You should ask for my driver’s license, my registration, my insurance.”.

The white officers took exception to Adamson’s response and words were exchange. Adamson was asked to get out of his car at which point officers put him in choke hold and charged him with resisting arrest. It was during the arrest that they discovered Adamson was a fellow police officer. You can read about that HERE.

Jonathan Ferell

Jonathan Ferell

That’s a bit of history that leaves lots of questions to be answered. With respect to the array of incidents that took place over the weekend, we have the tragedy that took place in the wee hours of the morning in Charlotte, North Carolina. A 24-year-old college football player named Jonathan Ferrell got into a serious car accident. He survived the crash and crawled out of the back window of that car and went to a nearby home seeking help. A woman answered the door thinking it was her husband..Saw Ferrell, slammed it shut, hit her panic button and called police.

According to police who had quickly arrived on the scene, the unarmed former football player charged at them..Officer Randall Kerrick  shot and killed him..He was charged with voluntary manslaughter as it was determined that Ferrell was most likely running toward police seeking help not charging them  to attack, as they initially suggested.

This tragic incident raises the question as to why was there this over reaction by police? What were they seeing in Jonathan? A menacing criminal or a victim of an accident? What was informing their perception? Why did Officer Kerrick shoot when he had two other officers alongside him? Couldn’t three officers handle one unarmed man if Kerrick was out of control as suggested? Couldn’t the three officer size things up and see someone in need of help vs being someone who needed to be shot?

While questions are being raised about the conduct of the officers, one might also ask what was communicated to the 9-11 operator by the woman who Ferrell sought help from. Did she express fear for her life? According to reports Ferell knocked on her door after she slammed it shut on him.. Did he cry out for help and explain he had been in an accident? Did the woman hear that and not belief him?

Glenda Moore and her Husband Damion

Glenda Moore and her Husband Damion

It’s hard not to see Jonathan Ferell seeking help and being denied and not think of the tragedy that took place during Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island. During the November 2012 storm as flood waters rose a panicked  Glenda Moore sought refuge. She knocked on the door of 63-year-old George Calve who refused to help her, thinking Moore was a man trying to rob him.

Moore went to other homes banging on doors, neighbors refused to help, as her two kids Brendon 2 and Connor 4 who she held were swept from her arms and drowned. You can read that HERE.

In the case of Moore there wasn’t police brutality involved but there was, fear, distrust and suspicion. Fear of someone Black who is out to rob or do harm. One might ask what was fueling these fears? TV? Fear mongering politicians? Over zealous police? Real life scenarios? Whatever the case,  the end result were two people in dire need of help not getting it. Couple that fear and suspicion with police who are already on edge who see Blacks as criminals vs contributing citizens and you wind up with harsh overreactions resulting in fatalities.

Over this past weekend, in Harris County just outside of Houston a man was followed home by a deputy with a reputation for beating people. The man he followed was not evading the officer, but was eventually stopped and then roughed up by Officer Drummond.. The family approached after the man’s ribs were broken. The officer than beat down the father and beat up the mother.. None were armed, high or drunk.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9ne7e-PAm4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9ne7e-PAm4

In Tallahassee, Florida a white woman named Christina West was arrested for DUI.. She is shown in the video complying with police orders, although its clear she is intoxicated.. Police without provocation drag her from the back of their squad car and beat her to a pulp.. All the while they are laughing.. You can see that here..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/tallahassee-police-brutality-christina-west-dui_n_3901770.html

The incidents described are occurring with alarming frequency so much so that not only do we need to question training  and procedure, but we are at a point now where we can not and should not discount the possibility that there are organized gangs of rouge officers within these departments who are acting with impunity..The expulsion of seven officers in the LA sheriff department earlier this years who called themselves ‘Jump Out Boys‘ and were known to brag about brutalizing Black and Brown people may just be the tip of the iceberg.. Read about that HERE.

It’s hard to say if there is a simple solution to this onslaught of police brutality sure what the simple solution is but at this point in time hearings b4 Congress need to be pushed while simultaneously we develop ways to safeguard ourselves. Cameras are good, but they are not making a difference in terms of prosecutions and convictions.. That means we need to find new DAs or new systems that bypass the normal scenarios where those wearing badges who violate the laws are aggressively prosecuted

 

A Nationwide Response to Stop and Frisk.. Remix of 10 Frisk Commandments

Elon James White

Elon James White

Last year during the Netroots convention in Providence, Rhode Island, activist, comedian radio host Elon James White had grown weary of the Stop and Frisk practice that was being disproportionately being applied by NYPD to Black and Brown folks in New York City. He was acutely aware of it in his Brooklyn neighborhood which has been undergoing a lot of gentrification and noted that his Bed-Stuy neighborhood was suddenly playing host to swarms of police who were never present when he was growing up, but suddenly seemed to be there to ‘protect and serve’ the new more affluent residents who were moving in..

Elon decided to put his activism to work by doing more than speaking out and raising awareness via his radio show. He teamed up with Pittsburgh rapper/ activist Jasiri X who was growing weary of similar practices in his Pittsburgh neighborhood which had resulted in some high-profile cases of innocent people being severely beaten by police. One such case was that of Jordan Miles, an honor student and master violinist who performed for the First Lady Michele Obama. 

Jordan Miles is a 18 year old violinist who played for First Lady Michele Obama

Jordan Miles is a 18 year old violinist who played for First Lady Michele Obama

The 3 undercover cops dubbed the Jump Out Boys spotted Miles en route to his grandmother’s house. They saw Miles jumped out and demanded to know where his drugs and money was at. Fearing he was about to be robbed, because the cops never identified themselves, he ran.. The cops all martial arts experts, tackled him and beat him so bad that his mother didn’t recognize him. His flowing dreadlocks were pulled out on the left side of his head and Miles was left traumatized. In spite large protests and rallies, the cops were let off the hook with the police chief telling Jordan he should never run from police. The family is suing the department.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONPo-wslB40

Jasiri X Know thyself

Jasiri X

Incidents like these helped inform Jasiri X who was tapped by Elon to do a remake of a popular song done by the late Notorious BIG called 10 Crack Commandments. Elon wanted to see a song called the 10 Frisk Commandments. The purpose was to both raise awareness as well as give solid instructions to folks as to what to do if they encountered police during Stop-N-Frisk. The end result was this masterpiece of a song shown with a compelling video that Elon shot which is featured below..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhHYN7uw3AM

Kimani Grey

Kimani Grey

In recent weeks Stop and Frisk has been in the headlines with the recent shooting death of Brooklyn resident Kamani Gray which touched off 3 days of unrest. Gray was accused of running when plain clothes approached him to stop and Frisk.  Police say Gray had a gun. Witnesses say he did not.. The shooting brought Stop and Frisk to the forefront of conversation.. Not too long after New York City acknowledged it had stopped over 5 million people with over 90% of them being Black or Brown with less than 10% found to be in violation of any law..

Raymond Kelly NYPD

Raymond Kelly NYPD

Stop and Frisk also wound up being put on trial where it was discovered through a number of police officers testifying that they had been ordered to meet quotas and to target particular types of people. This outraged Black and Brown New Yorkers.. Instead of trying to reduce tensions and make corrections.. NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly doubled down and said that Black people commit 70% of crimes and thus they need to be stopped and frisked even more. The judge presiding over the trial expressed grave concerns about the practice and the fact that so many innocent people have been stopped some with fatal consequence.

The case of Ramarley Graham of the Bronx is one glaring example. The cops responsible for killing an unarmed Graham who did not run and was shot and killed in front of mother and his 6 year old brother were just let off..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJQ6n9ry-Jg

With all this swirling around Elon decided to involves scores of people from around the country to do a remix of the 10 Frisk Commandments. We sat down with Elon and he explained that this is not just a New York problem. It takes on different names in other parts of the country including ‘Driving While Black‘, ‘Walking while Black‘ etc.. he felt it was important to connect the dots and look at some of the underlying causes behind this practice.. During our Hard Knock Radio interview, Elon talked at length about gentrification and what that has meant for Black and Brown Brooklyn residents like himself. He also gives a full break down of what went into the remix of 10 Frisk Commandments

You can listen to the full interview here

Hard Knock Radio logo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvadcGfYnz0&feature=youtu.be

10 Outrageous Tactics the Police Are Using and getting Away With

This is a recent article by John Knefel that first appeared in Alternet... It’s called 10 Outrageous Tactics Cops Get Away With. This will probably be one of the most sobering and important pieces you read all year.. I hope folks will take heed and truly understand whats happening right now.. There’s been a serious power grab right before us and very little push back, because folks are distracted or feel it won’t happen to them. many others have grown cynical and see the possibility of change as useless.. Whats useless is believing you can’t change things.. The first step in that is awareness followed by action.. That actions takes many forms.. It ranges from organizing and advocating to voting to harsh refusals to allow business to go on as usual..

As you are reading the article, below you may want to listen to this speech given in August 2008 by former political prisoner and Black Panther Dhoruba Bin Wahad, where he talks about the rise of the police state..

Below is the article explaining whats going on..

-Davey D-

Oaklandpolice-225Talk to someone who has never dealt with the cops about police behaving badly, and he or she will inevitably say, “But they can’t do that! Can they?” The question of what the cops can or can’t do is natural enough for someone who never deals with cops, especially if their inexperience is due to class and/or race privilege. But a public defender would describe that question as naïve. In short, the cops can do almost anything they want, and often the most maddening tactics are actually completely legal.

There are many reasons for this, but three historical developments stand out: the war on drugs provided the template for social control based on race; 9/11 gave federal and local officials the opportunity to ensnare Muslims (and activists) in the ever-increasing surveillance and incarceration state; and a lack of concern from the public at large means these tactics can be applied, often controversy-free, to anyone who resists them.

What follows are 10 of the innumerable tactics the police can use against a population often incapable of constraining their behavior
Police spy1. Infiltration, informants and monitoring. The NYPD’s Demographics Unit has engaged in a massive surveillance program directed at Muslims throughout the entire Northeast region, ignoring any jurisdictional limitations and acting as a secret police and intelligence gathering agency – a regional FBI of sorts. The AP’s award-winning reports [3] on the Demographics Unit helped bring some information about the program to light, including the revelation that its efforts have resulted in exactly zero terrorism leads. [4]

Although a lawsuit from 1971, the Handschu case, [4] “resulted in federal guidelines that prohibit the NYPD from collecting information about political speech unless it is related to potential terrorism,” legal experts worry that privacy rights have been so diminished that Muslims who are spied on may not be able to seek recourse. The AP quoted [5] Donna Lieberman in November 2011, who said, “It’s really not clear that people can do anything if they’ve been subjected to unlawful surveillance anymore.”

Muslims are not the only group that has been targeted. The AP reported [6] that the NYPD has also infiltrated liberal groups and protest organizers. Other cases of entrapment of activists, such as the NATO 5 [7] and the Cleveland 5, are also troubling. [8]

2. Warrantless home surveillance. Just in case you still think there must be some limit on how the authorities can surveil you, there’s this — a federal agency, not the police, but the larger point stands. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that it is legal for a law enforcement agent [9] to enter your house and videotape you without your consent. The case, United States v. Wahchumwah, revolved around a U.S. Fish and Wildlife undercover agent who recorded Wahchumwah without a warrant. The Ninth Circuit found the search to be “voluntary,” which led the EFF to write on its Web site: “The sad truth is that as technology continues to advance, surveillance becomes ‘voluntary’ only by virtue of the fact we live in a modern society where technology is becoming cheaper, easier and more invasive.”

The Ninth Circuit isn’t the only one who thinks warrantless video surveillance is perfectly OK. [10]

“CNET has learned that U.S. District Judge William Griesbach [11] ruled that it was reasonable for Drug Enforcement Administration agents to enter rural property without permission — and without a warrant — to install multiple ‘covert digital surveillance cameras’ in hopes of uncovering evidence that 30 to 40 marijuana plants were being grown.”

During the Bush years, Congress had to grant retroactive immunity to giant telecoms that engaged in warrantless wiretapping. It seems, the judicial branch wants to save Congress the trouble.

riot-police_9-2-083. Preemptive visits and harassment. One of the favorite tactics of police departments is targeting activists a day before a large event. We saw this on May Day in New York City, as cops descended on several activists’ apartments before the day of action, [12] and in Chicago before the massive No NATO protests. [13] The Cleveland 5 were also arrested before May Day, and back in 2008 the RNC8 were also preemptively arrested. [7]

4. Creating call logs from stolen phones. If you lose your phone in NYC and report it to the police, they’ll help you find it. So far, so good. Where the agreement turns pear-shaped, however, is what they do with your call logs. The NYPD subpoenas your call log from the day it was stolen onward, under the logic that the records could help find your phone.

But — and here’s the kicker — they get info for the calls you made on the day it was swiped, and possibly even info from your new cell phone if you keep your number. The information is added to a database called the Enterprise Case Management System, and the numbers are hyperlinked for cross-referencing. The call logs, all obtained without a court order and often without the victim’s permission or knowledge, could “conceivably be used for any investigative purpose,” according to the New York Times. [14]

5. Consent searches. Sometimes a cop gives you a command, but phrases it as a question, like, “Would you open your bag so I can look inside?” If you’re anything like the vast majority of people in the United States, you have no idea that you’re under no lawful obligation to answer in the affirmative. You can, legally speaking, ask if you are being detained, and if the answer is no, you are free to walk away. Or at the very least, not open your bag.

Cops are aware that they can intimidate someone they decide to search, and once they obtain “consent” – e.g. “Yes, man with a gun who is towering over me, you can look in my bag” – any evidence of criminality they find can be used in court. This method of searching people was developed, like several other tactics on this list, during the early 1980s when the Reagan administration ramped up the so-called war on drugs.

Many critics argue that the very idea of a “consensual” interaction between police and the public is impossible, if the police initiate contact. As Justin Peters writes [15], “[Police] know the average person doesn’t feel they’re in a position to decline a conversation with a cop.” A common tactic [16] is for officers to say they’ll let someone off with a warning, then proceed to ask a bunch of questions, even though the person is technically free to go.

Police-stopandfrisk-blue6. Stop and frisk. You’ve probably heard about stop and frisk by now, but for years this odious tactic – and close cousin to consent searches – went woefully underreported in establishment media. The NYCLU released staggering statistics for the year 2011 detailing the massive size of the program in New York City. One particularly memorable figure was that the NYPD stopped more young men of color than there are men of color in NYC. [17] (More information at stopmassincarceration.org [18].)
7. Pretext stops (Operation Pipeline). The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that cops are free to use minor traffic violations as a pretext to pull over people they suspect of committing drug crimes. Once pulled over, the police obtain “consent” – “Would you get out of the car and empty your pockets?” – and can go on fishing expeditions.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ohio v. Robinette, “The Court made clear to all lower courts that, from now on, the Fourth Amendment should place no meaningful constraints on the police in the War on Drugs,” writes Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow. The Court determined [19] that cops don’t have to tell motorists they’re free to leave before getting “permission” to search their car.

In the mid-1980s, the DEA rolled out Operation Pipeline, a federal program that trained city cops in the shady art of leveraging pretext stops into consent searches. The discretionary nature of many of these searches resulted in massive amounts of racial profiling, so much so that some officials say [20] “the reason racial profiling is a national problem is that it was initiated, and in many ways encouraged, by the federal government’s war on drugs.”

8. Police dogs. Don’t consent to cops searching your bag? If you’re in a car or an airport, police can bring in the dogs to smell your stuff, and if the dog responds, they have probable cause to search you without your consent. “The Supreme Court has ruled that walking a drug-sniffing dog around someone’s vehicle (or someone’s luggage) does not constitute a ‘search,’ and therefore does not trigger Fourth Amendment scrutiny,” Michelle Alexander writes.

But if a dog barks or sits, shouldn’t we be comfortable with that triggering probable cause? Radley Balko has reported on the phenomenon of drug dogs giving false positives after reading cues from their handlers [16]:

The problem isn’t that the dogs aren’t capable of picking up the scent; it’s that dogs have been bred to please and interact with humans. A dog can easily be manipulated to alert whenever needed. But even with conscientious cops, a dog without the proper training may pick up on its handler’s body language and alert whenever it detects its handler is suspicious.

This is called the “Clever Hans effect,” [21] named after the horse who could do arithmetic by tapping his hoof. In reality, the horse could recognize the shift in his owner’s body language when he had arrived at the right number.

Drones police 9. Surveillance drones. The drones are coming, and the few illusions of privacy we cling to will soon disappear. The domestic market for drones in the next decade is estimated in the billions, [22] and police departments are chomping at the bit to implement this new technology. Drones already patrol the US-Mexico border, [23] and cities such as Seattle are moving toward using surveillance drones [24]. In August, a North Dakota court ruled [25] that the first-ever drone-assisted arrest was perfectly legal.

In our ever more authoritarian society, [26] expect politicians and the lobbyists who fund their campaigns to justify increased incursions into privacy in the name of security. The short-term incentives to value privacy have been all but forgotten, as “if you’re not doing anything wrong you’ve got nothing to fear” has gone from self-evidently absurd cliché to national motto.

10. Enlist the private sector. The comedian Chris Laker says of privatization: “You can’t privatize everything. Learned that from RoboCop.” But it seems police departments haven’t learned that lesson. In Arizona, police enlisted the help of the Corrections Corporation of America, a private, for-profit prison corporation, in a drug sweep of a public school. PRWatch reports: [27]

“To invite for-profit prison guards to conduct law enforcement actions in a high school is perhaps the most direct expression of the ‘schools-to-prison pipeline’ I’ve ever seen,” said Caroline Isaacs, program director of the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker social justice organization that advocates for criminal justice reform.

fuck-the-police-occupy-oakland-marchThe privatization of nearly all aspects of public life, from education to law enforcement, is a trend we should all find disturbing, not least of all when a company that profits from locking humans in cages is directly involved in the arrest process.

The larger point here is obvious. In the last decade, the Bill of Rights has been shredded at the federal level and the local level. There are few constraints on police, FBI, NSA, and private intelligence companies when it comes to surveillance of the public. That many of these programs and tactics are discretionary exacerbates and magnifies conscious and subconscious racist and classist attitudes among those who carry them out.

written by John Knefel of Alternet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKHsGh-y8d8

Rude or Polite, NY City’s Officers Leave Raw Feelings in Stops

Today’s NY Times has a good article on Stop-and Frisk that everyone should read… Here’s a brief excerpt..

The questions are probing, authoritative, but less accusatory. “What are you doing here?” “Do you live here?” “Can I see some identification, please?” During the pat-down, they ask, “Do you have anything on you?” They nudge further: “You don’t mind if I search you, do you?” They explain that someone of a matching description robbed a store a few days ago, or that the stop is a random one, part of a program in a high-crime area. Then they apologize for the stop and say the person is free to go.

In interviews with 100 people who said they had been stopped by the New York police in neighborhoods where the practice is most common, many said the experience left them feeling intruded upon and humiliated. And even when officers extended niceties, like “Have a nice night,” or called them “sir” and “ma’am,” people said they questioned whether the officer was being genuine.

You can peep rest of article HERE

LAPD Chief William H Parker

As your reading this keep in mind a few things about the history of police and controlling populations. During the 1950s in LA Police Chief William H Parker had a policy of suppression.  Under him, LAPD kept Black and Brown folks in sectioned off communities. Many African-Americans lived in what we now know as Watts.. Back in the days it was called the Duck Pond by police who would literally go hunting and make sure Black folks didn’t leave and enter other parts of the city..During that time LA had strict housing covenants that restricted Black and Brown folks from living in certain communities.

Aggressive harassment was routine and  was designed to ‘keep folks in their place’…Parker enhanced this harassment by recruiting officers from the deep south who had hostilities toward Blacks to be on the police force. These officers made it a point to humiliate adults in front  of their kids or on husbands in front of their wives…

Chief Parker who coined the term ‘Thin Blue line’ employed an even more sinister tactic..He made it a policy for officers to make sure they engaged as many young Black teens and pre-teens as possible. His philosophy was to establish a presence and dominance while they were still young and let them know who was boss.

There was study done in the 60s that showed that 90% of the juveniles arrested by LAPD were not charged. This was essentially Stop-N-Frisk decades before it showed up as police practice in NYC.

Parker’s harsh policies are what led to the explosion we now know as the Watts Riots.

Many were under the illusion that LAPD improved after those riots, but by the time the 1992 Rodney King uprisings took place, LAPD had replaced what they did under Parker with a new policy called Operation Hammer where they started keeping a gang data base. Chief Darryl Gates who replaced Parker used this resulting in 47% of Black males between the ages of 21-25 in Los Angles being deemed gang members thanks to the database.

Seems like Mayor Bloomberg & Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are heavily borrowing from the sordid legacies of LAPD Chiefs Chief William H Parker & Darryl Gates

With respect to NYC and the over 680 thousand people who have been stopped and frisk, things are headed off a cliff. It was just two weeks ago over 30 thousand people showed up and did a silent march down 5th avenue. One of the goals was to get a meeting with Mayor Bloomberg who has strongly supported Stop and Frisk. In spite of the dignified and solemn tone of the march, Bloomberg promptly refused to meet with organizers….Sounds like Chief Parker all over again both in terms of tactics being used and the dismissive response to complaints and concerns

I know one thing with all the police harassment going on in NY, visiting it does not seem too appealing anymore. Images of White shirted officers beating protestors or horrific stories of men cops randomly stopping  you is definitely not the lick. Maybe the goal for Bloomberg and police commissioner Raymond Kelly is to get Black and Brown folks who currently make up close to 90% of the stops, to ultimately leave the city.

Again we encourage everyone to peep today’s NY TImes article on Stop and Frisk

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/27/nyregion/new-york-police-leave-raw-feelings-in-stops.html?_r=1&smid=tw-share

Here’s a great song from Killer Mike that pretty much sums up whats going on in NY right about now..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_nVBo8T6yE

 

 

 

Carl Dix: Connecting NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Policy w/ Trayvon Martin Case (HKR Intv)

It’s always a pleasure chopping it up w/ freedom fighter Carl Dix.. He’s dedicated to the struggle and willing to walk the walk of the things he talks. In recent months Dix along with scholar/activist Cornel West have pushed back hard on the NYPD and their infamous Stop and Frisk policy. They even put the policy on trial with plans to follow-up with similar measures in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Last year over 680k people have been stopped and searched by police. Over 85% have been Black or Brown men with less than 5% convicted of carrying any weapon or committing crime. Dix noted that currently NYPD is on pace to stop and frisk over 800k. Dix noted the root cause of this disparity is racial profiling.

Currently Dix is down in Sanford, Florida on what is part of a BAsic Bus Tour through the South. Dix reaffirmed what M1 from dead prez had told us a few weeks back, that the spirit of resistance is alive and well and very strong in Sanford which is where the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman saga is unfolding.  This is a story often overlooked by the mainstream media..

During our conversation, Dix makes the connection between the Stop and Frisk policies in NY and the current climate of vigilantism that we saw play itself out in Sanford.. You can peep that interview below..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYPD’s New Policy; Clean Halls..Allows Police to Stop and Frisk in the Hallways of Your Home

I hate to bring up instances of police brutality and terrorism because at this point in time in a very perverse way, I think the police feel emboldened and get off on stories highlighting their exploits. They know word of these accounts instill fear and leave many feeling overwhelmed and completely powerless.

At the same time we are challenged to alert folks because many are still in the dark and do not see these onslaught of brutality reports as systemic. Many have brought into the notion that the police don’t act out without reason. Hence when we hear a story about an unarmed man being shot, or someone being brutalized, many of us have been conditioned to ask 1-What did the victim do to deserve the mistreatment? 2-Did the victim have a troubled past?

Sadly many of us have come to rationalize police brutality as something that’s deserved if you have some sort of criminal record or fall into a marginalized demographic that has been grossly stereotyped and demonized. We buy into the police favored narrative because it’s comforting and allows us to avoid facing the fact that a system we come to believe in is broken and increasingly becoming more and more repressive.

Many of us do not want to face the fact that some sort of coup has taken place in this country where corporate entities are calling the shots and making policy while police forces all over are enforcing these rules and protecting their interests. Some call it Fascism.. Some call it the emerging police state. Whatever you wanna call it, its real and in your face. The question we need to be answering is how are we gonna deal?

The latest incursion comes at the hands of NYPD. This was an outfit we all sympathized with after brave officers lost their lives during the 9-11 tragedies. We gave the NYPD lots of leeway to recover and strengthen their force and in doing so, we either looked the other way or played dumb when they pushed for more powers. Now NYPD has vast sweeping powers. The most notorious is their Stop-N-Frisk policy where the police can at random pull you over while your walking and start searching you for guns, or contraband. Last year they stopped and detained over 680 thousand people with less than 10% resulting in any sort of violation of the law. Over 85% of those stopped were Black and Brown men.

The Stop and-Frisk policy has drawn lots of criticism and even a few lawsuits, but that has not stopped NYPD who now are set to take this to a whole other level. Its called the Clean Halls policy.. This is a new law that allows the police to come into public or private buildings including your residence and search you.. Yep you read that correctly.. Below are excerpts from recent  Rollingstone Magazine article giving you all the info .. Please check it out

An amazing lawsuit was filed in New York last week. It seems Mike Bloomberg’s notorious “stop-and-frisk” policy – known colloquially in these parts by silently-cheering white voters as the “Let’s have cops feel up any nonwhite person caught walking in the wrong neighborhood” policy – isn’t even the most repressive search policy in the NYPD arsenal.

Bloomberg, that great crossover Republican, has long been celebrated by the Upper West Side bourgeoisie for his enlightened views on gay rights and the environment, but also targeted for criticism by civil rights activists because of stop-and-frisk, a program that led to a record 684,330 street searches just last year.

Now he’s under fire for a program he inherited, which goes by the darkly Bushian name of the “Clean Halls program.” In effect since 1991, it allows police to execute so-called “vertical patrols” by going up into private buildings and conducting stop-and-frisk searches in hallways – with the landlord’s permission.

According to the NYCLU, which filed the suit, “virtually every private apartment building [in the Bronx] is enrolled in the program,” and “in Manhattan alone, there are at least 3,895 Clean Halls Buildings.” Referring to the NYPD’s own data, the complaint says police conducted 240,000 “vertical patrols” in the year 2003 alone.

In addition to this, you may wanna check out the insightful interview we did with activist, freedom fighter Carl Dix about NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policies from a couple of months ago.. here’s the transcript from our radio interview on KPFA

http://mediaroots.org/mr-transcript-davey-d-carl-dix-resistance.php

Here’s a short excerpt of that interview

Carl Dix:  “We’ve been out in Harlem, talking about Stop and Frisk.  And before we did the first action what we would hear, often from the same person, is I hate Stop and Frisk. They did this to me. They did this to my son. They did this to—even sometimes—they did this to my sister, or my daughter.  You know, because they’re doing this to women as well.

“But then the next point is:  But you can’t do anything about it.  And that’s why we decided we have to do something about it.  And we launched this campaign to stop Stop and Frisk, which is a policy under which the police can just step to you, stop you, make you turn out your pockets, or search you themselves.  And then often bust you for nothing.”

Davey D (c. 29:00):  “Right.  I don’t think people really clearly understand here [in the S.F. Bay Area] ‘cos we don’t see it as much.  But in New York that is a huge problem that you could be walkin’ with a tuxedo on with your wife and kids and they pull you over and say, empty out your pockets, to make sure you don’t have a gun.”

Carl Dix (c. 29:46):  “Yeah.  And how big is it?  They stopped and frisked almost 700,00 people; it was 684-thousand-plus last year alone in New York City:  85% of them Black or Latino, more than 90% of them they let you go after they’ve harassed you and humiliated you, but then even some of that 10% that they don’t let go, some of them were doing nothing wrong because when we did the action in Queens, they held us overnight.  So, we were in there with a bunch of other people and people were telling us, Oh, they stopped me under Stop and Frisk. I didn’t have my driver’s licence. I didn’t have an ID, so they ran me in the prison.So, it’s like, did I wake up in Johannesburg, South Africa, 30 years ago when there were past laws?  Because what’s the crime in not having an ID?

Davey D (c. 30:39):  “Right.  And that’s why I ask the question because it is so massive.  We just had, you know, we did a show about a brother who was killed over Stop and Frisk.  He had a little bit of weed.  The cops came by.  He decided to walk, you know, into his building—I’m sure you remember this.”

Carl Dix (c. 31:01):  “Yeah.  I’ve seen the video of it.”

Davey D:  “He just walked into his building—he wasn’t under arrest or anything—they ran up into his apartment, kicked down the door, and shot him in front of his grandma.  There was no gun, no nothing.  But there was a couple of joints that he was trying to get rid of, but this becomes the justification that is often used.  Well, they should’ve just listened to the authorities.  Or, they shouldn’t run.  Or, you shouldn’t, if you don’t have anything to hide, then there won’t be any problem.  But it’s those types of encounters that we see over and over again where people are like, the police are here, they’re gonna find something. I don’t want to deal with this.  And oftentimes it’s a fatal situation.

“When you have these types of scenarios, Amadou Diallo, another victim of Stop and Frisk, all he had was a wallet, shot 41 times.  How did we go from the Panthers and Dr. King and Malcolm X to allowing ourselves—or did we allow ourselves?—to be in such a situation right now where it’s not even talked about in the mainstream, even amongst our pundits?  You know?

“I mean, you do it.  Cornel does it.  But if I tune on and I see our own folks sitting up there, they’re not really making this a front and centre issue.  You know?  They’ll talk about LeBron James and what team he’s gonna choose before they’re talking about the absurdity of 700,000 people being stopped in one year.”

Carl Dix (c. 32:24):  “Okay, two things.  The first thing is we’re acting to change that.  And tomorrow night, when I talk, I’m gonna talk about a proposal for a national day of resistance to mass incarceration.  That’s the first thing, but to get back to your question:  How did we go from the days of the Panthers to this kind of situation?

You can also see another interview we did on this topic where go more in depth HERE

http://livestre.am/1jw1Y

Police Brutality at Pete Rock Show…We Must Connect the Dots

The situation that took place the other night at Tammany Hall in Brooklyn where NYPD went wylding on innocent concert goers resulting in the arrest and brutal beating of 5 people, including the daughter of the co-headliner  Pete Rock should serve as a stark reminder just how such incidents are  all too common.

Those who attended this album release party described the event as peaceful. There were no problems inside and hardly anyone was aware that an army of police had amassed outside the venue. From the looks of things what took place  was a deliberate and a gross injustice…

When it comes to the issue of  police brutality many of us tend to focus on egregious scenarios where people are shot 50 times as was the case with Sean Bell in neighboring Queens, NY or shot at point blank range as was the case with Oscar Grant in Oakland, California. When these types of incidents occur we tend to rally the troops, hold loud demonstrations and demand justice as we should… After all, the police are on the taxpayer payroll and have been granted much power and authority. With that comes great responsibility. They are are there to serve and protect, not terrorize and oppress.

With that being said, all of us need to bear in mind that police terrorism goes beyond questionable shootings. Those  are just an accentuation of the day to day humiliation, harassment and beatings they put down on marginalized communities all over the globe.

Pete Rock

Many of us are weighing in and blogging about this unfortunate incident involving Pete Rock should ask themselves, would we have been speaking on this if this didn’t involve a Hip Hop star?  Even more importantly, if we heard about this incident and Pete wasn’t involved would we have brought into the ‘party line’ hawked by the police that these innocent concert goers somehow caused the beatings? Would we be saying to ourselves..’perhaps they weren’t so innocent?’

If we saw a video of a dread locked brother who wasn’t General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun explaining that the police were out of control, would we have dismissed it and said to ourselves  ‘That n– looks like a gang member or some sort of thug..He probably acted ill or  said something and deserved the beat down’?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCDrQZ0rbBw&feature=player_embedded

It’s important that we NOT see what took place at Tammany Hall as something that was isolated. The beatings that took place that night are no different then the ones handed out to innocent concert goers at a dead prez/ KRS-One Katrina benefit show in Los Angeles several years ago.

dead prez

Here police interrupted the show by flying helicopters and shining lights on the performers (the stage was in a courtyard inside the venue). They then ordered folks to leave the venue. Shocked concert goers were greeted by a gauntlet line of more than a hundred officers who provoked and intimidated folks as left the event…Their rationale for shutting down the event was the same one used by NYPD when they shut down the Pete Rock/Smif-N-Wessun party..3000 miles away and 6 years later-there was supposedly a ‘fight outside’ the venue…

We’ve all seen and heard these type of stories before, so much so,  that we can no longer say they are  mere coincidents. They’re deliberate. Maybe its some sort of police training excercise where young Black and Brown folks are fodder. Maybe its something more sinister, where the cops are letting off steam and literally going on some sort of hunting expedition.

Chief William H Parker

Say what you will, but we know one thing, back in the hey days of former police LA police Chief William H Parker and later Chief Darryl Gates, they had a two fold strategy. One was to militarize the police force and make them an efficient take no prisoners entity.

The second was to make sure every Black and Brown male who lived in the hood had contact with the police before they were 15 to make sure that it was clearly understood who was boss.  Parker had a strategy of recruiting police from the south who at that time harbored prejudice and ill feelings toward Blacks. He was known for calling Black people ‘nigras’ and had an even lower opinion of Brown folks. He was LA’s longest serving police chief.

Darryl Gates picked up where Parker left off and in many circles was considered  even worse in his assessment and subsequent action directed at Black and Brown communities..It was under Parker that the infamous Watts Riots of 1967 took place. It was under Gates that the Rodney King rebellion erupted.

Rudy Giuliani

Why do I bring all this up? Because the tactics used by LAPD with Parker and Gates as key architects were held up high and adopted by police departments all over the country and the world. Folks in NY got a taste of this adaptation, when Mayor Rudy Giuliani took office and directed his police to come down hard on any person who committed the smallest and most harmless of infractions. His theory was if you crack down on the little things it will prevent the big things from happening. For many this was seen as a good move designed to make NY one of the world’s safest big cities. For many in Black and Brown communities it was an absolute nightmare. Once Giuliani took office, it wasn’t too long ago that one found themselves getting hemmed up by NYPD even if you crossed against a red light or

It was under Giuliani that NYPD put together their notorious Street Crime Unit that consisted of undercover officers who would walk up to people, stop and frisk un them to make sure they didn’t have guns. Hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown folks were subjected to this tactic. It didn’t matter if you had on sagging pants and your hat turned backwards or was wearing a suit and tie. There was a strong likelihood you were gonna get stopped and frisked by aggressive police who were given the green light to knock heads and take names and numbers later…It was this same Street Crime Unit employing Giuliani’s tactics that led to a young unarmed 23 year old  African immigrant namedAmadou Diallobeing shot on the front porch of his house 41 times by cops who were supposedly ‘trying to protect and serve’.

The Diallo shooting led to the disbanding of the Street Crime Unit, but it didn’t stop the tactics Giuliani implemented which had been drawn praise and adopted all over the world by police forces who feltl that aggression and terror are the ways to prevent crime.. It’s important to keep in mind that years after Giuliani has been out of office, NYPD as recently  as 2007 have stopped and frisked as many as 500 thousand people in one year alone.

We seen this type of tactic adapted with disturbing results in places like Pittsburgh, PA, as exemplified in the sad case of 17 year old Pittsburgh honor student named Jordan Miles.

Jordan Miles is a 18 year old violinist who played for First Lady Michele Obama

In Januray of 2010, just months after performing for First lady Michele Obama, Miles was on his way home, when he was subjected to stop and frisk tactics adopted by undercover Pittsburgh police who call themselves the Jump Out Boys.. Jordan fearing he was about to be robbed ran when a car pulled up and 3 large men jumped out demanding he give them all his drugs.. Jordan was quickly tackled as the Jump Out Boys, all martial arts experts, not only beat him senseless, but tore out one third of his dread locks.. Miles who had never been in trouble with the law, was told by the Pittsburgh Police Chief that he shouldn’t have ran, even though the officers didn’t immediately identify themselves.

Again this is all too commonplace.. It’s my hope that as we talk about and demand justice for what went down the other night in Brooklyn with Pete Rock and his daughter that we also push for systemic change. It’s my hope that all of us who blog, or have access to the airwaves not limit our outrage to incidents involving celebrities and rap stars..For those of us who cover Hip Hop, its important we remember the fans and supporter of this culture who are routinely at the short of the stick of police brutality incidents.

The Pete Rock that I know would definitely want justice and resolution to what happened to his daughter and all the others brutalized by the police..now dubbed the Monumental 5..He would also want this tragedy to not be inflicted on anyone else.

Something to Ponder

Davey D

On a side note, it was not lost on me that this took place at Tammany Hall.. The history of Tammany Hall is a long and sordid one in New York City politics. It was a political machine for the Democratic party  which under ‘the Boss’ William Tweed routinely used violence to control elections back in the 1800s. It was also known for using a growing Irish Immigrant class to smash on Black folks.. Tammany Hall controlled NY politics up to the 1960s..

After seeing the attacks on African Americans the other night first thing that went through my mind was the violent history , but thats for another discussion at another time..