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"

 
 
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November 19. 2011, Carl Dix, in red jacket, and stop-and-frisk freedom fighters march to notorious 103rd Precinct in Queens to protest.
by Carl Dix

The judge who handed down the sentences in the Queens’ Stop & Frisk case got personal.  I got a $250 fine, 5 days court observation and $120 court costs.  Morgan Rhodewalt got the fine, 5 days community service and court costs.  Jamel Mims got 5 days community service and court costs.  And Bob Parsons got court costs.  1st off, we shoulda gotten off with time served—no fines and no community service.  Stop & Frisk is wrong, and we were right to protest it!

In handing down these sentences, the judge said, ‘The jury saw thru Dix’s arrogance, and Rhodewalt’s false statements.’  Of course, the jury hadn’t said any of this.  The judge was really spitting his own venom at us, and he followed that up by giving Morgan and me extra punishment.

Why did the judge say I was arrogant?  Because he feels it was arrogant of me to decide Stop & Frisk was racist, illegal and illegitimate and to call on people to join a campaign of civil disobedience to stop it!  And to come into his court and say that what we did was the right thing to do.  He probably thought my statement before sentencing was also “arrogant.”  I noted that “Ray Kelly told 3 Black legislators he wanted every Black and Latino youth to be afraid they might be stopped & frisked every morning when they leave their house.”  I added, “This was wrong, and we were right to stand up and say NO MORE to this outrage.”

Morgan’s “false statement” was about his complaint to the Civilian Complaint Review Board over the police having tightened his handcuffs so tight he lost use of his thumbs for several weeks.  Before the trial, the prosecution argued, unsuccessfully, that this complaint amounted to a confession of guilt in this case.  But the jury never saw this statement, so it’s ludicrous to say they saw thru his false statements.  (There’s something to learn from this.  The complaint to the CCRB didn’t in any way deter cops from making handcuffs too tight on people they arrest, but it did serve to give the government an added way to target the defense in this charged political case.)

There’s another wrinkle to the judge sentencing me to court observation.  He said he did this in consideration of my physical condition.  Rev. Steven Phelps, the Senior Minister at the Riverside Church had offered that we could do any community service we were sentenced to could be done thru ministries at their church.  If the only issue was coming up with community service that fit my physical condition, the Riverside Church’s offer would’ve fit the bill.  The judge was essentially saying that he was going to take this arrogant Black man and make him sit in his court room, under his thumb, and maybe teach him some humility.

That won’t happen!  Stop & Frisk is still wrong.  Mass Incarceration is still racist and illegitimate.  It is right to stand up and say NO MORE to this slow genocide strangling inner city Black and Latino communities across the country!  Watching this judge operate in court for a week won’t change any of that.


 
 
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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

 
 
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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Click for News12 video
 
 
Occupy activists Jen Waller and Tim HIntze report on their project, Less Wall, More Street, training activists and community groups coast to coast and hosting conversations about state repression, They're joined in discussion with Jamel Mims, multimedia artist and challenger of Stop and Frisk, and Lamis Deek, a civil rights attorney. Then a Q & A with the audience. Event at Bluestockings Bookstore, Café, & Activist Center, November 13, 2012. Camera Joe Friendly



 
 
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by Debra Sweet

Today in Queens Criminal Court, there was first of all a battle over how the jury would be charged.  The prosecutor keeps whining that he didn't know he had to actually provide evidence to the jury on how the 103rd Precinct was disrupted during the protest a year ago.  He wanted the jury to be told they didn't have to find that any specific aspect of the functioning of the precinct had to have been obstructed to find Carl, Jamel, Morgan and Bob guilty of Obstruction of Government Administration.

They are charged with two counts, and each could carry a year at Rikers.  Of course the jury's not allowed to know that.

Defense counsel argued strongly against that charge to the jury, and won language that puts more burden on the prosecution to have proven something was disrupted.  Their problem is they didn't bring out any such evidence, save for one cop who claimed that he was 1 to 5 minutes late going into the building because there was a crowd protesting outside the door of the precinct.  And he admitted he started his shift on time after roll call.

All three defense attorneys, and the prosecutor gave closing summations today.  One by one, the defense brought out the lack of evidence from the prosecution, which has the burden of proving each element of each count beyond a reasonable doubt.  Prosecution said in pre-trial motions they would show that because of the protest, 9-11 calls went unanswered, and prisoners couldn't be transferred.  They presented no such testimony or evidence; in fact the Commander of the precinct stated to the jury that none of the normal business of the precinct was disrupted during the 7 minutes the protesters were in front of the door.  Defense was relentless in reminding the jury that the obstruction of the precinct was the NYPD's own doing.

Our attorneys, Meg Maurus, Tom Hillgardner and Marty Stolar, highlighted the intent of the protesters, as Jamel, Morgan and Carl testified Tuesday, to deliver a political message against NYPD stop-and-frisk right to the place where the policy is centered.  Marty Stolar was able to get into his argument the fact that the 103rd had the eighth highest number of stop-and-frisks in the city last year...and that's where the police who killed Sean Bell are from. 

After their summations, the prosecutor mainly relied on his index finger, pointing at "THESE FOUR MEN" repeatedly, as protesters who had "gone too far" and broken the law by refusing to leave the front of the precinct.  Since he had no evidence to call forth, he asserted this over and over, and for variety, near the end of this speech, raised his voice and told the jury, "You see how they acted, the attorneys and the defendants treated this trial as ONE BIG JOKE!" 

To the contrary, the defendants testified that they didn't plan to be arrested that day, but are always prepared to be arrested at a political protest, especially when protesting the NYPD.  It was inspiring to hear our people speak, to challenge the prosecutor, and the judge in the process of fighting what Tom Hillgardner called "a garbage case for which no one should go to jail."

Thursday morning at 10:00 am, the jury will be charged.  We hope for a verdict of not guilty on all counts.
Queens Criminal Court  125-

 
 
Friends,

We've weathered a devastating hurricane, a sudden snowstorm, and an election frenzy, yet it still remains an priority for this system to pour its resources into prosecuting people who protested against the stop and frisk policy-- a policy that is at the leading edge of brutality and repression on youth of color, and a pipeline to the penal system.  

Now going into a third week, the proceedings of the trial in which I am facing charges up to one year in jail, have been wrought with controversy.   For starters, we have been delayed for several days because of weather-related recesses on two occasions.  Two weeks ago, a juror was re-voidired after wanting to wear 'her Obama shirt' which a court officer thought indicated she might be sympathetic with our goals; and last Monday, that same juror was arrested while exiting the courthouse after refusing to sign a returned property slip for a ziploc bag that didn't contain her items.  After hearing the story of the outrageous arrest of a fellow juror, two jurors were removed because they couldn't remained unbiased.  We got back to at court yesterday morning, November 13th, and were finally able to present our case, and testify from the witness stand. We hope to see a verdict by the end of the week.

During this nodal point in the battle against stop and frisk and mass incarceration, there is a great need to continue to elevate around this front: Please continue to share this information with folks in your circle, and push this story to media outlets.  Lend your weight and voice to the effort--call in radio stations and news stations.   Sign the resolution, and help to arrange coverage of the ongoing proceedings. Tweet, Facebook, blog or Instagram about the trial, especially as we get close to rendering a verdict.   

We are mobilizing people to pack the courtroom this week -- when the defense is finally set to present our case,--and get the word out on all fronts that the case is on this week. Come out today, Wednesday November 14th to hear summations and closing arguments.  Stick around while the jury deliberates on Thursday November 15th, and be ready to mobilize as the verdict comes down. Come stand with us and put Stop and Frisk on trial! 

Pack the Courtroom for Stop and Frisk Freedom Fighters!
Wednesday November 14th & Thursday November 15th
Queens Criminal Court, Room JP1
125-01 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens Queens

Jamel Mims
 
 
Sisters and Brothers,

Sitting in the court in Queens listening to the prosecution and the judge talk about this trial isn’t about Stop & Frisk but about whether Jamel, Morgan, Bob and I ‘broke the law,’ took me back to the 1960’s and the struggle to end Jim Crow segregation.  Whites only facilities, Black people having to ride on the back of the bus or sit in the balcony in movie theaters and the lynch mob terror the enforced all this.  That’s the legacy our campaign to Stop “Stop & Frisk” stands on the shoulders of, and those prosecutors are the current day version of those who put 1960’s freedom fighters in jail, and worse.

We’re one week into this trial.  The trial is recessed till Monday,(now probably Thursday 11/1) and we have a chance to make the fact that 4 people who protested that racist, immoral policy are facing time in prison a major story in NYC and beyond.  On Monday, the prosecution will put on its major witness and show the video of the protest at the 103rd precinct. The next day, a couple of the defendants will testify.  In strategizing over these next few days, we should remember the impact our protests had last year.  Think about the youth who faced being harassed, disrespected and worse by police every day, who drew hope and inspiration from what we did.  The people who didn’t face being stopped and frisked themselves, but who were horrified to learn that people faced this treatment because of the color of their skin and felt it was wrong.  We need to figure out how to tap into all this.

Bloomberg and Kelly are doubling down on Stop & Frisk, defending it in the face of continuing exposure, mounting resistance and disagreements among the powers thqat be over whether and how to continue that policy, with elected officials and the NY Times expressing concern that the controversy over this policy is feeding broader discontent in society.  We need to reach out to the people who are disgusted by Stop & Frisk with a simple message.  “If you don’t like Stop & Frisk, then you need to have the backs of the people who stood up against it and are facing time in jail for that righteous stand.”

How do we do that?  One way would be for some of us to come out to the next day of the trial when a press conference and rally is planned, and for all of us to reach out to our networks and encourage everyone we can reach to come out in support of these defendants.  We all have various platforms we could use in doing that.  Some of us could get this story into various media.  (Jamel and I are available for interviews if you’d like to have a defendant involved in the story, altho’ it’d be fine for you all to be the person interviewed.)  There are different audiences we all could speak to about the trial.  There are other ways we could generate support for this trial.  We should use all of the platforms available to us to the max.

Here are crucial things people could do to manifest their support:

  • Come out to the trial (whenever the court opens - see stopmassincarceration.org for updates)
  • Add your name to the resolution calling for dropping the charges.  stopmassincarceration.org/resolution.html;
  • Get the story of this trial into the media;
  • Spread the word on it via e mail, twitter, Facebook, etc;
  • Contribute money and support the fundraiser on Oct 30th to help meet the mounting expenses of fighting this important legal battle.
In setting out to do this, we should be guided by something we said when we took on Stop & Frisk in Harlem last year:  “We Won’t Stop till We Stop “Stop & Frisk!””

Carl Dix
comradecarl@hotmail.com