Photo Essay: First Day Of A Week Of Outrage

| Resist!

We are Quicksilver, We are Water

The Unarmed-One-Armed Civilian.

Less than a week ago, this Unarmed Civilian (me), became a One-Armed-Unarmed-Civilian. Nothing broken, thankfully, just a torn up shoulder. December 8, 2014, (Day 1 of the Week of Outrage) was the first night back on the street for me after being injured. Below is the story of that first night, written from the ER in Brooklyn, NY.

Thousands took to the streets of NYC on December 3, 2014, the night after a grand jury voted not to file any charges against NYPD officer David Pantaleo – the cop who took the life of Eric Garner by putting him in an illegal chokehold.

Like the Michael Brown protests and the Flood Wall Street action last September, these marches, metaphorically, have the properties of quicksilver: flow where there’s an opening, fissure when blocked and then pool together again elsewhere.

At 7pm December 8, I found myself with hundreds of protestors flooding 47th and 6th Ave., where non-violent acts of civil disobedience turned tense when – and only when – the police themselves became aggressive. I watched cops shove protestors and muscle journalists and lurch their motor scooters at peaceful activists – many of whom, like me, were penned inside barricades and being threatened with arrest.

While tucked in with a cluster of mainstream press – their boxy cameras and uncaring news-gathering demeanor – we realized that the real estate around us was shrinking. Fast. A phalanx of NYPD officers began to squeeze their human kettle – something practiced and deliberate and dangerous – corralling my section of protestors, mashing us up against each other and the interlocking “freedom cages.” There was nowhere to go.

Chats of “we’re not cattle” started. Other protestors outside the cages taunted the cops. Some of the cops ridiculed back but most remained stoic knowing what was possibly coming next. Force and arrests. And it did.

After the first bullhorn warnings to disperse, some attempted to leave but could not because the tsunami of NYPD blue pressed forward. But we’re water. We’re quicksilver. People not wanting to risk arrest spilled messily over the steel cages. One gentleman, having a particularly difficult time with his scissor-climb escape, held onto my arm for balance but then a fierce ebb of the crowd, and the subsequent stagger of humanity, unfortunately wrenched my arm downward.

That’s when I felt my shoulder collapse and crumbled, as if it were made of dried leaves. The momentum of the crowd had crested upon us. It was physically impossible to move. And even if I could have, the pain was paralyzing (I’d trade this pain with pepper spray in the face any day. No, really.)

But then an undertow. The human current rolled away, swayed like a mosh pit over to the real time arrests happening about 10 feet from us. Unfortunate for that pocket of protestors putting their bodies on the line. But fortunate for us. We were, ahem, free.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week of Outrage – Day 1

This is the anger the community feels. This is how badly the NYPD need reform, though they deny it. This is symbolic of the citizenry’s lost trust and faith. I have zero evidence that any of these officers are “killers,” but I do know this: immediately after I took this shot, one of these officers called me a “faggot.”

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week of Outrage – Day 1

Dozens of cops keep the protestors out of Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week of Outrage – Day 1

Black Deaths Matter.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

As LeBron James played inside Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center to international dignitaries, celebrities and screaming fans, outside the arena, 2000 or so protestors engaged in acts of civil disobedience.

2014 1210Barclay-4

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week of Outrage – Day 1

After shutting down traffic and staging die-ins, protestors were stopped from taking Flatbush Avenue by police who wielded batons and misfired pepper spray.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week of Outrage – Day 1

The handcuff that failed to hold out the protestors from enter and shutting down Target.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week Of Outrage – Day 1

The Target shut down echoed with chants and featured a somber die-in.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week Of Outrage – Day 1

Hands up Can’t Breath.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week Of Outrage – Day 1

Die in staged in the street, outside the Barclay Center.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week Of Outrage – Day 1

Die in staged in the street, outside the Barclay Center.

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

(Photo: Michael Nigro)

Week Of Outrage – Day 1

Speaking truth to power.

Michael Nigro is a award-winning filmmaker and an Emmy nominated writer-director based in Brooklyn, New York. He’s currently working on his next documentary about the waves of civil disobedience and protests materializing across the US. You can follow him onhttp://instagram.com/nigrotime or onTwitter: @nigrotime

  • easywriter

    Well written. Looking forward to Michael Nigro’s documentary.

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  • samnigromd

    CORRUPTION AND JUSTICE….to
    prevent the establishment of “Royalty” and the “hand of Herod” (our
    government at work)

    “LEGICARE” By Copyright c Samuel A. Nigro, MD June
    2014

    Charles Dickens said, “The law is an ass.” I have discovered that government law is a
    capitalist system scheme to control and extort citizens under the guise of
    “promoting the common good.”
    It makes money for politicians and all in the law system, selected
    favored groups and individuals, all employees of the metastatic law megabureaucracy,
    and for their dictating friends in the press and media. Seeking a veiled totalitarianism, government
    law manages occasionally to be virtuous, but overall, it seeks neither truth or
    justice, but inflated preening self-righteousness of arranging legalisms (Lego
    block equivalents) into an outhouse of sorts.
    Totally unconstitutional, the government law is an “established
    religion” with pompous courtroom rituals and dogmatisms second to none in
    authoritarianism. It is an opiate for those
    in power. It deserves neither respect nor
    admiration but fear and contempt pretending safety, respect and
    admiration. The best way to understand
    government law and those in it is by the New Testament metaphors of
    “scribes and Pharisees” (and add Herodians and Pontius Pilate too). The following corrective measures are
    needed. Until then, the law will be as
    Dickens said.

    True Justice requires
    all political systems to address CORRUPTION by these rules for all political leaders
    of any nature (elected, appointed, appropriated):

    All citizens will be covered for all
    legal matters by a third party system as is health care.

    All in government and law (and family
    members) are not exempt from any laws.

    All in government and law (and family
    members if employed) are to be paid only by a base salary determined by
    procedure and service codes which will be the only source of paying for
    personal benefits received when in office. All procedure and service codes will be
    equally required for plaintiff and defendant in all litigation in search
    for “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” as sworn by
    all parties (including judges and lawyers); and in all government
    administrative procedures (including Internal Revenue Service) such that
    “equality before the law” requires government provided services “on
    behalf” of citizens to equal those actions “against” citizens.

    All in government and law (and family
    members) will be prohibited from any investment in prison or prison
    support industries. All incarcerations
    will be overturned whenever this has happened in the past.

    All in government and law (and family
    members) will study, review and sign-off annually on Stanley Milgrim Suggestibility, Stanford
    Penitentiary Experiment, and Nifong Prevention Programs.

    All laws, whenever mentioned in any
    legal proceeding, will be completely read into the record each time with
    all parties in attendance so that the defendant is assured that all
    parties know the law.

    “Plea bargains” will be
    prohibited, because they deprive trial by jury which is constitutionally
    guaranteed. For equality before
    the law, the state must equally fund jury trials for both plaintiffs and
    defendants. Prosecutors must
    prove ALL initial charges and counts,
    for “guilt” to be found (Each initial “count” is to be
    a “juror” equivalent).

    All in government and law and their
    family members’ retirement, health care, travel without specific
    government mission, job security & protection, and any other benefits
    are determined by the same laws and rules which govern the common citizen
    and will be paid for as common citizens pay from personal finances.

    All in government and law and their
    family members will be taxed at a 90% rate for any and all increases
    beyond salary based assets accrued while in office and for five years
    after leaving government employment.

    All in government and law must have
    served 4 years in the military and have their children and grandchildren
    serve in the military for 3 years without special consideration.

    All in government and law and family
    members’ estates will be taxed at 90% at death for all assets over 3
    million dollars accumulated during government employment and for 5 years
    therafter.

    All laws will be repealed which give
    any government employee or person in law any benefit not given to the
    common citizen.

    No remuneration of any kind is to be
    received for enhancing reputation, business generation, client and
    associate management, civic activities, bar association activities, pro
    bono activities, speeches, appointments to corporation boards or
    equivalents. There will be no origination
    fees, referral fees, fiat retainers, or name value payments or any other
    payments unless appropriate to the legal work actually performed.

    All members of law firms can bill only
    for work personally performed and documented, time and service, by open
    records.

    Immediate members of politicians’
    families are prohibited from practicing law.

    Appearances of impropriety and
    conflicts of interest are to be avoided, disclosed immediately, undone,
    and prevented.

    All legal and financial records of all
    in government and the law (and employed family members) are open to the
    public.

    The right to privacy and prohibition
    of unreasonable searches require that all medical records for all citizens
    are absolutely confined to the doctor patient relationship.

    All in government and law (and family
    members) are prohibited from any financial remuneration from or investment
    interest in any press and/or media business.

    All in government at all levels
    must wear cameras and recorders for all government related activities with
    permanent retrieval forever.

    No politician can be re-elected to
    the same office more than once.

    To SERVE THE PEOPLE is a privilege to be paid for…SERVING
    THE PEOPLE is not a method of becoming ROYALTY.

    Similar rules are needed to prevent the corruption in the
    legal system because attorneys especially have innate conflict of interest in that the more they complicate and
    aggravate the problem, the more fees they can
    charge. Recording and
    documentation of Federally defined and fee-fixed procedure and service codes
    are needed for every attorney, judge, and bureaucracy member. Essentially, now THE SYSTEM only works well
    for those IN it i.e., politicians, judges, attorneys, and those in the
    bureaucracy. For the rest of us, THE
    SYSTEM is basically anti-freedom and anti-independence because it exerts
    fascist-like control almost automatically
    oppressive. The people are entitled to
    EQUALITY before the law. This basically
    means that the Legal System for attorneys must be equivalent to Obamacare for
    physicians. Like medicine, the
    government law has become a capitalist business with Soviet style powers rather
    than a profession for the Common Good.
    The tendered rules will correct this and prevent the corrupting influence
    of “power.”