FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2012
Contact: Steve Yip 917-868-6007
Elaine Brower 917-520-0767
Day Two of "Stop Stop and Frisk" Trial
New York NY – May 1, 2012
In the largest political protest trial in some time, 20 defendants in the "Stop Stop and Frisk" case prepare for day two of their misdemeanor trial for disorderly conduct in Manhattan Criminal Court. Yesterday, the courtroom was filled with supporters who booed when the charges of the defendants were read. During the day, the defendants heard testimony from a TARU officer on scene that day, including testimony from the commanding officer of the 28th Precinct, the site of the civil disobedience action that day.
What is at stake is that the city authorities cannot, and will not, allow any challenge to their "Stop and Frisk" policy which continues to deliver devastation to Black and Latino communities in New York City. It is described by Carl Dix, one of the initiators of the "Stop Stop and Frisk" campaign, as "a form of social control" reminiscent of "Jim Crow segregation and lynch mobterror" and "a pipeline to racially targeted massincarceration." Cornel West, who co-issued the call for the campaign, said, "This is part of the fight back with any attempt to treat [black and brown sisters and brothers] unjustly and immorally." At the pre-trial pressconference, speakers included Rev. Dr. Emery Ailes of the Convent Avenue Baptist Church, and City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx.
On Tuesday, May 1st, the defense plans to have many of the twenty defendants, who come from a crosssection of demographic, and political and religious backgrounds, take the witness stand to testify to the reasons for their actions of October 21st which delivered a bold wake up call.
Judge Robert Mandelbaum earlier denied a defense motion for a "justification defense." This is a "necessity" argumentthat the defendants' actions are trying to prevent a greater harm. In other words the defendants have identifiedthe NYPD practice of "stop & frisk' as harmful.
Thedefendants and their lawyers say that if they've done anything illegal, their nonviolent, civil disobedience actions taken on that day were for the
greater good in face of the social devastation of the racist and illegal NYPD "Stop and Frisk" practice.
Defendants include Rev. Stephen Phelps, interim Senior Minister of The Riverside Church, Rev. Earl Kooperkampof St. Mary's Church in Harlem, Professor Jim Vrettos of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Elaine Brower and Debra Sweet of World Can't Wait, Nellie Bailey of Occupy Harlem, and Randy Credico, former director of the William M.Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice, and many others.
"Stop & Frisk," a policy heavily promoted by Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is also being challenged in court by the NYCLU and Center for Constitutional Rights. In 2011, the NYPD stopped almost 700,000 people, or more than1,900 people each day. More than 85 percent of those stopped and frisked areBlack or Latino, and more than 90 percent of them were doing nothing wrong whenthe police stopped them. "Stop and Frisk" is the first step in a pipeline that has ultimately placed 2.4 million in prison.
YouTube of the Monday Press Conference:
Other Press Coverage:
Earlier Press Release:
Apr 26, 2012, Stop & Frisk Practice of NYPD to be Challenged at Trial of “New Freedom Fighters”
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