NYPD’s Long History Of Killing Unarmed Black Men

| Educate!

Mourners carry the casket containing the body of Ousmane Zongo to Francisco Funeral Home after a procession from Aqsa Mosque in Harlem, New York, Friday June 6, 2003.  Zongo, of Burkina Faso, was shot to death by an undercover New York City Police officer May 22, 2003 in a Manhattan storage facility. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Eric Garner was a 43-year-old father of six and grandfather of two. The tall, 400-pound man, who was known around his Staten Island neighborhood as a “gentle giant” nicknamed “Big E,” was approached Thursday outside a New York City store by a group of NYPD officers who accused him of selling contraband cigarettes. “I didn’t do shit!” Garner can be seen telling cops in a video of the incident. “I was just minding my own business.”

“Every time you see me, you want to mess with me,” he added. “I’m tired of it … Please just leave me alone!”

Cops say they saw Garner selling cigarettes outside the store. Other witnesses, however, said he’d just finished breaking up a fight. He had no cigarettes on him, nor in his car, his family told the Daily News.

But the officers didn’t leave Garner alone. Instead they tried to arrest him. Visibly upset at what was unfolding, Garner resisted. “Don’t touch me,” he said.

It’s then that an officer can be seen in the video putting Garner — who suffered from chronic asthma, sleep apnea and diabetes — into a tight, illegal chokehold. Garner falls to the ground, where, numerous times, he tells officers he can’t breathe.

Then, his body goes limp. (Warning: This video contains content that may be disturbing to some readers. Story continues below.)

 

Officials say Garner has a history of arrests for selling untaxed cigarettes. In the coming days and weeks, conflicting reports about the circumstances leading to Garner’s death will likely surface. But even if Garner had prior charges and even if he resisted arrest on Thursday, he’ll never have a chance to defend himself.

There will be anger. Rallies. Posters and T-shirts featuring Garner’s face. Memorials. Statements by politicians. Lawsuits.

It’s a familiar course of events. NYPD officers have a long history of killing unarmed individuals. They’re rarely punished for their actions. And the majority of their victims, like Garner, are black men.

Earlier this week marked the 50th anniversary of the death of James Powell, a 15-year-old black student who was shot and killed by a white police officer outside a Harlem apartment building. Powell’s death sparked a series of riots across the country in what came to be known as the “long, hot summer.”

As City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams pointed out in a statement following Garner’s death, not much has improved since then. “Garner joins a list that every male of more color in New York City knows they are a candidate for and every mother of more color dreads,” he said.

Below are the stories of some of the men (and boys) on that list.

Nicholas Heyward Jr.

nicholas heyward
On Sept. 27, 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr. was playing cops and robbers inside the stairwell of a Brooklyn apartment building. Officer Brian George mistook the boy’s toy gun for a real gun and shot him in the stomach, killing him. Then-Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who is now facing a range of potential charges regarding his use of public funds, declined to press charges against George.

Amadou Diallo

amadou diallo

Demonstrators join a rally in New York to protest the police officers’ acquittal.
On Feb. 4, 1999, four NYPD officers in the Bronx fired 41 shots at a 22-year-old immigrant from Guinea named Amadou Diallo. The officers thought he had a gun. It turned out to be a wallet. Diallo, who was unarmed and had committed no crime, was hit by 19 bullets and died, setting off large protests across the city. The four officers involved were all white and were all acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Malcolm Ferguson

malcolm fergurson

On March 1, 2000, just a few days after a jury acquitted the four police officers who killed Amadou Diallo, an undercover cop shot and killed 23-year-old Malcolm Ferguson at his Bronx home. The shooting took place three blocks from the site of Diallo’s death, and Ferguson had been arrested the previous week for protesting the officers’ acquittal in that case. He had seven prior arrests on his record, mainly for dealing drugs. The incident was deemed an accident, and the officer who killed Ferguson, Louis Rivera, was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Patrick Moses Dorismond

patrick dorismond

Mourners honor Dorismond at City Hall Park.
Patrick Moses Dorismond, a father of two, was killed by an undercover NYPD officer on March 16, 2000. According to police, Dorismond had become belligerent when the cop, who was with some of his partners, asked him where he could buy some marijuana in the neighborhood. It’s unclear who threw the first punch, but a scuffle ensued, and one of the officers, Anthony Vasquez, ultimately shot Dorismond in the chest, killing him. A friend of Dorismond’s, who was also involved in the fight, claimed the undercover officers never identified themselves as police. A grand jury declined to indict Vasquez.

Ousmane Zongo

ousmane zongo

Mourners carry the casket containing Zongo’s body.
On May 22, 2003, Officer Bryan Conroy, disguised as a postal worker, raided a counterfeit CD/DVD operation at the same warehouse where 43-year-old Ousmane Zongo, an immigrant from Guinea, worked repairing musical instruments. When Zongo encountered the cop, Conroy brandished his weapon and Zongo ran. The chase led to a dead end, where Conroy shot Zongo four times. NYPD officials later admitted that Zongo had nothing to do with the counterfeit operation. Conroy received no jail time. He was sentenced to five years of probation and lost his job with the NYPD.

Tim Stansbury

timothy stansbury

On Jan. 24, 2004, 19-year-old Tim Stansbury was shot by Officer Richard Neri on the roof of a building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Stansbury, a McDonald’s employee who was working toward his high school diploma, died. A grand jury declined to indict Neri, who later admitted to pulling the trigger unintentionally. He was permanently stripped of his gun and given a 30-day suspension.

Sean Bell

sean bell nypd
In the early morning hours of his wedding day, Nov. 25, 2006, Sean Bell was celebrating his bachelor party with two friends at a Queens strip club, which a group of officers was investigating for alleged prostitution. An argument broke out outside the club between one of Bell’s friends and another man, and one of them allegedly said he had a gun. Officer Gescard Isnora (who is also black) reportedly followed Bell and his friends to Bell’s car upon hearing this, and approached the front of the car. Bell accelerated, striking Isnora. In response, Isnora and other officers fired 50 shots at Bell and two of his friends. Bell died, his friends were seriously wounded, and three of the cops went to trial for manslaughter. Each was found not guilty, and no gun was recovered from Bell’s car.

Ramarley Graham

ramarley graham
Graham’s father leans over his son’s casket.
NYPD Officer Richard Haste shot and killed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in his grandmother’s bathroom in the Bronx on Feb. 2, 2012. Haste had allegedly been responding to reports over police radio that Graham had a gun, but all he had on him was a small bag of marijuana. A grand jury decided not to indict Haste for the shooting.

Tamon Robinson

tamon robinson killed nypd

On April 12, 2012, 27-year-old Tamon Robinson ran away from cops after he allegedly stole paving stones from a construction site. (Later, friends said he had permission to take the stones.) During the chase, cops say Robinson ran into their police car. Witnesses, however, say officers intentionally mowed down Robinson, before bouncing him off the hood of the car. Robinson died of his injuries six days later. No charges have been filed against the police involved.

Kimani Gray

kimani gray

Kimani Gray, 16, was shot and killed by two police officers in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn on March 9, 2013. The officers allege that Gray pulled a gun on them first, but eyewitnesses dispute the account that Gray was armed. Neither has been charged, and one of the officers, Sgt. Mourad Mourad, received a Cop of the Year award from the NYPD this April.

  • Kaecyy

    Disgusting, police violence and lack of accountability. I don’t think they are grown up enough for guns.

    It is legitimate for everyone to resist the police. Everyone who knows anything about the police, knows that we should all be doing so. However, physical violence, against human beings, is deeply unfortunate and serves to alienate potential supporters, and divide the resistance— no matter how justified the violence may be.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJSehRlU34w

    That said, the 1973 film “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” is an incendiary, absolute must-see at the moment for everyone in reflection on freedom, Ferguson, civil rights and liberties, etc. As the man says, ‘‘This is not about hating white folks… this is about loving freedom enough to fight and die for it.” Food for thought, my friends.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxtMoaV42n8

    I practice the sacred art of the Japanese sword in the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-ryu, perhaps the oldest remaining sword sect in the world, and I get stopped all the time by various combinations of security guards, troopers, stormtroopers (riot shields, etc), and gestapo (no uniform). For my WOODEN katana, no less— what is called in Japanese a bokuto… a fancy word for a stick!

    Usually the police are relatively cool and I actually have a good time talking to them, but both in my personal experience and with even a casual perusal of the historical and contemporary record, there are a LOT of bad apples in there, far, far more than the police can possibly have, IF they want to have even a shred of legitimacy as an institution.

    Obviously, they do not.

    Sometimes, they actually want to search you, or even see your genitals.

    In public.

    They claim to be searching for weapons, but I’ve had them not even touch my phone and camera and go straight for anything else, anything soft, I have in my pockets (so it’s best to have an erection, boys).

    This is criminal, police behavior.

    The police do this because a weapons search is actually a pretext for police to break the laws that govern them— and the social contracts under which we tolerate their existence— in order to search you for drugs. And this in turn is because of their filthy, vile, and corrupt World Civil Class & Race War on a Selection of Drug Users, which the US government has been expensively and ineffectively waging against our own people and the people of the world since 1937— with about one million POWs and counting in the USA alone.

    Even taken by itself, without their many other crimes against the public, this slow-burning genocide of a war invalidates the police totally as an organization.

    And so their questions and searches toward this corrupt and criminal end are deeply offensive to me— both personally and as an American, particularly one of Japanese descent— and particularly when they have already snuck up on me in force (like some kind of Pearl Harbor in reverse) and interrupted my religious practices because some xenophobe, some racist, some myopic, or some PTSD-wracked survivor of the Second World War has flipped their lid and called in the strike… ON A DUDE CARRYING A STICK. (Though this trouble does not eliminate my cultivation of compassion for those afflicted with these four terrible illnesses… three of which I have also suffered from myself.)

    Once the police have determined that I am in fact carrying a stick, and not a sword, it is obvious to anyone who believes in liberty— to any real American, for example— that apologies from the security forces and dismissal are in immediate order, and any further interruption of my religious practices, especially to feel me up and to gaze upon my genitalia, is at the least a violation of my religious freedom, my freedom from unreasonable searches, etcetera etcetera.

    My apologies for the fear of the ignorant public, but that’s why I meet them halfway, as an educator, and use the WOODEN STICK in public and not the metal sword, and I smile to the people I can’t avoid altogether. Hell, I’m so friendly, sometimes I even show the kids the basics of how to chop a man in half in the traditional Japanese way. (Kids love me.)

    The fact is, whether it’s Detroit or Denmark, the police everywhere in this world have such a long history of abuse, racism, murder, and corruption, they should all go the way of the SS and Kempeitai— they should be outright DISBANDED, and replaced by a totally new, unrelated, post-police organization geared toward the 21st Century— enshrining human rights and our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness above ALL else, and especially for those already marginalized, such as minorities, women, LGBTQ people, and those in poverty.

    The police forces we have today routinely disrespect, violate, oppress, and abuse all of the above, and many more. In their everyday abuse of power and neglect of their duties, they commit or facilitate as many crimes as they solve, if not more, and greater crimes at that— societal crimes, which though less dramatic and less immediately tangible, through their pervasiveness, their perversion, and their origin in the seat of government affect everyone and do more harm to more people than any single serial killer or terrorist cell ever could— yes, even the ones who fly planes into buildings.

    The police, the injustice system, and the prison industry are fingers of an iron fist slapping the pool of our civilization, creating waves of criminality and personal and social destruction across the entire surface and undercurrent of our society, drowning those who cannot afford to build a life above the tsunami of corruption devouring the victims of their corporatized and internationalized World Civil Class & Race War.

    This leads to historical and contemporary ironies such as the police unapologetically protecting America’s most powerful, influential, corrupting, organized, and dangerous criminals (who harm us all, including themselves)— such as the ones on Wall Street— while beating the crap out of dedicated, peaceful patriots exercising their Constitutionally enshrined rights (who harm no one)— such as the ones in Occupy Wall Street.

    Events such as the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937 in Chicago, by police, show us that historically, actions such as this are not an anomaly but rather the standard operating procedure of the police— which shouldn’t be that surprising, since after all, that’s the same year the current World Civil Class & Race War on a Selection of Drug Users began.

    “The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races,” said Harry J. Anslinger, original Prohibitionist and founder of Second Prohibition, in 1937. With First Prohibition just a few years gone, it was through the the delegalization of cannabis— perhaps the most industrially useful plant in the world and the safest in the entire pharmacopeia— that with the support of corporate oligarchs William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon, and Pierre S. du Pont, Anslinger and his allies managed to ensure that the American people would always have an enemy in our own government.

    Of course it goes back much further than that. The genocide, the marginalization, the repression, and the disrespect of sovereignty toward the only REAL, real Americans— the Native ones (the rest of us are really only immigrants, and illegal ones at that)— is also an ongoing series of government and later stages police war crimes. Texas Rangers, anyone? COINTELPRO, anyone?

    Our police forces, who nominally work for us, and whom Americans really do pay and pay through the nose for the pleasure, are an occupying army with too much time, too many resources, too much power, too little to do, and no meaningful accountability— a combination that Mother History tells us is ALWAYS toxic for the surrounding civilian population. Roman Empire, anyone?

    One “bad apple” in any organization dealing with the public, particularly an armed and dangerous force like the police, is one far, far too many, and in our conditions only the tip of a vast iceberg— an indicator of perhaps hundreds more. The simple fact that it is nearly impossible to hold the police accountable for even the most outrageous and on video of their countless criminal acts (YouTube, anyone?), combined with the official unofficial Blue Code of Silence (“testilying”, anyone?), reveals what a medieval and obsolete organization the police, our courts, and our “justice” system really are— totally unsuitable to their legal duty and stated aim of “protecting” and “serving” the entire public equally, from Wall Street Wally to Occupy Otto to Janitor Joe.

    I’m sorry, but it’s the motherhumping 21st Century, girls and boys— the rich, the powerful, and the many have enough in their favor already, without an occupying army in their palm that busts everyone else’s chops, and delivers them into a selective punishment system rigged in favor of the affluent.

    It is also impossible for any civilized, intelligent, and educated person to accept the fact that in most if not all places in the world, the police are permitted to touch, molest, injure, incapacitate, or kill any of us with little chance of serious consequences, whereas to kill, to incapacitate, or even in many cases to even TOUCH a police officer, no matter how criminally the police may be behaving, in fact if not always law carries grave consequences, with a vast burden on the victim to prove police abuse before the rights of civilians to defend themselves against these frequently hostile, occupying soldiers are legally accepted.

    And that’s only if you’re (un)lucky enough to be taken ALIVE after the fact.

    Now look at the statistics of crime rates by race vs searches and arrests by race vs conviction rates by race vs sentencing rates by race. Among the entire world’s prison population— yeah, that includes China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, etc (AND YES, we in the USA do lock up more people than each and all of them, and everyone else as well)— among the entire world’s prison population, one in nine prisoners is an African AMERICAN male.

    Lady Justice ain’t blind, brothers and sisters, but she sure as hell is white, and she’s a flaming racist to boot.

    Ladies and gentlemen— in fact, we have no “justice” system. We have a selective punishment system. An injustice system. The police, our courts, and large swathes of our private industry (no state with a private prison industry has ANY claim to justice or legitimacy, nor will it ever), working in tandem and mutually protecting one another like a network of Japanese bunkers on a Pacific hellhole, are a legalized protection racket, parasitically feeding off our society while giving a few of us with paler skin and bigger bank accounts the thin illusion of security and safety.

    “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” —Dr Benjamin Franklin, Founding Grandfather

    As a pledge-bound defender of “liberty and justice for all”, and thus a real goddamn American— except under truly exceptional circumstances, I can no longer willingly cooperate with, utilize the services of, or respect the police or any other armed or coercive branch, of any government, that is existing and operating without the consent and support of the people who are most at risk in our civilization, that has a history of abuse coupled with a lack of accountability, that enjoys a de facto monopoly in society on violence even when behaving illegally or with criminal violence, or that is participating in, facilitating, or profiting from ongoing societal atrocities, such as poverty, social inequality, racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, the destruction of the environment, or the 1937 to present World Civil Class & Race War on a Selection of Drug Users.

    Thus, as of today, I declare my independence.

    As of today, I pledge as my patriotic duty, insofar as practically, legally, or covertly possible, to no longer recognize or respect the authority or legitimacy of the organized, criminal organization known as the “police”, nor that of any other armed or coercive force of parallel, analogous, or allied disposition, such as the DEA, the NSA, the FBI, the CIA, the ATF, etc etc.

    In fact, I am exercising my democratic right as a proud American citizen, RIGHT NOW, and calling, loudly and clearly, for these obsolescent organizations to be disbanded immediately, and rebuilt from the ground up towards the humanitarian ends that I stated above.

    However, using my intelligence and my social aptitudes, to the best of my abilities I WILL respect and personally engage with the individuals in these corrupt organizations— many of them unprosecuted war criminals still at liberty, carrying weapons and the badge of government, yes, but also many of them good people with good hearts who have themselves been grossly disinformed and disserved by their government and society, as have we all— and in my engagement with these occupying soldiers I will try to educate and encourage them into reform, into disobedience, into resistance, or even into going the full Edward Snowden.

    You see, my friends, most actual cops I meet I really like, and I hit it off with them. We must all learn to love that which is outside ourselves, including our enemies. For this, too, is an important way for our rebellion to grow. And grow.

    And grow.

    I suspect that it won’t be too many years before we have a full on Underground Railroad going for these kinds of heroes, those brave enough to resist— I’m convinced that the more incentive and facilitation, internationally, that we can give whistleblowers to blow that whistle, the more of them will come out of the woodwork. And the better for everyone in the world.

    It will take organization. It will take resources. But it has been done, it can be done again, and I believe it will be done. (French Resistance, anyone?)

    Thus as an Eagle Scout and former POW, I will do my best, to do my duty, to the gods and our civilization, to help tune them in, turn them on, and drop them the hell out.

    I strongly suggest the rest of you do the same. Each of us, both alone and together— to the best of our abilities.

    If you’ve made it this far, then you’re probably sharp enough to see the truth in what I say, and surely smart enough to make a difference. Let us do so— in any way that we can, for the rest of our lives.

    My friends— just because something is the law, it sure as hell doesn’t make it right.

    Total Civil Resistance is one key factor we must utilize toward attaining the post-police force we deserve, for the money we pay, to protect and serve ALL of us. Total Civil Resistance, in addition to seeking change through the legal channels, and through engagement with our governments.

    As Father History has proven, the legal channels for change available to us are utterly inadequate, perverted by those already benefitting from legalized injustices, and our resistance must move beyond the rigged selective punishment system to non-cooperation, divestment, and direct action at the least, and on up to outright espionage and sabotage where and when appropriate, available, and effective.

    With our police and security forces, we have a situation like the Wehrmacht and the Imperial Japanese Army— it’s the organization that is evil and must be disbanded, but not ALL of the people in it. But for the rest, we Americans really do need a Nuremberg/ Tokyo-style war crimes tribunal to mark the end of, for a start, the World Civil Class & Race War on a Selection of Drug Users, and to hold accountable those who have perpetrated, profited from, and perpetuated this ongoing, slow-burning social and racial genocide, which has been tearing our society apart for nearly a century.

    Obviously, the same is true for the not unrelated War of Terror… it just hasn’t been true for as many years.

    Yet.

    “…with liberty and justice for all.”

    It rings proud, and great, but hollow. All of us Americans have pledged allegiance to a country that does not yet exist, and never has existed on the face of this Earth. And so it is our duty to fulfill that promise of our civilization, and to build that society— no matter what powers we must face, and what institutions we must tear to the ground to make way and achieve this.

    Anything less is the very definition of un-American.

    Brothers and sisters— please join the Rebel Alliance. The Empire is strong. We need every kind of help it is possible to give, from every person that can give it, in every place that they can give it— at home, in the workplace, on the streets, in secret, and out in the open.

    We want you, and we need you.

    I’ll see y’all in the future!

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Want to learn more about the world, listening while you do what you need to do?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/globalnews

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/docarchive

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/fooc

    —Independent, non-commercial, ad-free news from a more global and objective perspective, including an outside, sympathetic look at the USA… without a dog in the fight. Frank, investigative, trustworthy— utterly unlike our own, mostly corrupted broadcast media in the US— the BBC asks hard questions of just about everyone but the Queen. If you’ve grown up with American broadcast media, be prepared to be shocked at how many important things are going on in the world that you’ve never been told about, and you otherwise never will be— the BBC has reporters on the ground in every region of the world, so dust off your world map. Bonus: almost zero reporting of celebrities… until they die.

    http://www.hbo.com/last-week-tonight-with-john-oliver#/

    http://www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher#/

    http://thedailyshow.cc.com/

    http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/

    —Why, in the “Age of Information”, do few but our jesters speak the truth?

    http://www.bestoftheleft.com/

    —Don’t be fooled by the name. This is science-based common sense for a healthy society and a civilization with a future— with explicit and immediate activism opportunities, and excellent debate of ideas and best practices.

    Want further learning and activism opportunities?

    http://www.popularresistance.org/issues/

    —Common sense total civil resistance, united.

    http://350.org/

    —Help us save the Earth. So we get to have a future.

    Who me? I’m an independent individual acting where I see I can best apply my limited time and abilities. I’m not profiting from any of these organizations. I simply want to know what the hell we should do to fairly and humanely save and evolve our planet and civilization, before the game is up for the most deadly and interesting species on the planet. (Look in the mirror.)

    I come from time and space as a warning to the human race— you have begun your most desperate centuries. Halt greenhouse gas emissions; enact peaceful resolution and social justice as transnational absolutes; plan and behave both scientifically and humanely; eliminate nationalism, xenophobia, and war; enshrine your biodiversity; learn to love each other— or go extinct.

    Your time is up, earthling savages.

  • Stephen Bellinger

    And it just goes on, and on.