A rally on Tuesday increased the public pressure on Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD following a series of recent controversies over police tactics.
Occupy Wall Street protesters have issued a joint call with members of New York City's black, Latino and Muslim communities for New York City's police commissioner to resign.
A rally on Tuesday increased the public pressure on Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD following a series of recent controversies over the policing of Occupy protests, surveillance of Muslim communities and the use of stop-and-frisk powers.
The rally was inspired by Saturday's mass arrest of at least 73 Occupy protesters in lower Manhattan. Many Occupiers have described the evening as one of the most violent police crackdowns since the movement began in September.
Occupy's response to the weekend's events was to call on communities who have also expressed frustration with NYPD policies and tactics. A further rally and mass action is planned for Saturday.
Tuesday's event began with a silent march from Foley Square to the NYPD's headquarters at One Police Plaza.
Roughly 100 activists walked with their hands bound behind their backs in flex cuffs, many with tape over their mouths. At the front of the march demonstrators held a large banner that read "Kelly must resign." In a demonstration that was equal parts somber and emotional, activists denounced the department as violent and racially biased.
After arriving at NYPD headquarters, juvenile justice activist Chino Hardin told the rally: "Real community safety does not begin with NYPD. It begins with the community. You wanna know how to keep us safe? Ask us!" A convicted felon, Hardin now works with the Center for New Leadership, an organization run by formerly incarcerated individuals.
Hardin targeted the department's widespread use of stop, question and frisk tactics. The controversial searches have increased over 600% in the last 10 years. Commissioner Kelly and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg say the stops keep weapons off the streets and save the lives of young men of color.
Critics say the practice is an institutionalized violation of fourth amendment rights that yields marginal results while disproportionately impacting the very group the mayor and commissioner say it protects.
"Yeah, I'm angry," Hardin added. "I'm angry because every time I look around there's a black or Latino boy or girl being illegally searched. Every time I turn on the news you portray us to be animals."
Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, has been a vocal critic of the NYPD's recently-exposed practice of monitoring Muslim Americans based on religion. Sarsour called on Occupy Wall Street's supporters to, "stand up and say no. Stop spying and harassing and intimidating the Muslim community for being Muslim."
"I commit myself and our community to the Occupy Wall Street movement and look for your solidarity with our community," she said.
In the days that have followed Saturday's crackdown, an increasing number of allegations of serious police abuse have surfaced. Occupiers are quick to add, however, that their experiences pale in comparison to the lives of individuals living in low-income communities and and communities of color.
Addressing the crowd on Tuesday, Occupier Jennifer Waler, who was arrested on Saturday, said a police officer threatened to Tase her and take her to a psychiatric ward because she was singing in her jail cell.
"Yes, on Saturday the police were brutal," Waller said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg."
"In Harlem they beat and arrest people just for walking down the street. In the Bronx they shoot people point blank in their own bathroom," she added, referring to the police shooting of unarmed 19 year-old Ramarley Graham in February.
"The NYPD surveils, targets and entraps Muslim people, creating convoluted schemes to legitimize the war on terror through racist policing, and they never ever pay a price," she went on to say.
Occupier Jose Whelan, agreed that the issue of police violence extends beyond the treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters. On Saturday night, Whelan's arrest drew attention from around the country, as photos showed a massive crack in glass door that a police officer threw him into.
Whelan was arrested for disorderly conduct while standing on a public sidewalk in an incident witnessed by the Guardian. He was punched in the face multiple times. It came without warning, Whelan said.
"They just grabbed me and started punching me. Nothing like, 'You're under arrest.' Nothing like, 'Put your hands behind your back'."
Whelan sees the opposition to police violence described at Tuesday's event as an interconnected struggle that predates Occupy Wall Street by generations.
"The work we've been doing for a long time in Occupy is really trying to connect to the groups who've been doing it for a really long time. There's community organizations here that have been doing it for 30 years, tirelessly, in the communities that are much more strongly effected, that don't have a team of cameras and a team of jail support and a team of lawyers behind them when this stuff happens. And this stuff happens every single night in New York City.
Economic and Social Justice -
For many years the American Right -- and many of the most powerful elements of corporate and Wall Street elite -- have conducted a war on public employees.
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'Tis the season to give, the saying goes.
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A key dispute in the TPP negotiations is the patents on pharmaceutical drugs and medical procedures. Long patents inflate the profits of the pharmaceutical industry by not allowing less expensive generic drugs on the market. This means that people around the world will not be able to afford critical, often life-saving, drugs and medical procedures. It also means that countries like Japan, Australia and New Zealand that have national health care systems will see the cost of healthcare rise to a breaking point, undermining some of the best health systems...
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This piece is a follow-up to Linda's first post, "This Is Why Poor People's Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense":
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The Senate passed historic gay rights legislation Thursday to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace, another victory for the gay rights movement that has been gaining favor in the courts and electoral politics.
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After more than 200 advocates of the "Robin Hood tax" marched up Constitution Ave. here today to the Longworth House Office Building, lawmakers heard the vice president of the European Parliament, Ani Podimata, describe a solution for raising hundreds of billions of dollars a year - a tiny tax on financial speculation now being implemented across Europe.
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Funding extension for SNAP allowed to expire as lawmakers weigh further cuts to the program for families in need
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The massive blow to the program means that the roughly 47 million people with food stamp assistance—that's one in every seven Americans, 49 percent of whom are children—will have their monthly assistance gouged.
As Colorlines reports, "The total cuts will amount to about a five percent reduction...
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Research shows the much-maligned aid to the poor buys broad economic and public health gains.
In September, just two days after a Census Bureau report showed that food stamps helped keep 4 million Americans out of poverty last year, the US House of Representatives approved a $39 billion cut to the program (known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) over the next decade.
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The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is shifting the focus of the shutdown debate onto seniors in a new attack that hammers more than 60 House Republicans for "throw[ing] our seniors under the bus."
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In a rally on Thursday, Congress’s left flank linked arms against using safety-net programs as bargaining chips.
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I've worked at fast-food restaurants in North Carolina for the past 15 years. I've spent more hours at Church's Chicken, McDonald's and now Burger King than I can remember. I work hard – I never miss a…
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that they would treat legal same-sex marriages the same as heterosexual marriages for federal tax purposes.
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Only a fraction of eligible borrowers are using programs that will let them reduce their monthly student-loan payments. The White House wants to change that.
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PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Listen to guest Zachary Schechter-Steinberg, the Senior Economic Advisor for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, discuss the push for a Chained CPI regarding Social Security. Included is the conversation: how to put...
Listen to the call for updates on the Trans Pacific Partnership, Robin Hood Tax, Equal Rights Amendment, and other campaigns this team is working on. Also there are state reports and local actions.
Guest speaker, Trey Hawkins, Vice Presdient of Political Affairs at Credit Union National Association, Inc. (CUNA) speaks with us about the difference between banks and credit unions, as well as why and how US credit unions are coming under...
Discussion in relation to recommending the endorsement of the American Jobs Act of 2013, HR 2821, introduced by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D) (FL-24), what actions we will be taking to head off Fast Track of the Trans Pacific Partnership, plus,...
Guest speaker Justin Zorn, Legislative Director to Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-12). will discuss Rep. Wilson2019s American Jobs Act of 2013, H.R. 2821. As America approaches the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,...
Guest speaker Lacey Kohlmoos, Senior Field Organizer for Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, updates us on Fast Track and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), new developments and revelations regarding the talks on the TPP, plus ways in which...