Note:  This was received from the Alan Blueford Coalition back in October 2012, and we thank them, and apologize for the late posting.

The Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition (http://justice4alanblueford.org/) stands in solidarity with Jamel Mins, Carl Dix, Robert Parsons, Morgan Rhodewalt and their eight companions, standing trial in New York City on trumped-up charges brought by the Queens County District Attorney, Richard Brown, for peacefully protesting the unconstitutional Stop & Frisk policies of the New York Police Department.

Alan Blueford, an 18-year old black student, was murdered as the consequence of an illegal stop & frisk in Oakland, California on May 6th, 2012. Recognizing this, the Coalition has made the elimination of stop & frisk -- a de facto policy of the Oakland Police Department -- one of its five demands in seeking justice for Alan Blueford.

Countless youth and men of color have been harassed and their lives put in jeopardy by this police tactic designed to intimidate an entire generation. The Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition salutes all those in New York City who have taken up the battle against Stop & Frisk. We here in Oakland are watching as events unfold in New York City: every
march and every press conference, developments in each trial and lawsuit, and your struggle to legislatively end Stop & Frisk by enacting the Community Safety Act.

We call on everyone from coast to coast and in between to demand that District Attorney Richard Brown drop all charges a against these peaceful protesters, and we also ask everyone to sign the Stop Mass Incarceration petition calling for dismissal of all charges at stopmassincarceration.org/resolution.html.
 
 
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Fr. Luis Barrios, Gbenga Akinnagebe, and Carl Dix outside court in Brooklyn. February 2013
UPDATE:  Seven defendants remaining for trial were told on March 12 that charges would be dismissed in the case, but only when they return for a scheduled trial on Monday March 18.  This makes, for some 14 separate days in court on charges that had no legal merit in the first place.

After two days of prosecution witnesses -- four cops -- the judge in the Brooklyn Criminal court trial of Gbenga Akinnagbe, Luis Barrios, Carl Dix and Morgan Rhodewalt granted defense motion to dismiss charges of disorderly conduct.  The trial of Gregory Allen, who defended himself in November, brought the same result.  Defense counsel says it's likely that six remaining defendants scheduled for trial March 12 will also win dismissal.
This is good news, and hard won, after dozens of court appearances.

Prosecutors initially charged 20 defendants with disorderly conduct, a violation, and two counts of Obstruction of Government Administration, a Class A misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months.  Last fall, the OGA charges were dropped when prosecutors admitted that video evidence didn't support them.

But even after Greg Allen convinced a judge that the prosecutors couldn't prove disorderly conduct, the Brooklyn District Attorney proceeded in a second trial on the same facts.  Three arresting officers and Captain William Gardner of the Brooklyn North Task Force described their mission as "counter-terrorism, high-crime patrols, and disorder control."  The task force has special training in crowd control and dispersion, and was a key part of NYPD's small army of police surrounding and trailing Occupy Wall Street. When asked, the Captain said he had "no opinion" on the message of the November 1, 2011 protest against NYPD's stop-and-frisk practice.

The protest was the second in a campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network to end the NYPD policy.  Jason Lewis, in the Village Voice, Ninth Time's the Charm? Nah, But Arrested Stop and Frisk Protestors Finally Go to Trial in Brooklyn"NYPD officer John Blanco--who arrested co-defendant the Rev. Luis Barrios of St. Mary's Episcopal Church--was the first of five cops to deliver testimony in the trial. Blanco repeatedly indicated that he didn't observe any protestors blocking entry into the building. In fact, he testified that he never even saw anyone attempt to enter the precinct through that entrance."

Matt Sledge, writing in The Huffington Post, NYPD Stop-And-Frisk Policy Challenged In Court By 'The Wire' Actor:  "On cross-examination, defense attorney Martin Stolar was able to extract from Blanco, over the prosecutor's objections, that he has stop-and-frisked a number of New Yorkers as part of his work with an NYPD high-crime task force. In 2011, the year of the protest, 73rd Precinct officers stopped 25,167 New Yorkers. Ninety-eight percent of them were black or Latino."

Defense counsel from Brooklyn Legal Aid Society, and Marty Stolar of the National Lawyers Guild successfully argued that the prosecution never established facts to prove disorderly conduct, in that no lawful order to disperse was given, but rather an arbitrary order to leave.  The precinct was open to the public during the loud protest outside; protesters were arrested very quickly after arriving in front of the precinct.

The work of the whole Brooklyn defense team is much appreciated by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the defendants.  Thanks to Noha Momtaz Tahrir Arafa, Genesis Fisher, Julie Fry, Daniella Korotzer, Elizabeth Latimer, Meg Maurus, Alex Smith, Marty Stolar, and Amy Swenson.

Also from Revolution: "Victory in 15-month political battle: Charges Dismissed Against Brooklyn Stop-And-Frisk                  Freedom Fighters"

 
 
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.

 
 
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN - Supporters gathered outside Brooklyn Criminal Court to show solidarity for fellow protesters who were charged over a stop-and-frisk protest earlier this month.Thirteen people were arrested at a rally last month outside the 73rd Precinct, where they were protesting the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy. They appeared in court today, where they were charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of governmental administration, which carries a sentence of up to a year in jail.

Christina Gonzalez, one of those being charged, accused the police of creating false allegations against them when they just were just protesting policy.
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