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(en) US, NYC, SDS* notes, What's New At Next Left Notes: Police Riot At NYC Anti-Racist Protest

Date Sat, 14 Oct 2006 08:08:37 +0200

1) Police Riot At NYC Anti-Racist Protest http://antiauthoritarian.net/NLN/?p=70
Police Sergeant Mirabal arrests a youth for alleged "spitting" (Photo: T. G.)
New York, NY - October 7, 2005. Brandishing his yellow taser pistol, NYPD
Sergeant Mirabal told startled protesters they were being arrested for
“inciting to riot, disorderly conduct - the whole works!� Police were
running to and fro grabbing protesters willy nilly - in the middle of a very
surreal scene. A man in a vampire mask - a fake vein throbbing on the back of
his neck - walked through the chaos completely oblivious. And no wonder - he
wasn’t there for the demonstration. He was part of a film crew shooting their
own drama. Park Avenue had been transformed into a movie set for the day. It
was an odd coincidence that “I am Legend�, a remake of the Omega Man, was
being filmed at the same time and place as what most observers characterized as
a police riot.

The day had started quietly enough - indeed SDS had scheduled a citywide
meeting for 3 pm the same day, not anticipating a counter demonstration would
land 6 people in the Tombs. Protesters had gathered at the Mexican Consulate -
39th Street between Madison and Park - around 11 am. On the east side of the
consulate were about 30 “minutemen�, the racist anti-immigration group many
jokingly call the “minute-klan�. To the west were 60-70 counter
demonstrators - SDS, IWW, PLP, WRL and others. The NYPD had herded the two
opposing groups into protest pens on either side of the front door of the
consulate. Each side waved their flags and chanted. On the minuteman side a
particularly bellicose demonstrator baited counter-protesters by bellowing
remarks through a bullhorn - remarks that can only be termed childish: “ha
ha, we’re winning, you guys are losing…�, etc. Local media was on hand:
the Daily News, El Diario, Tiempo, IndyMedia, NLN and NYC photographer Fred
Askew. As media documented the story in photographs it wasn’t immediately
apparent that anything out of the ordinary was happening. That would change

At 12:10 PM one of the anti-racist demonstrators was yanked out of the protest
pen by an undercover. No explanation was given. This person, a 17 year old with
a speech impediment, was charged with “spitting� - a health code violation
- the NYPD later upped it to the misdemeanor version but the ADA dismissed at
the arraignment. At this point it became obvious to media - all of us close
enough to hear the police chatter - that Sergeant Mirabal was very jumpy.
During the arrest he pulled pepper spray from his belt and clutched it as he
yelled at protesters who asked why he had ordered the arrest of the young
protester - but never used it. This scene would be replicated 30 - 40 minutes
later, when Mirabal unholstered his Taser and waved it around as he paced to
and fro on 39th Street - once again he would not use his weapon.

Shortly before one o’clock the minute-klan and their supporters departed,
heading east on 39th. Some protesters followed and Mirabal and other cops ran
after the minutemen, placing themselves between the racists and the protesters.
One of the racists opened his jacket and demanded media “take a picture of
(his) shirt!� - his t-shirt depicted a jackboot footprint and stenciled
lettering� “stomp out illegal immigrants�. The skinhead glared at the
media and the protesters but soon departed along with his cohorts (which
included a protest warrior I recognized from other right wing protests). The
situation had calmed - the minutemen were gone and protesters were dispersing.
At this point a police truck pulled up and Mirabal - the highest ranking cop on
site - ordered the arrest of several protesters. It appeared that he had called
for the truck earlier and once it arrived he decided to use it despite the lack
of any significant activity in the immediate vicinity. All of the arrestees
were counter-demonstrators - none of the racists were arrested.

Pat Korte of New School SDS is arrested for standing on the sidewalk
(Photo: Thomas Good)

After the arrest of the unlucky five, a large number of SDS proceeded to the
13th PCT where the protesters were being processed. SDSers (mostly Pace and
Pratt chapters) and MDSers doing jail support were barricaded into a section of
21st Street (btwn 2 and 3rd Ave) on the opposite side of the street from the
precinct. Here they maintained a rather spirited vigil - banging on pots and
pans and chanting for several hours while the NLG tried to move the processing
of their people along. Late in the afternoon the police, obviously rattled by
the SDS presence, backed a police truck up on the sidewalk, all the way to the
front door and surrounded it with cops. A short time later they loaded the
activists (Pat Korte of New School SDS, Leijia Hanrahan of New School Dance -
an SDS affiliate, Elliot and Elena Madison, Jennifer “Kitty� Sobolowski and
the 17 year old) into the truck and drove them to the Tombs. The SDS crew
hopped on the subway and were soon at the Tombs watching the arraignment board.
The activists were not produced until Sunday evening - all except the 17 year
old accused of spitting who was released much earlier, when the ADA dropped the
charges. Doubtless the arrestees would have spent another night at the Tombs
were it not for the efforts of Bruce Bentley (an NLG attorney who came to the
13 PCT) and Elsie Chandler of Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem - a
veteran trial lawyer who served notices of appearance on the protesters at the
arraignment court, thus expediting the incredibly slow process. (Thanks also to
Marty Stolar who was prepared to serve a writ of habeas corpus in the event the
protesters were kept a second night).

The male activists (Pat and Elliot) were arraigned first, at approximately 9 PM
and the three women at 12:15 PM. All were released ROR. All of the arrestees
are fine - Pat Korte had been ill but recovered quickly…in fact he told NLN
the next day that he was ready to get back in the streets.

Pat Korte looks out from the police truck bound for the “Tombs�
(Photo: Thomas Good)

In the end, the 5 protesters who were wrongfully arrested on October 7, 2006
for counter-demonstrating against the racist “Minuteman� group outside the
Mexican Consulate (2 SDSers and 3 other anti-racist activists) were held over
30 hours in the hellhole commonly called the Tombs before being arraigned on
the charge of “inciting to riot� (NY PL 240.08 - a class A misdemeanor) and
two equally absurd discons (PL 240.20 section (5) blocking traffic and PL
240.20 section (6) disobeying a lawful order). The State, doubtless recognizing
the police misconduct and lack of any supporting evidence of the spurious
charges, offered a 240.20 with two days of community service as a means of
adding insult to injury: these activists were victims of a police riot. The
deal was rejected and the falsely arrested activists will have their day in
court. SDSers and friends are asking supporters to come to 100 Centre at 9:30
AM on the morning of November 13, 2006.

View Photos

2) The Bronx Says No To War

SDS New York members are invited to participate in the full
day of events in the Bronx tomorrow, October 14, organized
by a local peace and justice group. A number of organizations
are participating: Granny Peace Brigade, War Resisters League,
Veterans for Peace, etc.

The activities begin at 10 am and run until 5 pm at the Fordham
Road Recruiting Center (corner of Fordham Road and Grand
Concourse). Events includes a vigil, speakers, reading the names of
the dead, music, food, interactive things for kids to do, possibly
a CD - bring signs, literature & food, etc...

SDS will be tabling.


10 am Gather at Fordham Plaza for a funeral procession up to
the recruitment center.
11 am Speakers and spoken word poetry
12 pm Vigil for the American dead and a reading of their names
3 pm Speakers and music
4 pm Vigil to honor the Iraqi dead

Directions: D or 4 trains to "Fordham Road" stop; or Metro North
to "Fordham" stop & get off at Fordham Plaza, walk west on
Fordham Road for 1/2 mile.

SDS/MDS: bring signs, flags and banners! See you there.
For more information, call 347.524.5631
* An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiative
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