By Cora Currier for The Intercept. New York City – Earlier this month, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the lower tip of Manhattan was thronged with soldiers in uniform, firefighters marching with photos of lost friends pinned to their backpacks, and tourists bumbling around the new mall at the World Trade Center. Firetrucks and police cars ringed Zuccotti Park and white ribbons adorned the iron fence around the churchyard on Broadway. Trash cans were closed up, with signs announcing “temporary security lockdown.” So it felt a bit risky to be climbing up a street pole on Wall Street to closely inspect a microwave radar sensor, or to be lingering under a police camera, pointing and gesturing at the wires and antenna connected to it. Yet it was also entirely appropriate to be doing just that…
By Kira Lerner for Think Progress – BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — On Thursday, low-wage workers across the country are taking to the streets to demand a $15 minimum wage. In New York, the protests were scheduled for the same day that a New York police officer was set to be sentenced for the killing of Akai Gurley, one of the most high-profile police misconduct cases in recent city history. Though a judge postponed the sentencing of former NYPD officer Peter Liang while allegations of juror misconduct are considered…
By Cecilia Reyes for Pro Publica and WNYC – On the coldest morning New York City has seen this winter, a stream of teenage students hit a bottleneck at the front of a Brooklyn school building. They shed their jackets, gloves and belts, shivering as they wait to pass through a metal detector and send their backpacks through an x-ray machine. School safety agents stand nearby, poised to step in if the alarm bleats. It’s an everyday occurrence for more than 100,000 middle and high school students across the city. On this morning, as on every school day, senior Justin Feldeo prepares to be pulled aside for separate screening by a hand wand. Feldeo is studying to be a firefighter and the boots he wears for class trigger the metal detectors.
By Kemi Alabi for The Huffington Post – My father, Eric Garner, was killed by New York Police Department officer Daniel Pantaleo a year and a half ago, but last week marks the department’s first official charge of wrongdoing in his case. The charge was not made against Pantaleo, the officer who placed my father in a fatal — and illegal — chokehold, but against Sgt. Kizzy Adonis, one of two supervising officers at the scene. We know Sgt. Adonis wasn’t even assigned on patrol during the incident. According to Ed Mullins, head of the sergeants’ union, she “responded at her own initiative.” She wasn’t the borough or zone commander. Yet Sgt. Adonis, stripped of her gun and badge, is now being charged on four counts of “failure to supervise.”
By Jaweed Kaleem for The Huffington Post – On Thursday afternoon, Salaam Bhatti was near New York’s Times Square, as thousands of Americans who had come from across the world prepared for the iconic New Year’s Eve ball-drop celebration. But Bhatti, a 29-year-old Muslim from Queens who works as an estate planning attorney, wasn’t there just to celebrate the passing of time. Gathered around Bryant Park, a few blocks from the center of the New Year’s festivities that Mayor Bill de Blasio has said will have “extraordinary” security measures to protect against terrorism, Bhatti had come to Manhattan with dozens of Muslims to share his faith as one of peace.
By Rise Up October – “No More Stolen Lives: Say Their Names” will bring together some 40 families from across the U.S. who’ve lost loved ones to police violence. They will be joined by prominent voices of conscience in love, remembrance, and defiance to say THIS MUST STOP!” “No More Stolen Lives: Say Their Names” begins RiseUpOctober — three days of mass resistance and acts of conscience to STOP Police Terror! and draw a line throughout society: “Which Side Are You On? Three days aimed at nothing less than changing “the whole social landscape to the point where more people take initiative and make it unmistakably clear that they refuse to live in a society that sanctions this outrage,” as actor Mark Ruffalo put it in a support statement.
By Christopher Robbins in Gothamist – A new lawsuit filed in federal court last week aims to challenge a reality evident to anyone who has attended a large political gathering in Lower Manhattan over the past decade: lawful behavior is no safeguard against being arrested. The lawsuit centers on more than 200 arrests made around the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in September 2012, when the NYPD “should have known that members of its police force would encounter individuals engaged in expressive speech activity.” Instead, the NYPD continued to arrest and harass protesters for seemingly no reason other than that they were protesting. The lawsuit asserts that this is part of a “pattern, policy, and practice of the NYPD misapplying the disorderly conduct statute to peaceful protesters in New York City.”
By Christopher Mathias in The Huffington Post – Kamilah Brock says the New York City police sent her to a mental hospital for a hellish eight days, where she was forcefully injected with powerful drugs, essentially because they couldn’t believe a black woman owned a BMW. In her first on-camera interview about her ordeal, which aired Thursday, the 32-year-old told PIX11 that it was all a “nightmare.” It’s a nightmare, Brock’s lawyer told The Huffington Post, that never would have happened if she weren’t African-American. Brock sued the city earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. She contends that her constitutional rights under the Fourth and 14th Amendments were violated and that she suffered “unwanted and unwarranted intrusion of her personal integrity, loss of liberty [and] mental anguish.”
By Victoria Law in Gothamist – Trina Regis travels from Sunset Park three times a week to visit her husband, who has been jailed on Rikers Island since February. “Physical contact means so much to us,” she told Gothamist. “It brings a sense of peace to me and it brings a sense of peace to him. It’s a little thing he can hold on to ’til the next visit.” Regis, who declined to give her husband’s name or details of his case for fear of retaliation by staff, also knows firsthand how important touch can be. In early 2015, she spent five months at Rikers for shoplifting. Her husband visited twice a week. “The intimacy from a loved one means a lot,” she explained. “They’re showing me—I’m here for your support. I love you still, no matter how it is.” But new rules proposed by the Board of Correction, which sets minimum standards and guidelines for the city’s jail system, may soon limit the couple’s ability to touch each other.
By Will Bredderman in The Observer – A few dozen protesters affiliated with the group Picture the Homeless gathered under the elevated Metro North tracks at 125th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem to protest what they claim is a new policy of police harassment initiated under Mayor Bill de Blasio. Chanting “hands off the homeless” in the frequent gathering spot for indigent individuals, the demonstrators alleged Mr. de Blasio has allowed and even encouraged the NYPD to badger and intimidate people living on the street. Several said the treatment has gotten worse in recent weeks, after Mr. de Blasio has vowed to clear the 80 encampments around the city—a pledge the demonstrators said was a betrayal of the progressive principles he campaigned on in 2013.
By Emma Whitford in Gothamist – Dozens of Crown Heights tenants and allies gathered for a candlelight vigil near the corner of Schenectady Avenue and Union Street last night, in solidarity with 55 families at 285 Schenectady and 1646 Union who will be evicted on October 1st—unless they agree to sign leases doubling, and in some cases tripling, their rents. In August, after months of tenant organizing, the New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the tenants’ landlord, Renaissance Realty Group, citing a loophole in the current rent laws that gives Renaissance the right to jack rents. “I’ve been living in this neighborhood for 26 years,” said Natasha Creese, who shares a three-bedroom at 285 Schenectady with three adult siblings, her 18-year-old son, and her five-year-old niece.
By Emma Whitford in Occupy The Bronx – Dozens of homeless New Yorkers and advocates rallied on the steps of city hall this afternoon to single out and condemn the NY Post’s recurring portrayal of the homeless as dehumanized, quality-of-life case studies, as well as the Sergeants Benevolent Association’s recent public solicitation of photographs ofhomeless people engaging in “quality-of-life offenses of every type.” “We’re here today because we’re disgusted by the treatment of homeless people in our city,” said Alyssa Aguilera, the Political Director for Vocal New York. “We’re tired of the criminalization and stigmatization of homeless people who are struggling, and need housing, and who need social services. Instead they are being targeted by the police.” According to the SBA, civilian documentation of the homeless is a valid response to those who exercise their right to surveil the NYPD.
By Edward McAllister in Reuters – A New York state court on Wednesday declined to release details of a grand jury investigation that led to a police officer being cleared of wrongdoing in the death of Eric Garner after his chokehold arrest in Staten Island in July last year. Lawyers for civil rights groups and New York’s public advocate office in June called for the release of the grand jury minutes including transcripts of testimony, exhibits and details of certain grand jurors to better understand the decision not to charge officer Daniel Pantaleo for Garner’s death. Garner was black and Pantaleo is white, and the case caused widespread protests last year. The lawyers did not establish a compelling reason for disclosure of the minutes, the appellate division of New York State’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday.
By Keegan Stephan in Animal New York – Over the last week, New Yorkers marked the one-year anniversary of Eric Garner’s chokehold death with over a dozen events and actions across the city, from banner drops, to rallies with victims of police violence from around the country, to a march with over 1,000 people leading to dozens of arrests. The actions kicked off last Monday with a march on Staten Island organized by NYC Shut It Down (NYCSID) and led by Erica Garner, Eric’s oldest daughter and founder of the Garner Way Foundation. “It’s important to keep bringing actions to Staten Island,” Erica told ANIMAL, “because the police still haven’t reformed out there.” The march hit many locations directly connected to Eric Garner’s story, from the courthouse where the Grand Jury failed to indict Officer Pantaleo, to the NYPD’s 120th Precinct, where Pantaleo still works, to the spot where Eric died, just seven blocks away.
By Ellen Brait in The Guardian – Members of the Apache tribe stood chanting in a circle with drums and posters in the center of New York’s Times Square on Friday, to protest against a bill that will hand over land they hold sacred to a foreign mining corporation. Times Square was the latest stop for activists from the Apache tribe who are travelling across the United States to battle for Oak Flat and to draw attention to a bill introduced by Arizona representative Raúl M Grijalva to repeal the decision to hand the land over to Resolution Copper. A fine-print rider was added to December’s National Defense Authorization Act that gave the title of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper Mining, co-owned by multinational mining conglomerates Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.