An historic anti-police brutality demonstration took place in New York on December 16, 2006. Over 40,000 people marched down Fifth Avenue demanding justice for the slain 23-year-old Sean Bell and his friends who were gunned down by the police in Queens
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By Tom Hays, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) - Four of the five officers who together fired 50 gunshots at the car of an unarmed man on his wedding day hadn't completed mandatory firearms training, a group of black officers alleged Thursday.
New York Police Department brass "failed to ensure these officers were properly trained," said Marquez Claxton, a founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care.
At a news conference outside police headquarters, Claxton alleged that four plainclothes officers involved in the Nov. 25 killing of 23-year-old Sean Bell and the wounding of two companions attended only one of two annual "training cycles" at the police shooting range. The fifth shooter, an unidentified undercover detective, had done both practice sessions, he added.
"When you fail to attend these training cycles, tragedies occur," Claxton said.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the officers' track record on training was unremarkable.
"Ideally, everyone goes to two cycles, but it's not unusual for officers not to complete both cycles in one year," he said.
The fraternal organization -- made up of current and retired law enforcement officers from the NYPD and other agencies -- claimed that a preliminary police department report about the shooting contains proof the officers were undertrained.
The victims in the shooting were black; the officers were white, black and Hispanic.
The report lists the last time each officer was at the shooting range: One who fired 31 of the 50 rounds was there April 5; another on March 3; another on Jan. 12; and another on March 21. The undercover detective last took practice on Oct. 4, it says.
The report also notes that none of the officers had ever fired their weapons in the field before the confrontation outside a Queens topless bar where Bell's bachelor party intersected with a police undercover operation targeting suspected prostitution.
Police have said undercover officers believed the victims were going to retrieve a gun, but no weapons were found. The undercover officer, who initiated the gunfire, has said through his lawyer that he saw a fourth, possibly armed man flee the car.
Civilian witnesses supported that claim and identified the fourth person as Jean Nelson, police said. Nelson and the two survivors from the car, Trent Benefeld and Joseph Guzman, have denied he was in or near the car when the gunfire erupted.
The officers are on paid administrative leave while Queens prosecutor Richard Brown determines whether they will face criminal charges.
Associated Press writer Pat Milton contributed to this report.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2006, Wednesday
Contact: New York October 22nd Coalition, 866 235 7814, email@example.com
MASS PROTEST DEC. 20th 6 p.m.
Justice for Sean Bell, Stop Police Brutality
Archer Ave & Sutphin Blvd, Jamaica Queens
The October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation is calling for a mass protest to stop police brutality on Wednesday, Dec. 20th, 6 p.m., at Archer Avenue and Sutphin Blvd.
The demands are: Justice for Sean Bell! Indict, Convict and Jail the Killer Cops! Stop the Raids and Intimidation Against the Community! Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation! No More Stolen Lives!
Family members of the long line of victims of police murder will expose the crimes of the police and prosecutors and demand justice for Sean Bell and all other victims of police brutality.
Nicholas Heyward Sr., whose l3-year-old son Nicholas Jr. was murdered by the NYPD in 1994,
Juanita Young, whose son Malcolm Ferguson was murdered by NYPD in 2000;
Hector Pomar, whose son Dante Pomar was killed by NYP
James Canley, whose son Adrian Canley was killed Nov. l5, 2006 by Ventura County, CA. cops;
Family of Timor Person, killed by NYPD in South Bronx, Dec. 2006;
Margarita Rosario, whose son Anthony Rosario and nephew Hilton Vega
were killed by NYPD;
Picture the Homeless organization, who will speak about police attacks on the homeless;
Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party;
Kathie Cheng, New York October 22nd Coalition and Stolen Lives Project;
Isaac, rap artist;
Kathryn Lee, National Office of October 22 Coalition;
Representative, New York Civil Liberties Union.
The October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality publishes the book, Stolen Lives: Killed by Law Enforcement, 2nd edition, which documents over 2000 cases of murder by law enforcement nationwide in the decade of the 1990s. The Stolen Lives Project continues to document cases nationwide. Based on this research, the October 22nd Coalition advanced a theme, "Homeland Security = More Stolen Lives," to indicate that the glorification and elevation of the role of law enforcement agents through the homeland security measures has lead to an increase in the number of people nationwide brutalized or killed by law enforcement agents.
P.O. Box 941, Knickerbocker Station
New York, New York 10002-0900
866-841-9139 x2670, firstname.lastname@example.org
It's time to throw off the chains of oppression,
and get with the emancipators of humanity!
DEC. 16: ‘NO BUSINESS AS USUAL’
Stop racist police brutality
DEC. 21: ‘DAY OF OUTRAGE, SHUT DOWN WALL STREET!’
By LeiLani Dowell
Published Dec 14, 2006 5:03 AM
Mass anger towards the racist police state continues to be displayed following the deaths by police bullets of 23-year-old Sean Bell in New York and 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta.
Thousands rallied at New York Police Department headquarters on Dec. 6 in a militant and defiant rally that ended in a non-permitted march.
New York City Councilperson Charles Barron told attendees: “Every time they come into our community and disrespect our Black youth, disrespect our families, we are saying we have had enough. ... We need to let this system know that they need to fear us.” (allhiphop.com, Dec. 7)
On Dec. 9, two marches—one organized by the NAACP, another by the New Black Panther Party—were held in Jamaica, Queens, the area where the killing of Bell took place. A candlelight vigil was held on Dec. 11 in Harlem.
Brutality continues across the country
Yet the outrage about police terror hasn’t yet stopped cops across the country from “doing their
job”—criminalization and repression of the poor and people of color in the most brutal ways.
Rather than address the issue of racist profiling that led to Bell’s death, New York police have since engaged in more profiling in an attempt to cover their tracks. After a week of reports that said that only three men were in the car that cops riddled with 50 bullets—killing Bell and wounding Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman—police suddenly changed their story to state that there was a fourth man, and that this man may have had a gun.
What followed was a dragnet that rounded up Black men throughout southeast Queens. According to Juan González of the Daily News: “In the week after the tragic incident, Queens cops conducted raids and arrests of several of Bell’s friends, all on unrelated charges. They also detained for questioning several men who attended the bachelor party for Bell that night at the club. In each case, police grilled the men about Bell and the alleged fourth man.” (Dec. 12)
In a preliminary police department report obtained by the New York Times, witnesses, including Benefield and Guzman, made no mention of a fourth man. In addition, no mention is made of a police search for the “fourth man” immediately after the shooting. (Associated Press, Dec. 11)
In Los Angeles, civil rights groups are again calling for the installation of surveillance cameras in all police stations and patrol cars after an officer was caught on videotape applying a chokehold to a handcuffed 16-year-old Latino man inside a police station.
The officer—who was unaware that hidden cameras had been set up in the room—then uncuffed the teenager and challenged him to fight. The young man, who is suspected of being homeless, had been arrested on suspicion of a curfew violation. (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 8)
The use of a Taser on Houston Texans football star Fred Weary has exposed that in Houston, an alarming 63 percent of those shocked by police with high-voltage weapons over the last two years were Black. African-Americans make up 23 percent of the population in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States. (Los Angeles Times, Dec. 4)
The Washington, D.C.-based Police Complaint Center says that the number of police “misconduct” complaints it has received from across the country increased by 40 percent between 2005 and 2006. (Black Press of America, Dec. 11)
Protests to target ruling class
In “The Wretched of the Earth,” published in 1963, revolutionary author Frantz Fanon gives a description of the colonial world: “In the colonies it is the policemen and the soldier who are the official, instituted go-betweens, the spokesmen of the settler and his rule of oppression. ... The policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle butts and napalm not to budge.
“It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force. The intermediary does not lighten the oppression, nor seek to hide the domination; he shows them up and puts them into practice with the clear conscience of an upholder of the peace; yet he is the bringer of violence into the home and into the mind of the native.”
As the U.S. military machine attempts to re-colonize the people of Iraq, Sudan, and more, the police state acts as an occupying force within U.S. borders, with the same viciousness and tactics that the military uses abroad.
Two upcoming marches in New York against police brutality will target the group that the police state is set up to protect—the capitalist ruling class.
A demonstration called “Shopping for Justice” will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16. Participants will gather on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue at noon and march down ritzy Fifth Ave., home to some of New York’s most high-end boutiques and shops. The rally is being organized by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, and a number of Black and Latin@ elected officials, church and labor leaders. For more information, call 212-603-3704.
Attending Saturday’s protest will be Abner Louima, survivor of severe physical and sexual torture at the hands of the NYPD in 1997, who will be traveling to New York from Florida for the event. Louima told the Daily News his message to the cops: “We are not target practice.” (Dec. 12)
The second rally in a series of protests against the police state, organized by the Black Men’s Movement and the December 12th Movement, will be held on Thursday, Dec. 21. This day of outrage plans to shut down Wall Street in defiance of the “police policy on Black people—‘shoot to kill’.” The march will assemble at noon at Liberty Street and Nassau Street (One Chase Manhattan Plaza). For more information, call 718-398-1766.
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Harassed cop wins 250G
By JOHN MARZULLI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, December 20th, 2006
A Queens cop who sued the city alleging she was sexually harassed by a lecherous NYPD sergeant will receive $250,000 to settle the case, the Daily News has learned.
In a 24-page complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, Aneta Kwiatkowski had accused Sgt. John Dorst of forcibly trying to kiss her, barging into the female locker room at the 113th Precinct while she was dressing and repeatedly demanding sex from her.
"Come on, it is going to be the best one minute of your life. I am really good," Dorst allegedly told her, according to the complaint.
After a departmental trial, Dorst was found guilty of harassing Kwiatkowski and placed on disciplinary probation for a year.
He must pay her $5,000 out of his own pocket, and the city agreed to shell out $245,000, according to court papers filed this week.
But the cop's lawyer is threatening to hit the Police Department with a new lawsuit because Kwiatkowski is apparently under investigation for "waving the settlement agreement around in the precinct" sometime in September.
"My mind is boggled by the whole thing," said attorney Eric Sanders of the law firm of Jeffrey Goldberg in Lake Success.
"These people are out of their minds. The settlement papers weren't drawn up until November and she still doesn't have a copy of it."
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne refused to confirm or deny any investigation into Kwiatkowski.
Dorst is a high-ranking official in the sergeants union, and has been on the force since 1982.
His lawyer did not return a call for comment.
He was Kwiatkowski's supervisor in the South Jamaica precinct when the harassment occurred.
The complaint charged that he tried to steal a kiss from her in a radio car when they were detailed to Ground Zero.
Kwiatkowski, 33, recently gave birth to a boy and is on maternity leave, her lawyer said.
"The decision to settle was made after weighing the costs of further litigating the case," said city lawyer Alan Schlesinger.
"We believe the settlement was in the best interest of the city."