Today, 38 of us gathered at 100 Centre Street for Noche Diaz' trial on two arrests in which he was observing police arrest others, and got arrested and charged with some serious misdemeanors himself. We all knew these charges, three counts of Obstructing Government Administration, one each of Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct, which could have meant 2 years at Rikers, were piled on by NYPD because of Noche's well-known role in Harlem with the Peoples' Neighborhood Patrol, and as a freedom fighter who didn't walk on by when people were being abused by NYPD, but told them their rights.
Noche and his attorney, Gideon Oliver of the National Lawyers Guild, were prepared to for the trial with video, photos, witnesses, and with the truth that Noche didn't commit any crime in either case. 1700 people, including a lot of well-known people in NYC, signed on,
calling on District Attorney Cyrus Vance to drop the charges on Noche.
We were prepared, in choosing the jury, to reference the political climate in NYC since Noche's first arrest in October, 2011, when we did the first wave of civil disobedience protest against NYPD's stop-and-frisk, and the lawsuit Floyd v City of New York, now in a fifth week of exposing the abuse stop and frisk means for hundreds of thousands.
Apparently the DA's enthusiasm for trying Noche got reduced by some or all of this. The same Assistant D.A. who has tried many OWS cases, and who got 20 of us convicted of Disorderly Conduct last May for the October 2011 protest, approached Gideon Oliver with a vastly different deal than he had been proposing for the last year. Instead of Noche pleading guilty to two crimes, and getting 30 days in jail, which was not acceptable,
the state would drop all criminal charges, seek no jail time or fine, if Noche pled guilty to a violation. This is what happened in court today, after Noche gave an excellent statement to the judge.
We care celebrating! After 18 months, no crime, no time, no fine. The most remarkable thing about the time in court was that a packed courtroom -- probably 80 people in addition to our crowd -- heard a young revolutionary describe an "average day in Harlem" in terms most deeply felt to be their experience, win a victory, and walk out to applause. One person who really lost it then, Judge McGrath, who almost jumped over the bench, screaming, "SHUT UP! This is a courtroom,
not a playground. GET OUT! CLEAR THE COURT!" A young man grabbed one of us, and said, with pride, "you all are NO JOKE!" (another version is that he said "you mf's are serious!")
and others came out to shake Noche's hand, and say they had seen him on Channel 12 this morning. Cornel West texted, "Give my love to brother Noche on the occassion of this victory."
Most strongly, people in line and walking by, stopped to find out what was extraordinary about Noche: a young person who doesn't walk on by when someone is stopped by the police, but lets them know they have rights, and that there is a whole different way the world could be. We met many friends today, and saw people holding heads a little higher, because people do not have to be beat down like they are. Thanks to friends from the Lower East Side, the Revolution Club, and many on this list who came out today, who circulated the statement for Noche, and signed it.
NEXT UP: Noche still has charges in 3 boroughs: Disorderly Conduct in the Jeffeth James beating by NYPD in The Bronx; Disorderly Conduct with 6 others in Brooklyn from the November 1, 2011 protest of Stop-and-Frisk, and with 8 others in Queens where charges are still 2 counts of OGA. This wave of protest isn't over until all the charges are gone. And:
Court hearing for people arrested in March when Kimani Gray was killed in Brooklyn, Thursday April 25
at 120 Schermerhorn Street, 9:30 am Monday April 29, 7:00 pm
Next Stop Mass Incarceration Network Meeting. Riverside Church
120th & Claremont. Agenda will be discussion of Carl Dix' proposal for action
to support the
July California prison hunger strike. Next freedom-fighter trial: Monday May 20, Queens Criminal Court
for Greg Allen, Noche Diaz,
Ribka Getachew and Matt Swaye.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance dropped all criminal charges against Noche Diaz in a victory for him and his supporters after 18 months of hearings, protests, legal motions, and petitions. Diaz plead guilty to a single violation of Disorderly Conduct in a courtroom packed with 38 supporters, and dozens of defendants with whom Noche's statement to the judge resonated:
"October 21, 2011 and March 27, 2012 were not your average days in Harlem, where the NYPD carries out some part of it's 1,900 daily stop and frisks, 85-90% of which are of Black or Latino people, over 90% of whom are doing nothing wrong and given no legal or legitimate reason for being stopped, and routinely put up against walls and searched, have their basic rights violated, and often worse.
October 21 was a day where hundreds came together in Harlem in peaceful protest to demand an end to this NYPD policy, which was followed by waves of protest. Now we see the policy being challenged in a lawsuit that has further revealed the illegality and illegitimacy of the NYPD's Stop and Frisk practice.
On March 27, a number of high school students spoke up about what they know and feel, knowing through their experience with NYPD's Stop and Frisk (and including on that day where a 14 year old student was thrown through a bank window for allegedly having his hands in his pocket) what it is to be viewed as a generation of suspects, and saw themselves when they looked at how Trayvon Martin was murdered by a vigilante who saw Trayvon as suspicious and probably up to no good, for nothing other than being a young black man. I stood with the students as they chanted “We are all Trayvon Martin” and “We want Justice”.
I later gathered with more than two other people near where police officers were placing someone under arrest, and when the officers directed me to leave, I did not immediately leave. [I knowingly and verbally refused the order from the officer, and knowingly risked creating public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm."
Many people know Noche Diaz from his work on the streets of Harlem with The Peoples Neighborhood Patrol and the Revolution Club. These statements were collected recently:
From a 14-year-old middle school student:
"I think they don't want us to do well, we're sposed to go to jail or something like that. We're sposed to be the animals and animals don't get rights. Look how we're living - in the projects - why is that? We're not sposed to make it? I hope they can't lock him [Noche] up. Because we are human beings. He's standing up for everybody."
50 year old ex-prisoner:
I hate this that they're singling us out. How are they going to say this is a democracy? I'm signing this because I've been a victim of this. I'm a "ward of the state", I'm on parole right now. We do need revolution and it's about time somebody's doing something about this. That's why I'm signing this. Gimme more of those. [Took 5 statements]
Man in his 50s
The cops ran up in my mother's place, said they we're looking for me and I was in court! I hate this shit. This is not democracy. This is a police state. People just don't know it. I've seen this young brother [pointing at Noche's picture] in the Neighborhood Patrol watching the police. This is a good brother. He's not a criminal.
From a resident of Grant Houses:
“Noche, you doing the right thing. Everybody in these projects needs to sign this petition! I got kids that's harassed by the police all the time. Every day they out with this damn “Stop and Frisk” shit – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and kids ain't doing nothin' at all! They just run up on them...Noche represents the youth! Stopping this stop and frisk shit. They criminalizing these youth for nothing! They don't want Noche to get the message across to these other youth out here. That's why they don't want you out on the street to wake up the youth to what's really goin' on. How they bein' trapped! To lock him up is wrong. It's a message to all the people but it's wrong! It's not right to put him on trial! All these cops they need to be on trial. People need to get together from the projects and go down and attend that trial. I'm gonna try to go. Stop hiding behind closed doors. I'm gonna try to go to the trial because I know where it's at! I been down there enough for nothing! Nothing but stupid things! I might as well go down there for something!"
From a supporter of Noche
I ran into a young man I know in the neighborhood. He's about 18 or 19 years old and no longer lives in the projects. He was walking with two others At first he didn't want to stop saying he was in a hurry but I insisted telling him that it was urgent that he at least give me a moment while I unrolled the poster. He recognized Noche with the patrol (all three recognized Noche) and did not know he was facing this trial and the charges and the 4 years jail time. He immediately wanted to sign the petition As he was going to sign another youth I know from the area who is less inclined to speak with us came walking past. As he approached he pointed to the petition with the image of Noche and started saying, “That's uh.. That's uh.. Oh! That's Noche!”
I called on him to sign as well telling him that he needs to get with this He waved me off saying, “Naw/ That's okay!” I struggled with him, “Look you know what these cops do out here and if you like this and the way you're treated then go on but if you really do hate this, how you're treated and what they do to people around the world then you need to support this brother and you need ot get into this revolution!” He simply kept walking. Meanwhile another kid saw that the first young man was going to sign the petition and called out. “Yo Man! You signing that?! To which our friend responded, “Yeah man this is Noche!” and he started chanting “NO-CHE! NO-CHE!” I told him to take more petitions and get out to others to sign. He immediately agreed and took a stack of about 10 from my hands. One of the kids with him took them from him and said, “This is how I'm gonna help y'all. I'm gonna get these out! But I don't sign anything!” I told him, “No! You have to sign because when people like Noche step out there like this the people MUST have their back. The revolution won't be made on the cheap. People have to represent.” He changed his mind and signed the petition. They took some more petitions and the other kid with them signed as well before insisting they had to go on. The other kids had pretty much all passed by but what happened was observed by all.
For the third time, seven remaining Brooklyn defendants appeared to have charged dismissed before a judge who had dismissed them for four protesters in the November 1, 2011 stop-and-frisk action at the 73rd Precinct. For the third time, that judge was not on the bench. Brooklyn prosecutors won't dismiss, and say they are ready to try the seven on disorderly conduct charges, having failed in the first two trials to have convinced judges that there were any laws broken.
So our defense attorneys are filing a written motion for dismissal, on which a decision will be given June 4. Last we heard from the prosecutors, they are still searching for evidence to get a conviction. They won't find it, but they are dragging people into court successfully. So far there have been 16 or 17 appearances in this case.
Four defendants are on for trial Monday in Queens: Calvin Barnwell, Elaine Brower, John Hector and Richie Marini. Judge Lopez, who was in charge of the trial of Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Bob Parsons and Morgan Rhodewalt last fall, denied our motion to dismiss charges against the remaining nine defendants, even though a jury found them not guilty of the criminal charges.
We're calling on everyone available to come to court Monday, or days next week as the trial proceeds, at 12501 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens. Updates will be posted every day at this site.
Long lines a la Disneyland as 100s of Black and Latino youth go through step 2 of the new jim crow at Brooklyn Criminal Court. step 3 a big fine and/or rikers. [Randy Credico photo]
Today seven defendants in the Brooklyn stop-and-frisk protest case were told to return once again, April 4, for the judge to consider, and likely grant, our motion for dismissal of disorderly conduct charges "in the interest of justice." The judge who said weeks ago she would dismiss charges if the DA had no additional evidence against the defendants was not in court.
The DA, however, said he "may" have more evidence against seven remaining defendants based on an "online" search. Other than reports of people participating in a non-violent civil disobedience action on November 1, 2011 at the 73rd Precinct, there is nothing that could prove them guilty of disorderly conduct.
9:30 am at 120 Schermerhorn on Thursday, April 4, we will demand that the remaining charges be finally dropped, after fifteen appearances in this court. It wasn't lost on us that April 4 is the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King; we spent a lot of the day talking about the police murder of Kiki Gray in Brooklyn, and the righteous protests surrounding it.
Tomorrow, come out to Bronx Criminal Court for a hearing in the case against the NYPD officer who killed Ramarley Graham last February.
Wednesday, Noche Diaz goes to trial, also in The Bronx.
Yesterday, Randy Credico, Noche Diaz, Christina Gonzalez, John Hector, Nick Malinowsky, Bob Parsons and Matthew Swaue were set for trial in Brooklyn. We were told by Judge LaPorte to expect that she was going to dismiss the remaining charge of disorderly conduct, after the first five defendants were dismissed by herself and another judge. The DA had said he had no intention to dismiss, and was ready for trial. Police witnesses were brought in.
However, Judge Douglass was on the bench. She had to consult with LaPorte about the case, while we waited around, only to say that LaPorte wants to dismiss the charges herself, so people have to come back for a fourteenth
appearance on Monday March 18. Even after that, the DA tried to exact some revenge. Nick had obtained permission from the judge not to appear -- and was at work in the Bronx Criminal Court
-- and the DA tried to get a warrant for his arrest for not showing.
At this point we do expect a dismissal on Monday, with all charges to be over in Brooklyn from the 11/1/11 protest at the 73rd Precinct. Meanwhile, protests have jumped off the last two nights in the 67th Precinct, East Flatbush, over the NYPD killing of Kimani Gray. See NY Daily News today
on the case.
Monday March 18 is also the day Floyd v NYC, the class action suit against the NYPD for stop-and-frisk by the Center for Constitutional Rights, begins. It's expected to go for 5-6 weeks, and it will make a difference if people represent there for an END to stop-and-frisk. It's in Federal Court at 500 Pearl Street (east of Foley Square, just north of Chambers and all major trains.) Some of us plan to go there as soon as court is done in Brooklyn.
Wednesday March 20 is a firm trial date for Noche in The Bronx, where the DA says they're ready to try him for disorderly conduct when he observed Jeffeth James being beaten by NYPD
almost a year ago in Soundview. It's really important to have a showing in court that morning. 8:45 am outside court; 9:30 am, probably in the Lower Level of 265 E 161st Street, Bronx Criminal Court.
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
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"
Bronx trial now set for Wednesday, March 20, 2013 Noche's Manhattan trial now set for Tuesday April 23, 2013
Noche's Queens trial now set for Monday April 8, 2013Help Keep the Government’s Hands off this Young Revolutionary!
Many people are disturbed and appalled at the high-handed behavior of the NYPD:
· Unconstitutional Stop-and-Frisk policy
· Killing under the color of authority (Ramarley Graham, Reynaldo Cuevas)
· Illegal surveillance of mosques, Muslim student groups all over the U.S
· Suppression of Occupy Wall Street … the list goes on and on.
Many also wonder why there is no movement of young people protesting all this, as previous generations have.
24 year old Noche Diaz IS protesting all this. He IS organizing others to protest against all this. He HAS put his body on the line to protest Stop-and Frisk and to observe the police abusing people. Noche is a revolutionary, who lays out his views as he protests and organizes. And for all this, he faces 4 ½ years in prison just in Manhattan, as well as jail time in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.
He was arrested three times when he was legally observing the arrests of others. The Manhattan District Attorney has combined charges on arrests in October 2011 and March 2012 into one trial, possibly prejudicing the outcome of all these cases, and, putting him in danger of jail time.
And YOU have a responsibility to make sure they don’t succeed in doing that. YOU need to help make sure Noche can continue to do the important work he’s involved in.
and on Facebook; stopmassincnet
on Twitter to learn when to be at 100 Center Street for trial support SIGN the message to the District Attorney to drop charges on Noche
Bronx for Noche: Yesterday, Noche's trial was continued until Wednesday, March 20. Josh Norkin, of Legal Aid, is filing a motion to dismiss the charges on facial insufficiency because of a favorable ruling in the NY Appeals Court
recently, which says that there has to be "harm to the public" for disorderly conduct to occur. Meanwhile, the prosecutors haven't handed over any discovery evidence yet, even though they were ordered to do so by August
15, 2012. Jeffeth James, Noche, and two others all still await trial from the same incident where the NYPD beat Jeff.
2/25 Manhattan for Noche: It looks like Noche may go to trial this Monday, February 25 at 100 Centre Street. This is the really messed up case where the DA combined two incidents where Noche was arrested while observing the police into one trial,
As we've said before, the only thing in common with these two incidents was Noche, in Harlem; the police lying that Noche interfered with them arresting another person, who, in each case, was not arrested. But he got thrown to the ground and charged with OGA, and resisting arrest, amounting to a year each, four times,and six months for resisting.
You can read more about the case here. We need a mass amount of people to come out. We can't let them be successful in their attempt to discourage others from doing what he does. We need research help in learning more about these two arresting officers:
Michael Duffy Shield # 27097 Manhattan Boro North
Harold Nunez Shield # 28069 26th Precinct
Come out for a 9:00 am rally / press conference, outside 100 Centre Street.
2/27 Brooklyn for Gbenga, Luis, Carl and Morgan. Prosecution started on February 14 with one witness, P.O. Blanco. More cops will testify Wednesday. The trial could go through Thursday if there is no order by the judge to dismiss
the disorderly conduct charges. We are looking for research help to learn more about Captain William Gardner of the Brooklyn North Task Force who gave the order for arrest. His name shows up in tweets from OWS last year
as a white shirt who harasses and brutalizes women. Let's learn more if we can.
Greg Allen posted a very detailed and entertaining account of his pro se trial in the same case in November. https://docs.google.com/document/d/11_92pK-4dS6mJvvPYdzQni2DwwjxseqmRPxIH2rDQn0/edit?pli=1
Trial 9:30 at 120 Schermerhorn Street, probably in 308F.
Note: The first Brooklyn Bridge case, from September 2011 to go to trial just ended with all four defendants convicted of disorderly conduct. Marty Stolar defended three of them, up against the same judge who convicted 20 of us
last May. This is really outrageous, given that 700 were mass-arrested, the state dropped hundreds of the charges, others took ACD's, and the few left to fight the charge may get convicted of disorderly. That's just so BAD!
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