By Jaisal Noor, The Real News Network
Jaisal Noor captures the impact our protests have had on public discourse in NY, along with efforts by the NYCLU, CCR, and other groups.  According to a recent poll 53% of New Yorkers oppose stop-and-frisk.  We are building momentum and we will keep fighting.  Includes interviews with activists Jose LaSalle, Jamel Mims, and Christina Gonzalez.
 
 
by Carl Dix

Another day, another trial of the Stop & Frisk Freedom Fighters.  This time in Brooklyn for the Nov 1, 2011, Stop & Frisk protest at the 73rd police precinct in Brownsville, the precinct that has the highest level of stops under that illegitimate, racist NYPD policy.  Even tho’ the judge had split us into 2 different cases and then severed Greg Allen from his group trial when he decided to defend himself, all 13 of us were in court together. 

We held a pretrial huddle before going into the court room.  I reminded people of why we were there—that we hadn’t committed any crimes, or even violations.  That we were acting to stop the criminal actions of the NYPD, in particular its illegitimate, racist Stop & Frisk policy.  And that this rested on a long tradition—the freedom riders and others who put their lives on the line to fight the old Jim Crow or the abolitionists of the 1850’s who fought pitch battles with slave chasers trying to drag Black people in the North to the South to enslave them.  This is the tradition we Stop & Frisk Freedom Fighters are standing on the shoulders of when we say, “We Won’t Stop Till We Stop ‘Stop & Frisk!’”

On that basis, we plotted some legal strategy and went into the court room.  Before either of the group trials went forward, the judge gave his verdict in Greg’s case.  He granted Greg’s motion to dismiss the charges because the prosecution hadn’t proven that he was guilty of disorderly conduct.

The remaining defendants all made motions calling on the judge to dismiss their cases because the facts in the cases were all the same, and if the state couldn’t prove that one of us was guilty of disorderly conduct, they shouldn’t be allowed to continue persecuting the rest of us.

The judge wouldn’t dismiss the other cases because he “expects that the prosecution will appeal” the dismissal in Greg’s case.  And he postponed our cases till Feb 7th and 14th (They’re keeping us split into 2 groups.) to give the prosecution time to make its appeal of his dismissal, and maybe to figure out how to retool their cases against the rest of us.

Not clear how this one will go from here.  It’s possible that between now and Feb, the judge will get the word that the powers that be who are doubling down on Stop & Frisk want him to keep this prosecution going.  Maybe another judge will be placed on this case.  And there are prosecutions of 9 more Stop & Frisk Freedom Fighters still pending in Queens.  Noche Diaz faces trials in Manhattan and the Bronx for observing while cops brutalized high school students and a Black motorist.  Christina Gonzalez faces a number of cases in damn near every boro but Staten Island for standing up to police abuse.

And over and above that, we need to go on the offensive against Stop & Frisk and Mass Incarceration overall.  I’ve been working on a proposal to really launch an effort to gather the stories of people who’ve been abused by the criminal injustice system, stories that bring to the light of day the way mass incarceration and all its consequences have devastated the lives of 10’s of millions of people across this country.

If you come out to Thursday night’s “Evening in Support of the Stop & Frisk Freedom Fighters …” we can get into this idea and other plans we have for going forward.

 
 
by Debra Sweet

Greg Allen, who defended himself pro se last month in Brooklyn on a charge of disorderly conduct, got his decision today.  The judge dismissed the charges after the prosecution phase, and will give a written opinion tomorrow.  This means he did not find the prosecution had made a case against Greg.  The judge also said he expects the prosecution to appeal.

Defense lawyers for the other 12 moved that their charges be dropped, since the facts of the cases are identical to Greg's, and everything is on NYPD's videotape. The judge agreed to let us see his decision before proceeding with trials, which will be on February 7 and February 14.  We presume that a trial for 3 of the defendants set for December 12 will also be moved back.

Congratulations to Greg!  This is something to really celebrate at the party tomorrow night.  Come out and help honor the new freedom fighters and Constance Graham, mother of Rahmarley, and Nicole Paultre Bell, widow of Sean Bell, for their leadership in the struggle against police murder and abuse.

End stop-and-frisk and STOP mass incarceration!

P.S.  I hear baked goods/desserts are still needed for tomorrow night.  Doors open 6:30 pm.  Write stopmassincarceration@gmail.com if you can help.
 
 
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Noche Diaz 2012
Originally posted on No War No Torture by Nancy Van Ness

Police can and do make errors and give orders that are not legal, sometimes accidentally like every other human being and sometimes on purpose. It is chilling that a judge, who is supposed to be impartial and not a tool of the police, would tell someone that he has to do what the police tell him.  The moment that we citizens allow the police to think for us, we live in a police state and when judges back that up, we are in real trouble.

It appears from the following incident in the Bronx court today that we are in real trouble. Below is a report from that court room today:

“Josh [Norkin, attorney for Noche Diaz, activist against the Stop and Frisk police, see more here and here] went in front of the judge, who immediately started lecturing Noche that when a cop tells him something, he has to do it.  She went on at length speculating that, whatever Noche had done, he didn’t want to obey the cop, or tell the court what he was doing.  Josh took her on in a loud clear voice.  ‘We know exactly what was going on. The police were beating a man terribly in the street, and a crowd gathered.  Noche was in the crowd, observing.’ The judge said Noche had to follow the police order to move.  Josh said no, he didn’t.  ‘It wasn’t a lawful order.’

“The judge didn’t like this at all.  ‘I suppose he wants to stand on his constitutional rights, but he doesn’t have them here.’  She asked the DA if they would offer an ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal).  They did offer it.  Josh told the court, “‘We will refuse an ACD’

“Hell, yeah.  The whole point of defending ourselves against these unjust arrests is to establish that people have the right to observe and document police abuse.  Just because the NYPD arrests you while doing it, doesn’t mean they’re right.  It’s great to have attorneys on our side who see this, and who are just as outraged as we are.”  See the rest of Debra Sweet’s report here.

Are you outraged at the way the NYPD treat people of color in this city?  Are you outraged that the judge lectured Noche and wonder if she would lecture a Wall St criminal?

If you are, what are you doing about this?  Go the Stop Mass Incareration website, learn more and sign the resoultion.  Go to the fundraiser on Thursday for legal expenses for these defendentants who are standing up to police abuse in this city and to a policy that targets black and brown persons.  If you can’t make the party, you can still contribute online.  Link that site to your facebook page and other social media.  Go to a hearing yourself if you are in NYC.

Stop Stop and Frisk protesters are making an impact.  Though the corporate media don’t give this very much attention, alternative media in this city do.  Maybe most importantly,  the people in the courtrooms where these hearings are held, many of them from the populations being targeted, are getting to see resistance for a change.  They may be gaining some hope for a better world.

WE WON’T STOP TILL WE STOP STOP AND FRISK

 
 
by Debra Sweet

Noche Diaz appeared in Bronx Criminal Court today on a disorderly conduct charge from an arrest in March when the NYPD was trying to beat Jeffeth James.  Noche, as is his right, stood and observed the police abuse, got arrested with two other observers, and has refused to take an ACD to make the arrest "go away." 

So the prosecution once again wasn't ready.  Fine with us -- we don't care if it ever goes to trial -- but Noche needs to have charges in four boroughs off his back.  (He's on trial Wednesday December 5 in Brooklyn on another disorderly from a group protest against stop-and-frisk from November 2011).

We had yet another judge today, this time a retired Supreme Court judge whose role is to get pleas to violations.  The room was filled with adult and middle aged people of color.  Probably most of them were charged with "open container" or other so-called "Quality of life" issues like public urination, disorderly conduct or other things not considered misdemeanor crimes.  They are violations and some can bring fifteen days in jail.

Legal Aid attorney Josh Norkin has been representing Noche at what seems like ten appearances so far. Noche and Josh went in front of the judge, who immediately started lecturing Noche that when a cop tells him something, he has to do it.  She went on at length speculating that, whatever Noche had done, he didn't want to obey the cop, or tell the court what he was doing.  Josh took her on in a loud clear voice.  "We know exactly what was going on. The police were beating a man terribly in the street, and a crowd gathered.  Noche was in the crowd, observing."  The judge said Noche had to follow the police order to move.  Josh said no, he didn't.  "It wasn't a lawful order."

The judge didn't like this at all.  "I suppose he wants to stand on his constitutional rights, but he doesn't have them here."  She asked the DA if they would offer an ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal).  They did offer it.  Josh told the court, "We will refuse an ACD".  

Hell, yeah.  The whole point of defending ourselves against these unjust arrests is to establish that people have the right to observe and document police abuse.  Just because the NYPD arrests you while doing it, doesn't mean they're right.  It's great to have attorneys on our side who see this, and who are just as outraged as we are.

This trial is now scheduled for Monday, January 28.
 
 
A year ago those who didn't have any direct experience with Stop and Frisk hardly knew that they occurred at all.   Those for whom the New Jim Crow was a daily reality thought there was nothing that could be done about it.    There had been much exposure around stop and frisk, many things written, and civil suits in progress, but a crucial element was missing: mass resistance. 

On October 21st, 2011, Cornel West and Carl Dix called for a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience to protest the Stop and Frisk policy--and in response, a diverse and multiethnic cross section of New Yorkers put their bodies on the line to drag this immoral, illegal, and illegitimate policy into the spotlight.   In a wave of direct actions spanning precincts in Harlem, Queens and Brooklyn with the highest numbers of Stop and Frisks, there were 83 arrests--igniting a spark plug of nationwide resistance to the policy.  The message didn’t stop once they were arrested--as they defended the actions we took to "sound the alarm" and put the Stop and Frisk policy on trial in court through mass trials—sending a powerful message to the community and police that this practice can no longer continue, and they are determined to bring an end to it.

Last fall, the New Jim Crow met the New Freedom Fighters.  

Now we  face a transformed situation, where Stop and Frisk is quickly becoming a major social question in New York City.  Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly have dug their heels in and defended it, while mayoral candidates jockey for position to reform or scale back the policy.   Cop watch videos and documentaries on Stop and Frisk are going viral on youtube, and thousands of people across the country are waking up to see the horror of mass incarceration and the tens of millions of lives it impacts.   The actions taken by the Freedom Fighters, and the wave of resistance it has engendered, have created an atmosphere where the Stop-and-Frisk policy, mass incarceration, and all the horrors it inflicts are becoming widely known--and challenged--in mainstream society.  

Come stand with the Stop and Frisk Freedom Fighters on December 6th at "A Night to Support Stop and Frisk Protestors: Raise the Roof on their Legal Defense Fund"!   Help raise serious funds for their legal defense, which is $10,000 and counting.   There are six more trials in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as a number of upcoming trials featuring Stop Mass Incarceration activists, Noche Diaz, Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Swaye.  Let's come together to celebrate those who have been on the front lines  fomenting resistance to Stop and Frisk and the criminalization of Black and Latino youth. 

Most importantly, come and join in the fight to put an end to the horror of stop and Frisk and the New Jim Crow--because this is your fight, and you're a Freedom Fighter, too!