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Slaying of Chicago Teen Casts Doubt on Body Cams Holding Police Accountable

Sputnik – 12.12.2015

Although President Barack Obama has pledged $263 million in federal grants to fund body cameras for police departments throughout the country, some still feel the effort will do little to hold officers accountable if they engage in suspicious or unlawful activity.

Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, points to the recent case of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old who was fatally shot last year by a police officer after he responded to a call about a man with a knife.

An officer’s dashboard camera captured footage of that incident. However, Chicago’s mayor and police commissioner struggled to keep those recordings away from the eyes of the public arguing the footage could interfere with the court case.

Following the efforts of journalists and lawyers, however, a judge finally forced city officials to release the video in November leading to the prosecution of Officer Jason Van Dyke for murder more than a year after the shooting.

“Many have suggested that the prosecution would never have come if the City had succeeded in keeping the video under wraps — an allegation that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alverez denies, but nevertheless casts doubt on the ability or willingness of the police, prosecutors or even the City administration to hold individual officers accountable unless forced to do so,” Schreibersdorf explained to the Huffington Post.

In many instances, city officials can fight to keep police body-camera footage from being seen by the public and defense attorneys.

In New York City, for example, body-camera recordings legally are categorized as an officer’s file making it difficult for defense attorneys to access it. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said that body camera footage would not be released to the public under any circumstances.

“That leaves us in the potential situation of receiving body camera footage only when it serves the NYPD and the prosecution, not when it exonerates our clients or incriminates an officer,” said Schreibersdorf. “Such a scheme favors neither justice nor accountability and is one that we, as public defenders, often the last line of defense against executive power, could never support.”

December 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

#RiseUpOctober protests against police killing civilians begin in New York

RT | October 22, 2015

CR7fdFbVEAATwtfHundreds gathered in New York City’s Times Square on Thursday, launching a three-day protest against officer-involved killings, brutality and mass imprisonment dubbed “Rise Up October.”

The three-day protest began Thursday morning with a “Say Their Names” rally. Hundreds gathered in midtown Manhattan to hear relatives speak about their loved ones who were killed by police officers over the past several years.

With the help of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, the rally was organized by Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party and author and activist Dr. Cornel West.

The organizers said their goal was to organize “mass determined resistance” to a “matrix of oppression.”

Among the celebrities who endorsed the rally was director Quentin Tarantino, who at one point shared the stage with actress Gina Belafonte.

Faith leaders from a number of religious communities supported the gathering.

Also in attendance at the rally were members of the Raging Grannies, the New York chapter of a global movement promoting peace, justice and social and economic equality.

Heavy police presence shadowed the event.

Thursday’s march ended with a rally in Brooklyn.

Friday morning will see the “Shut Down Rikers” protest, aimed against the city’s notorious prison, which is plagued by accusations of violence, brutality and sexual abuse.

The main event is scheduled for Saturday, October 24, with an 11 a.m. rally in lower Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, followed by a march to Bryant Park in midtown.

October 22, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Minority police officers sue NYPD over illegal arrest quotas

RT | September 2, 2015

A dozen black and Latino police officers are suing the New York Police Department and the city claiming that their bosses forced them to carry out illegal arrest quotas “against their own minority community.” The NYPD has denied ever using quotas.

The class action lawsuit, filed in the Manhattan federal court on Monday, argued that by forcing police officers to comply with the “illegal quota system,” New York City and the NYPD subjected black and Latino cops to unfair evaluations and discipline, according to the New York Post.

The suit also said performance evaluation was not evenly applied to all precincts. Police officers in precincts with lots of minorities had to make more arrests and issue more tickets than officers in “a precinct located in a predominantly white residential area,” the suit states.

The lawsuit cites testimony and news articles dating to 2010 that provide evidence of a quota system under former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The suit said quotas have remained under Commissioner Bill Bratton.

“The reality is that one year later, quotas remain alive and well and the NYPD is aggressively pursuing a numbers driven agenda with regard to arrests, tickets and summonses,” the suit reads.

The 12 named plaintiffs in the suit are all black and Latino NYPD officers who claim to have been penalized for reporting and complaining about “the illegal quotas and its racially discriminatory application against the minority community,” the suit states.

The suit alleges that police officers were being forced to make at least one arrest and issue 20 summonses a month.

The top NYPD spokesman told the Post that the department doesn’t use quotas.

“There are no numerical enforcement quotas established by the NYPD,” spokesman Stephen Davis said in a statement, according to the New York Post. “Performance evaluations are conducted for all department employees based on an assessment of their duties, responsibilities and specific conditions of their assignments.”

An NYC Law Department spokesman said the city would evaluate the merits of each of these claims and respond accordingly once they are served.

One of the lead plaintiff’s in the suit is Adhyl Polanco, a Latino police officer who first complained to the media in 2009 about how arrest and summons quotas affected communities of color. He testified in the high-profile federal stop-and-frisk case.

Polanco also filed a separate lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court on Monday against the NYPD and the city, according to the New York Daily News, claiming his whistleblowing about quotas and discrimination has resulted in a sustained campaign of retaliation by fellow police officers and management, including repeated suspensions, promotion denials and suggestions that he was mentally ill.

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

Video Shows NYPD Cop Brutalize 11-year-old Girl, Proves that he Lied Under Oath

By Justin Gardner | The Free Thought Project | July 23, 2015

New York, NY — Video has surfaced of a New York City police lieutenant assaulting an 11-year-old girl on a Bronx street corner. The incident happened six months after Eric Garner’s death but is now being brought to light after a battle with the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York.

In the video, the large male cop forced the girl against the wall, then grabs her around the neck and throws her to the pavement, where he back cuffs her before leading her away.

In a sworn statement, the police lieutenant lied about what happened, saying she “and I both slipped and fell to the ground. On the ground [she] continued to flail her arms and thrash her body, preventing me from placing handcuffs on her. We continued to struggle until I was eventually able to place handcuffs on [her].”

As we can see, no one slipped to the ground, and the girl was not flailing and thrashing.  It is pure brutality.  The assault appears to be another example of NYPD harassment in minority communities, perhaps motivated by racism, all too similar to the circumstances leading to Eric Garner’s death.

According to civil rights lawyer Bob Herbst, who is representing the family, the girl was simply an innocent bystander to a situation that could have been resolved peacefully.

“This past February, after school was out for the day, some boys from the school were throwing snowballs at a passing car. When the driver got out to yell at them — and put one of the boys in a headlock — his smartphone fell out of his pocket and another boy picked it up. Upon realizing his phone was gone, the driver chased down one of the boys and threatened to call the police if the phone was not returned, and when it was not forthcoming, he did, apparently using someone else’s phone.

This 6th grader — let’s call her Angie — and a classmate were walking from school to the bus stop when they saw some of this. They were bystanders who had nothing to do with either the snowballs or the phone. But as the police arrived, the girls exchanged words as to whether they should stay to watch, or go, and then took off running for a block before stopping.

The driver — the man in the white jacket with the knapsack in the video — seeing Angie running, suspected — wrongly — that she was part of the group and had his phone. He approached Angie and asked for his phone. She told him she didn’t have his phone.

Shortly thereafter, as the video starts, this police lieutenant crossed the street, motioning for Angie to come toward him, which she did.”

It seems that running away was enough for the enraged cop to brutalize the girl instead of peacefully ascertaining that she did not have the phone.

If this wasn’t enough for the girl’s psyche, the Corporation Counsel of the City of New York (which prosecutes Family Court proceedings) began a juvenile delinquency proceeding against her. This happened one month after the girl’s parents decided to file claims of police assault and battery and the use of excessive force. Since no action was taken against the girl for four months after the arrest, the proceeding raises the suspicion that the Counsel is retaliating after the family said they intended to sue.

Fortunately, the video was preserved by the noble shopkeeper who allowed it to be copied onto the mother’s phone, and this is what proved the cop to be a liar. The obvious unprovoked brutality will force the Counsel to dismiss the case in six months, according to Herbst.

The police lieutenant’s gross abuse of power and the city’s shameful attempt at prosecuting the 6th grade victim has put the girl in a state of psychic distress.

“Her parents report that she now talks and cries in her sleep, and sometimes sleep walks. She is scared of and avoids the police. She does not want to think about or talk about what happened to her. She stays home more, does not like to go outside, and her relationships with friends have changed as she has become more withdrawn.”

July 24, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Pro-Israel supporters rally in New York City against Iran nuclear agreement

Press TV – July 23, 2015

A group of pro-Israel protesters have held a rally in New York City against the recent nuclear conclusion between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.

The pro-Zionist protesters gathered in Times Square on Wednesday to demand that Congress veto the proposed agreement with Iran.

The organizers of the rally had advertised heavily in recent weeks and had hoped for a much larger turnout. The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside Israel.

The demonstrators said the nuclear deal is a threat to Israel and global security, but even the staunchest allies of Israel in the West see it as a step toward a more secure and peaceful world.

Iran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached a conclusion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14 in the Austrian capital of Vienna following days of intensive talks over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fiercely opposed any nuclear agreement.

Israel pressed lawmakers on Wednesday to block the deal, with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer meeting privately with a group of about 40 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

The nuclear accord does not need Congressional approval to take effect, but Republicans are expected to try and add provision with legislation that would block President Barack Obama from removing anti-Iran sanctions imposed by Congress.

The nuclear conclusion reached last week has been praised by world leaders, leaving Tel Aviv isolated.

July 23, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

NYPD Officer Waited 20 Minutes to Call for Help After “Accidentally” Shooting Akai Gurley

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By Cassandra Fairbanks | PINAC News | June 25, 2015

The rookie NYPD cop who shot and killed Akai Gurley in a stairwell last year waited almost 20 minutes to report the shooting, refusing to call for or provide medical assistance, as he bickered back and forth with his partner about who should be the one to call their sergeant.

Meanwhile, Gurley lay bleeding on a stairwell with a bullet wound to his chest, still breathing, while his girlfriend ran to a neighbor for help, according to a new document presented this week in the manslaughter trial of New York City police officer Peter Liang.

The statement of facts, presented by the district attorney in rebuttal to a motion from Liang’s defense attorney that the case be dismissed– offers the most detailed account of the shooting to date, describing the rookie officer being more concerned about keeping his job than keeping Gurley alive.

In the minutes after the shooting, Melissa Butler, never having been trained in CPR  before, kneeled over her boyfriend, applying pressure to the wound and administrating CPR as her neighbor remained on the phone with the 911 operator relaying instructions.

The cops, despite being trained in CPR and required as police officers to administer it when needed, stepped around them as they made their way down the stairs, still arguing about who should call the sergeant.

“Hurry up and call,” NYPD police officer Shawn Landau told Liang.

“What’s the address?” Liang asked his partner.

Liang finally reported the shooting at 11:19 p.m., almost 20 minutes after the shooting, estimated to have taken place a little after 11 p.m.

And five minutes after the neighbor had already called 911.

During that time, Liang also texted his union representative in a desperate attempt to save his job.

It all started on November 20, 2014 when Gurley, who was unarmed and not breaking any law, was visiting his girlfriend at the Brooklyn housing project she lived in.

NYPD officers Liang and Landau were on-duty patrolling the housing projects when they entered a darkened stairwell from the eighth floor to make their way downstairs.

Liang pulled out his gun before entering, even though he was not being threatened.

Meanwhile, Gurley and his girlfriend entered from the seventh floor after having waited for an elevator that never arrived.

Seconds later, Liang fired his gun, striking Gurley in the chest. Investigators said the bullet ricocheted off a wall before striking Gurley.

Fearing for their safety, Gurley and Butler ran down two flights of stairs but Gurley collapsed on the fifth-floor stairwell. Butler then ran down to the fourth floor where she knocked on the neighbor’s door for help.

“What the fuck happened,” Landau asked his partner.

“It went off by accident,” Liang responded, who then began repeatedly saying he would be fired.

The document states that Liang reported the shooting at exactly 11:19 and 46 seconds, followed by a series of follow-up reports to dispatch of an “accidental discharge.”

But New York City Police Lieutenant Vitaly Zelekov had already received a report at 11:15 p.m. that a man had been shot in the building, thanks to the neighbor’s call.

Minutes later, Zelekov arrived at the building as numerous other cops were arriving. He reached the fourth-floor landing and spotted Liang, asking him what had happened.

“I shot him accidentally,” Liang told him.

Zelekov took Liang’s gun, secured it in his waistband and made his way up to the fifth floor where he saw Butler attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Gurley.

Zelekov ordered another officer to relieve Butler, then radioed to dispatch to “rush the bus,” meaning to send an ambulance as soon as possible – the first time that night anybody had requested an ambulance.

That request was logged at 11:21 p.m. and seven seconds. Gurley was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 11:55 p.m.

Liang’s lawyer Stephen Worth told the New York Times that Liang was hyperventilating in the moments following the shooting, and was “too distraught” to help Butler attempt to save Gurley’s life, so therefore, charges should be dismissed.

But Justice Danny K. Chun rejected the motion to drop the charges against Liang, who is facing manslaughter in the second degree, criminally negligent homicide, assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, as well as two counts of official misconduct.

Officer Landau has not been charged for his role in Gurley’s death.

June 27, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

The Case Against Bill Bratton

By Josmar Trujillo | Black Agenda Report | March 12, 2014

The first two months of the City’s post-Bloomberg era have seen little in the way of “progressive changes to the New York Police Department. While new(ish) Mayor Bill de Blasio may have seen his honeymoon period come to an end with a few notable controversies in February, the once-again commissioner of the NYPD, Bill Bratton, has largely stayed above the fray as he strategically manages the media and helps steer an embattled police department through a reform storm — one of his specialties.

Policing activists cheered last year when a federal judge ruled that the NYPD was engaging in (at least) “indirect” racial profiling and that reforms, including a federal monitor to oversee changes to the department, were needed. The idea of federal oversight, beyond the scope of City Hall, was music to the ears of many who questioned if the City could reform a police force whose reach stretched overseas. An appeal by the City would be the main obstacle to the court-order remedies.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appeal of the Floyd v City of New York case was expected. Bloomberg was his famously unapologetic self to the very end. De Blasio, a self-proclaimed “progressive,” on the other hand, promised change and accountability for an NYPD that had been trampling the Constitution for years. Some activists, perhaps, felt they had an ally in de Blasio. After 12 years of Bloomberg, expectations for Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager were informed by a sense of optimism–leading some to take “wait and see” approaches. At the end of his first month in office de Blasio and Bratton joined policing activists, civil libertarians and plaintiffs in the Floyd case to announce, to much fanfare, that he would instruct the City’s lawyers to drop the Bloomberg administration’s appeal.

Of course, simply not being Michael Bloomberg wouldn’t suffice in putting the brakes on a growing trend of police abuse, surveillance and militarization. Substantive changes are desperately needed to relieve communities of color living in what many see as a racialized police state. De Blasio, apart from his campaign rhetoric and the media narrative, had been speaking a message of only moderate reform. So moderate that many wondered if he was serious about changing the NYPD in meaningful ways.

The Returning Conqueror

The most obvious pause for alarm for community members and activists came in December when de Blasio announced he’d be bringing back Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner, Bratton, for a 2nd run at the helm of the NYPD. Bratton is widely seen as the man who operationalized “Broken Windows” theory from an article in the Atlantic magazine into a philosophy that dominates law enforcement across the country today. His aggressive, pro-active approach, coupled with his introduction of CompStat, was the precursor to Stop and Frisk. A strange bedfellow for a “progressive” Mayor. For many who live in the front lines of aggressive policing, labels like “progressive” mean very little. Ditto for Stop and Frisk; police profiling and harassment of black and brown men is a time-honored tradition that preceded the policy. But the policy became a controversial issue the past few years and a central theme in last year’s mayoral election. De Blasio’s biracial son was featured in campaign ads touting his father as the only one who would “end the Stop and Frisk era.”

Bratton seemed an awkward choice to fulfill that pledge. Before the appointment, he said that cops who don’t do it “aren’t doing their job.” If you look back at Bratton’s cable TV appearances, his speeches and the philosophy of his little known consulting company, Bratton Group, he has never wavered from his support of the tactic. So far he’s been consistent: a few days into his second stint as commissioner, the famously media-savvy Bratton told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell that policing without Stop and Frisk is like a “journalist interviewing without asking questions.” In his most recent interview he said there’d be “anarchy” without it.

But New Yorkers were told that Bratton was different now than the Bratton of the past. A kinder, gentler Bratton wanted to save us from the excesses of the Ray Kelly era. Even Al Sharpton, who had famously been at odds with Bratton in the 90’s, gave his blessings to Bratton at an event honoring the late Nelson Mandela. An ACLU lawyer penned an op-ed in the New York Times praising Bratton. Bratton even met with his fiercest critics when he sat down with a small group of policing activists. It seemed many were willing to watch the Bratton sequel unfold–perhaps even support it. The architect of Stop and Frisk had also, to the outrage of some, invoked King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” at a recent MLK day celebration in Brooklyn.

Then Bratton laid out some of his cards. It was reported that Bratton was looking to bring on George Kelling as a consultant. Kelling, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute think tank, is both a friend of Bratton and one of the authors of the influential Atlantic magazine article that birthed “Broken Windows” theory and laid the framework for Stop and Frisk. Activists that had been tempered in their response to the Bratton appointment were now delivering some slightly stronger language as they criticized Bratton’s look to the past in shaping the NYPD’s future through the hiring of Kelling.

But whether you saw Bratton’s return as a change of direction from the approach of the Bloomberg-era, or as window dressing to business as usual, you couldn’t help but note that Bratton had now been linked with three police departments that have faced community outrage and subsequent legal challenges. Before re-joining the NYPD this year, Bratton had been hired (to significant protest) as a private consultant to the Oakland Police department, a department with a “pattern of resisting reform.” The OPD had been operating under a federal consent decree after scandal and corruption led to a legal settlement that required reforms. Before that he had been the police chief of the Los Angeles Police department, which had also been working under a federal consent decree following the infamous Ramparts scandals of the 90’s. In a case where both revolving-door and conflict of interest concerns were raised, he had just previously been working as a private consultant for Kroll Associates, the private independent monitor of the LAPD.

The fact that Bratton has been continually called in to help police departments navigate through legal oversight should raise questions for New Yorkers today who wonder if Bratton was brought in to reform or rebrand a police department that was facing legal and legislative pressure. A City Council bill that passed last summer would create potential oversight via the creation of an office of Inspector General for the NYPD. But this would be done under the auspices of the Mayor’s Department of Investigations and City Hall–offering a limited amount of independence. Similarly, the Floyd ruling called for a federal monitor to oversee reforms. But the de Blasio administration’s agreement with the Floyd plaintiffs made this a temporary role. Would a reform storm that activists, civil libertarians and outraged community members created in LA, Oakland and New York be something that Bratton would embrace–or simply get these troubled departments through

New York area activists of all stripes, but particularly those centered around policing, should keep in mind Bratton’s approach to protesters and marchers. Bratton’s LAPD violently quelled a May Day rally in 2007, and Bratton said he would have “cleared” protests in Wall Street “right away”–something not even Bloomberg or Ray Kelly did.

Bratton and The Media

Whether it’s stopping and frisking large numbers of young black or brown males in the City or cracking down on squeegee-men (both tactics derived from Broken Windows), aggressive policing is gospel and Bill Bratton is clearly the pastor of the flock. Still, as an article recently pointed out, while Bratton may have some moderate policy differences with his predecessor, Ray Kelly, he’s more concerned with rehabilitating the NYPD’s tattered image than anything.

How does he do this? He’s by far the most media-savvy commissioner of any department this City has probably ever seen. Even his counter-terrorism chief, John Miller, has media credentials that blur the lines between being a journalist and law enforcement spokesman. Miller was formerly a spokesperson for the FBI as well as a correspondent for CBS News. But Bratton’s best strategy is feeding the public quotes that suggest changes are in the works–but that inspire little hope upon closer inspection. He’s made clear that he’s “needed to use the media” to get “certain messages through.” The media is a willing partner in this regard.

Let’s take a closer look at the news from the end of Bratton’s first month back in office: A New York Times headline read “Bratton Says Rookies’ Role in Anticrime Effort Will End.” The local NY1 news channel reported “Bratton Wants NYPD Rookies Out of Operation Impact.” By those headlines you’d think Bratton was aiming to curb police harassment in frontline neighborhoods (and the backlash against it) by swapping out rookies with gracious, polite veterans. First off, the headlines were misleading–“Let me emphasize: Operation Impact is not going away. It is an essential tool” he said (echoing the fine print on Stop and Frisk “reform” he had also cautioned). Rookies will still go out to high-crime areas, he said, but they’ll be “mentored” first. It’s important to note that no policing activist had ever suggested replacing rookies with veterans (who may be more problematic in terms of profiling–it was commanding officers that pushed for quotas, as Bratton has conceded) would reform policing behavior. When one thinks of a dirty or aggressive cop, veterans may come to mind more often than rookies.

Then there was also a widely cited video message that Bratton posted to the Policeman’s Benevolent Association website. The PBA have been staunch defenders of Stop and Frisk since the Bloomberg administration and have been highly critical of reforms. They now, thanks to Bratton, also enjoy office space inside 1 Police Plaza–which might be a first for a civil service union. In the video, Bratton speaks to relying less on “numbers.” Media insisted he “bags bust quota” (an unspoken–and illegal–system that encourages cops to stop high numbers of people). But he never actually mentions quotas or explicitly says they shouldn’t be tolerated, although the impression is that he’s steering the department away from the numbers crunch.

But Bratton has always been about numbers. In fact, in an interview he did with NYU Professor Paul Romer (perhaps best known as an innovator of charter cities in the poorest regions of Latin America) a month before his appointment, Bratton points to computer “algorithms” as the next step forward for “predictive policing.” In 2009, under Bratton, the LAPD received a grant from the Department of Justice towards predictive policing technology. Any future computer programs ostensibly “predicting” crime would owe much to the legacy of Bratton and CompStat, the data driven computer policing program he introduced in New York during the 90’s. That was all about numbers. So in spite of his video message, Bratton seems very comfortable with both numbers and technology (Bratton has also recently joined Twitter).

But few public figures or voices in the media are willing to probe “America’s Supercop” very much. Not only has Bratton and his philosophy come to dominate our City (and nation) through an echo chamber of uncritical media and politicians, they resemble the talking points of previous commissioner Ray Kelly. For starters, de Blasio and Bratton’s insistence that Stop and Frisk not be ended is based largely in an argument that there is a correlation between aggressive policing and crime reduction; that without Stop and Frisk and Muslim surveillance the City would descend into New Jack City, or that we’d have another 9/11. This is almost indistinguishable from the prevailing logic of the Bloomberg/Kelly era–and isn’t clearly supported by evidence. Upon closer inspection, de Blasio and Bratton’s approach tries to encapsulate the political rhetoric that said the previous administration was too cavalier–but without undermining its logic.

Fear of a city descending into a crime-ridden replay of the past may have indeed led to the hiring of a figure of the past in Bratton. Fear is a prime ingredient for a highly policed society and it clearly makes the appointment of a controversial figure like Bratton easier to swallow for some. But it also demands media coverage that defers to the celebrity and expertise of Bratton–rarely asking tough questions. Bratton does his part by carefully managing his words, saving substantive discussions for closed-door speeches. Some may remember that it was Bratton’s media-mastery that was at the root of his ouster from Giuliani’s NYC in the 90’s.

Bratton 2.0

Research tells us that communities of color will usually be disproportionately dealt the receiving end of police profiling and brutality. If they are being sold a rebranded NYPD–one that emphasizes “collaborative” policing over constitutional policing–by a recycled Bratton, it is important to understand how that translates onto the streets, not just in press conferences.

Two weeks into the job, Bratton announced that Stop and Frisk was “more or less solved” and cited data from the Bloomberg era that suggested the practice was already in decline (statistically) since 2013. If true, then candidate de Blasio’s rhetoric to reign in Bloomberg and Kelly’s abuse of the policy was at odds with Bratton’s analysis. Had Bloomberg already reformed the NYPD in 2013? Then why the political rhetoric?

Crime statistics can be politicized depending on what the political climate is and what the incentives are. Robert Gangi from Police Reform Operation Project recently remarked that any figures provided by the NYPD about itself should be taken with a healthy skepticism. The Chief-Leader, a weekly civil service newspaper catered to cops, firefighters and other civil servants, has also written about politicized policing statistics. There is, also, the possibility that some officers simply won’t document all stops or interactions. Of course this is hard to prove and would require in-depth, independent studies. In a recent article the New York Times revealed that officers already fail to properly report friskings of drivers they pull over.

That Times article was also revealing in the context of Vision Zero, de Blasio and Bratton’s new initiative to crack down on drivers and pedestrians in the name of traffic safety. Public safety is often trumpeted when expansions of police power are rolled out. What in foreign policy is described as pre-emptive war can translate domestically into proactive policing. Who could oppose a plan to reduce traffic deaths–or keep ourselves safe from terror? But if police were focusing their attention on drivers and pedestrians with the latest enforcement crackdown, then what might the long term implications for New Yorkers be? In February, de Blasio placed a phone call to police officials after a member of his Transition Team, a black Brooklyn-based pastor and political ally, was jailed following an improper left turn stop by police.

While the Mayor took heat for the call and for a what many saw as a hypocritical driving detail that ran stop signs and sped over limit, Bratton’s NYPD was recovering from its own scandal in January when an elderly Chinese immigrant was roughed up and bloodied by cops after being targeted for jaywalking. Ironically it was the notoriously conservative New York Post that criticized the police crackdown–even as they have unabashedly championed aggressive policing most other times. In a recent interview George Kelling linked Vision Zero to Broken Windows as a “new threshold in terms of order maintenance.” He also may have inadvertently given an insight into the initiative’s other motivating factors: a crackdown on small crimes (jaywalking for pedestrians; improper turns and lane changes for drivers) as a “pathway” to uncovering other criminal behavior–what he called “side benefits.”

Amid the brewing controversies, it was becoming clear that Broken Windows was still the basis for policing in the five boroughs.

While for many New Yorkers, the term Stop and Frisk had become a dinnertime conversation topic, what did people know about Broken Windows? Back in September, de Blasio the candidate proclaimed himself a believer in the theory. Does it work? If you go by most mainstream media and Bratton, it’s death, taxes and Broken Windows. Criminologists and researchers aren’t too sure. In 2006, Bratton and Kelling reacted angrily in a written response for the conservative National Review magazine to academic research that had poked holes in their theory. In 2004, now-deceased James Q. Wilson, Kelling’s Broken Windows article co-author, tried to explain that “I still to this day do not know if improving order will or will not reduce crime… people have not understood that this was speculation.”

This year, in an apparent attempt to restore “order” in the City’s subway system, Bratton’s NYPD, along with the MTA, planned to make homeless sweeps in the subways. Bratton was known in the 90’s to target homeless New Yorkers and squeegee men with his quality of life policies. He had continued that trend with the LAPD in Skid Row where harsh quality of life crackdowns (like targeting homeless people for being on public grass) and gang injunctions raised questions of discrimination in the service of gentrification. The former transit top cop also targeted the transit system with his policies. In a recent article for the Times, spikes in arrests of panhandlers and peddlers included immigrant women selling Churros (Mexican pastries) in subway stations. It was clear that for Bratton some habits die hard.

But Bratton’s most recent homeless sweeps plans met outrage and push-back from community groups. A few grassroots groups, led by Picture The Homeless, a homeless-led advocacy organization, planned an action that apparently forced authorities to back off the early morning operation. In LA, Bratton’s policies had also met resistance from groups like the LA Community Action Network. So in spite of the generally fawning media coverage and relative ease with which he transitioned back into 1 Police Plaza, some activists were ready to oppose Bratton the commissioner as many had done to Bratton the consultant in Oakland and even Detroit. But would it be enough?

Most recently Mr. Bratton and the Mayor revealed a 7-point plan that instructed police officers to be more positive and courteous in their interactions with community members. Bratton indicated cops would be trained in “verbal judo.” And again this points to what is packaged as reform by the NYPD. Will training police along the lines of customer service reps (or verbal martial artists) address the constitutional concerns raised over the last few years? Lessons in civility sidestep demands that officers adhere to the standards of the Supreme Court’s Terry V. Ohio ruling. As noted civil rights attorney Norman Siegel pointed out, reforming Stop and Frisk wasn’t about a magic number of stops or simply the graciousness of police officers; it was about the legality of the stop. Kind words and improved language also wouldn’t make police accountable for abuses of power up to and including fatal shootings of unarmed New Yorkers–of which there were dozens during Bratton’s first stint.

But perhaps least inspiring is that this new initiative isn’t new–NYPD 2020 was spearheaded by Ray Kelly in the prior administration.

The World As a Battlefield

Apart from Bratton’s domestic resume, there are also some pretty telling indicators abroad.

Since the 90’s, Bratton’s police work has taken him across oceans. In 2001, Bratton was a special consultant to the capital of Venezuela when a failed coup d’etat briefly removed Hugo Chavez from the presidency. Bratton and the local police chief were at the helm when 17 pro-Chavez protesters were shot by police before Chavez returned, jailed the chief and sent Bratton packing. In 2007, Bratton tapped an LAPD Lieutenant who studied counterterrorism at Hosni Mubarak’s Egyptian National Police Academy to head that DOJ grant on predictive policing. In 2011, Bratton was in talks with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to help advise the police crackdown on race riots in London that were sparked by the police shooting death of a black man.

Finally, both Bratton and the Mayor share an affinity for Israel. De Blasio fancies his role as Mayor as one of a “defender of Israel.” Bratton, meanwhile, forged a “close relationship” with the controversial government while on official visits for the LAPD to browse through its counterterrorism technologies. It’s safe to say the Israeli government sees most matters of security and policing through a prism of anti-terrorism and militarism, but numerous human rights groups and scholars also say that Israel engages in racial apartheid. A region marred by violence, military checkpoints and concentrated poverty; Israel and the occupied territories is a true Tale of Two Cities. New Yorkers, particularly those that find themselves in communities of color, should take note.

Josmar Trujillo is an organizer with New Yorkers Against Bratton.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“High-rise Safety Initiative” exposes 9/11 truth

By Dr. Kevin Barrett | Press TV | March 3, 2014

Do not ever set foot inside a tall building.

According to the US government, steel-frame high-rise buildings can suddenly crumble to dust for no apparent reason, plunging at free-fall acceleration straight into the ground.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) asserts that World Trade Center Building 7, a 47-story high-rise, imploded at 5:20 p.m. on the afternoon of September 11th, 2001 due to modest office fires of undetermined origin. According to NIST, these small fires somehow triggered a new physical phenomenon, unknown to science before 9/11/2001, called “thermal expansion.”

The results looked exactly like a classic controlled demolition.

If NIST were right, skyscrapers everywhere would be in danger of imploding at any time – all it would take would be a few small office fires.

Can tall buildings really just implode? A group of New Yorkers, led by 9/11 victims’ family members, wants to find out. NYCcan.org is launching a campaign called the High Rise Safety Initiative. If passed, the Initiative would force the New York Department of Buildings to investigate the collapse of World Trade Center Building 7. Such an investigation would almost certainly conclude that the official story of Building 7’s “collapse” is preposterous.

NIST’s report on WTC-7 is so obviously false that even Dr. Frank Greening – the only independent scientist who has ever made a serious effort to support the government’s position on the destruction of the World Trade Center – finds it ridiculous. Greening, formerly the go-to scientist for the so-called debunkers, is now a WTC-7 “conspiracy theorist.” So is virtually everyone else who has studied the demise of WTC-7.

So the good news is that nobody, not even pro-government people like Frank Greening, really believes NIST’s absurd claims about Building 7. That means that skyscrapers are not likely to start falling down due to wastebasket fires any time soon. “Thermal expansion” is almost certainly a myth – a complete and utter non-threat to the structural integrity of skyscrapers.

But the bad news is that skyscrapers really can suddenly implode at any time: They can be illegally destroyed in permit-free, unregulated demolitions by organized crime networks. And those deceptive demolitions can be disguised as “terrorist attacks” with the complicity of government insiders.

Larry Silverstein, a reputed organized crime figure with links to the Israeli and American governments, purchased the condemned-for-asbestos World Trade Center skyscrapers in July 2001. The first thing he did was to double the WTC’s terror insurance policy and hardball the insurers into changing the terms to “cash payout.”

After spending about $15 million of his own money to buy the condemned buildings, two months later – on September 11th, 2001 – “Lucky Larry” hit the jackpot. Controlled demolitions were conducted without permits, without asbestos removal, and without emptying the Twin Towers of people. Silverstein collected $4.6 billion dollars in cash from his insurers, plus rights to rebuild.

Silverstein’s televised admission that he “pulled” or demolished World Trade Center 7 makes him the worst self-confessed insurance fraud criminal in world history.

A few years after demolishing the World Trade Center and collecting billions of “double-indemnity” insurance dollars based on the bizarre notion of two completely separate and unrelated terrorist attacks – the two planes – Silverstein used his ill-gotten gains to purchase Chicago’s Sears Tower. Shortly thereafter, Silverstein hired Kroll Security, a company implicated in both the 9/11 and anthrax attacks, to guard his new high-rise icon.

The Sears Tower and other skyscrapers really could implode at any time for no apparent reason.

Thousands of lives really are at risk.

The High Rise Safety Initiative, sponsored by NYCcan.org, could help prevent future skyscraper disasters. A new investigation into the destruction of Building 7 could look at all the evidence, including:

*Eyewitness testimony that a countdown to demolition was broadcast over police radio during the seconds before the “collapse” of Building 7.

*Eyewitness testimony that preparatory pre-demolition explosions gutted WTC-7 on the morning of 9/11 before either Tower had collapsed.

*Videotaped proof that WTC owner Larry Silverstein confessed to demolishing WTC-7 on national television.

*Videotaped proof that the BBC and CNN erroneously reported the “collapse” of WTC-7 shortly before it happened, showing that those networks were reading scripts prepared by 9/11 conspirators but mistimed their script-reading.

The lead spokesperson for NYCcan.org’s High-rise Safety Initiative is Bob McIlvaine, who lost his son Bobby when the North Tower of the World Trade Center exploded in ten seconds into thousands of tons of sub-100-micron dust, along with some grit and gravel-sized particles.

McIlvaine knows that the Twin Towers did not collapse; they exploded. (See the youtube video “North Tower Exploding” showing the explosions)

Bob McIlvaine knows that more than 1000 victims of the explosive demolitions of the Twin Towers did not leave behind so much as the tiniest sliver of bone. They were blasted to dust. Even the meticulous sifting and bucketing of WTC debris could not even find a sliver of fingernail from any of these 1000-plus people.

Other people who were blown to smithereens in the tremendous explosions that destroyed the Twin Towers did leave behind traces of themselves – and absolute, smoking gun proof that the buildings did not fall, but were blown up. That proof consists of the tiny splinters of human bone that were found all over the roof of the Deutsche Bank building, across the street from the World Trade Center, a few years ago.

Bob McIlvaine and the other family members of 9/11 victims deserve the truth about what happened to their loved ones. Only truth and justice can bring them inner peace. And only truth and justice can stop the neocons war on the world and establish world peace. The High Rise Safety Initiative, sponsored by NYCcan.org, could be an important step in that direction.

March 3, 2014 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cop Harasses Photographer, Steals His Cellphone Battery And Attempts To Get YouTube To Pull The Incriminating Video

By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | February 24, 2014

Recording a police officer in public isn’t a crime. Well, it isn’t anything a cop can cite or arrest you for doing. Instead, a bunch of vague infractions are listed in hopes that something will stick and deter future citizen recordings.

Shawn Randall Thomas, a New York photographer, was approached by NYPD officer Efrain Rojas when he noticed Thomas filming another officer’s interaction with a turnstile jumper in a subway station. “Approached” is putting it mildly. Rojas confronted Thomas and got physical when the photographer refused to stop filming.

A New York City cop beat up and arrested a man for video recording him inside a subway station from 30 feet away Saturday night, walking up to him and getting in his face all while claiming the man was invading his personal space…

Thomas also obtained footage from another man who had recorded Rojas with his knees on Thomas’ back as he lay face down on the sidewalk just outside the sub station, seconds after Rojas had bashed his face into the pavement, busting his lip.

The injury was so bad that they had to transport him to the hospital twice during his 24-hour incarceration where doctors described him as a victim of assault.

As if the impromptu “use of force” wasn’t enough, Thomas was also charged with the following:

[Thomas] is still facing charges of resisting arrest, trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing government…

Here’s the video:

Note that Rojas had to come over to where Thomas was filming (nearly 30 feet away) in order to be “obstructed.” Note also that Thomas was filming in a public location, where it’s almost impossible to “trespass.” And note that the de rigueur “resisting arrest” is included only because Thomas didn’t apply his own handcuffs, hoof it to the nearest cruiser and slide into the back seat.

Here’s the description of “resisting arrest” from the arrest report itself:

Deponent further states that, at the above time and place, defendant did resist a lawful arrest by crossing defendants’ arm across defendant’s chest while deponent attempted to place defendant in handcuffs.

But it gets worse. Officer Rojas apparently grabbed Thomas’ cellphone and either deleted the footage or removed the battery in order to prevent Thomas from filming any further. (PINAC’s account of this event mentions “deletion” and Thomas using Recuva to recover the deleted footage, but the description of events only says Rojas took Thomas’ phone and pocketed the battery.) Thomas then took out his backup phone (a Blackberry) and tried to continue filming, at which point Rojas “knocked the phone out of [Thomas’] hand” and slammed him to the ground.

Either way, Rojas made an effort to prevent any further filming. The incident report filed by Rojas makes no mention of the fact that he seized a cellphone and either deleted footage or seized the phone’s battery. He also undermines the charge of trespassing by noting the area where Thomas was filming was public, which is contrary to Rojas’ filmed assertion that Thomas was “violating” his “personal space.”

Apparently, Rojas wasn’t done with feeling “violated” by Thomas’ filming. According to PINAC’s Facebook page, Officer Rojas filed a privacy complaint asking YouTube to remove the video. YouTube, fortunately, turned his request down, which means that Rojas will now have to deal with a recording that contradicts (or severely weakens) many of the claims he made in his sworn statements (the arrest report).

As PINAC and Thomas point out, the obstruction charge is especially baseless, given Thomas’ distance from the officers (approx. 30 feet compared to the report’s “close proximity”) and the fact that the entire situation appears to be completely under control by the time Officer Rojas arrives. Rojas seems to be the only cop there who viewed Thomas and his camera as somehow interfering with police business. Rojas then abandons his “partner” — who is presumably dealing with an actual criminal — solely to harass someone with a camera. If nothing else, Rojas has problems with prioritizing, giving the non-criminal (and protected) act of filming precedence over an actual law enforcement work.

Officer Rojas had multiple paths to take when he noticed a citizen filming him performing his public duties in a public place. Unfortunately, he decided to take the well-worn path and violate the rights of the photographer. And like many others, this decision has done nothing more than heap more negative publicity on the police department and the officer involved. The correct response — ignore it and do your job — still remains largely untested.

February 24, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , | 1 Comment

NYPD a ‘quasi-military organization,’ according to outgoing top-cop Ray Kelly

RT | December 31, 2013

During the last few hours of a lengthy tenure atop the New York Police Department tainted by both scandal and success, outgoing-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly echoed soon-to-be-ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg with big words about the city’s boys in blue.

Bloomberg provoked a fair share of criticism from Big Apple residents in late 2011 when he said, “I have my own army in the NYPD . . . the seventh biggest army in the world.”

Two years later and new comments from Commissioner Kelly might make the same sort of splash.

The increased militarization of the NYPD and other big city police agencies had already caused concern among many by the mayor’s remarks that November, but both Bloomberg and Kelly’s handling of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in Lower Manhattan that autumn and into the winter attracted previously unmatched opposition. Within just a few short months the city had arrested hundreds of peaceful protesters, and tales from Occupiers about being pepper-sprayed by the police became routine over social media.

Two years later, the NYPD’s reputation has not been repaired: the agency’s stop-and-frisk policy remains as controversial as ever, and an award-winning Associated Press report exposed a secretive intelligence-gathering wing of the force that singled out area Muslims for warrantless surveillance.

Now as he throws in the towel after serving as the civilian administrator of the NYPD for 14 of the last 24 years, Kelly has said something that doesn’t shy away from accusations he helped use his police force to make a police-state.

The New York Times was questioning what they called Kelly’s “tight control of the department” when he reportedly looked “pained” and told them, “You can’t win.”

“Obviously, in a quasi-military organization, you need an ultimate decision maker,” he said.

Ominous words about the world’s seventh-biggest army, or an actualization of what the NYPD has become under his command? The New York City blog Politicker was quick to throw Kelly’s quote into a headline for a post they published on Tuesday, and one of the most widely-subscribed Twitter accounts used by Occupy Wall Street linked followers to the Times article by way of Kelly’s quip.

“Oh, so he doesn’t know what ‘quasi’ means,” one Twitter user remarked back.

Rania Khalek, an independent journalist who watched the NYPD evolve under Kelly, weighed in on the comment as well.

“I was surprised by his candidness, but my first thought was, at least’s being honest,” she told RT on Tuesday. “The role of the NYPD, like most city police departments around the country, is indistinguishable from that of the military, especially in poor communities of color where police serve as occupying armies for the most part.”

And as the AP’s investigation has shown, ethnic minorities in the greater New York region have indeed been forced to endure specialized scrutiny under Kelly and Bloomberg by way of the NYPD’s so-called Demographics Unit: a faction of the force dedicated to collecting intelligence on Muslims by seemingly any means necessary.

“Investigations of any community which are not based upon indications of crime create fear and erode the confidence of a community in the power of a legal system to protect it,” New York University law professor Paul Chevigny told Newsday earlier this year.

Combined with an “army” of 35,000 or so police officers, it’s easy to see how that fear has made Kelly a person that many New Yorkers have grown to despise during his tenure. Additionally, retired NYPC Captain John A. Eterno told the Times this week that the way in which the commissioner has operated his organization in recent years has been cloaked in secrecy to a point of contention.

“He’s done very well with technology and made many innovations,” Eterno told the Times, “But lack of transparency is going to be his legacy.”

“He’s simply hidden things over and over that are harmful to democratic policing,” he said.

In a 1995 study, Victor Kappeler wrote in his abstract that the quasi-military structure that Kelly claims to have enforced cannot breed a “truly professional” police force. The “need to balance internal discipline with police-citizen interactions results in pressure on the individual officer to produce results,” he wrote, is accomplished in militarized units “often by relying on various degrees of misconduct.”

Between 2011 and 2012, misconduct within the ranks of the NYPD raised 22 percent, Controller John Liu confirmed back in June, causing a reported 229 NYPD officers to be disciplined last year.

At the same time, however, statistics suggest that the NYPD’s actual ability to fight crime could be on the up as well. The Times reported on Tuesday that the city is expect to log only 330 murders for this year — a record low.

“And these record-breaking successes are all due in great part to the professionalism and skill of the NYPD,” Bloomberg said during a ceremony earlier this month.

Others, however, had not so nice things to say. To commemorate Kelly’s last day as commissioner of NYPD, a few dozen New Yorkers gathered downtown for a “Good Riddance, Ray Kelly” party advertised on Facebook.

“We’re celebrating because we survived this asshole,” activist Cyrus McGoldrick told the New York Daily News from Tuesday’s demonstration.

As RT reported previously, Kelly will soon join the Council on Foreign Relations — a dominant international policy think-tank — where he will still be able to stay close to his fellow New Yorkers. Even in his post-NYPD career, Kelly will receive a taxpayer-funded ten-man security detail that is reported to cost NYC residents around $1.5 million a year.

January 1, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

DeBlasio, Bratton and the Ongoing Criminalization of Youth in New York City

By ZHANDARKA KURTI | CounterPunch | December 6, 2013

Today, standing in front of news-cameras and press, newly elect mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio responds to the grievances of stop and frisk critics and progressive non-profits groups by appointing ‘America’s Top Cop,’ William Bratton as chief commissioner of the New York City Police Department. This is a slap in the face for many liberals across the city as their dreams of a progressive mayor are quickly dashed. Yet, for the few community activists that have not sold their hopes to city electoral politics, the appointment of Bratton signals the state response to dissent and a reaffirmation of the role of police in the neoliberal era with new points of interest, namely the criminalization of youth across New York City.

Now 66 years old, Bratton, admonished by many as “America’s Top Cop” comes back to the city that in the 1990s gave him the free pass to practice his zero-tolerance policing strategies, albeit, back then under a republican mayor. Some may question de Blasio’s decision. Given the tensions that have mounted recently against stop and frisk, why appoint someone that is so closely tied to this particular form of ‘quick-fix’ policing that continues to alienate communities of color?

Broken-windows policing was the brainchild of social science. James Q. Wilson and William Kelling in a 1982 article in The Atlantic proposed that eradicating graffiti, loitering, and other outward signs of community decay would effectively make communities safer and simultaneously address future crimes. The theory was taken up and applied by William Bratton, in his tenures as police chief in New York City in the 1990s and Los Angeles in 2000s. Since then the relationship between broken windows policing and crime rates has been debunked. Bernard Harcourt for example, in his book The Illusion of Order, challenges the correlation often drawn by criminologists between crime and disorder.  It is also important to note that broken windows theory, also known as zero tolerance policing became the main form of policing strategy as neoliberal agenda was being consolidated. The consequences of zero tolerance policing have been documented far and wide from heightened surveillance to harassment, police brutality, over-arrests and overall dehumanization of poor communities and communities of color. Zero-tolerance policing has effectively allowed the NYPD to practice search and stops that are similar to the counterinsurgency military techniques of ‘cordon and search’ used in Afghanistan.

So given the way in which Bratton was instrumental in implementing zero tolerance policing, out of which ‘stop and frisk’ is an aspect of, why assign him again to the task of overseeing the NYPD?

Before we get angry at DeBlasio for failing to fulfill the role that many liberals across the city have boxed him into, let us recall the mainstream response to stop and frisk policing by the “progressive” elements of NYC.

On February 4th, 2012 at a rally in the South Bronx for the beating of Jatiek Reed and the murder of Rahmarley Graham, city council members and progressive officials took the opportunity to get on the microphone and to speak against stop and frisk and to criticize the NYPD for the egregious assault of one young man and the murder of another. While politicians gave speeches on end, no one from the community was invited to speak about their experiences with the NYPD. Furthermore, the rhetoric remained one that was critical of ‘stop and frisk’ but supportive of the role that police play in combating crime. Take Back the Bronx along with other activists drew attention away from the banter of the politicians to the heart of the matter by chanting: “Fuck the NYPD.” The real problem community members shouted was not only ‘stop and frisk’: the real enemy was the NYPD.  The angry politicians tried to quiet the voices, but it was too late. The community members attending the march already left the politicians behind, chanting and taking over the streets of the South Bronx. This is a unique response to stop and frisk and to policing in general that is missing from progressive mainstream accounts.

Instead, the progressive activists and their non-profits have hijacked the discourse and have focused their energies on reforming the NYPD. Examples of this abound from so-called progressive East Flatbush councilmember Jumaane Williams to coalitions like Communities United for Police Reform (which includes many progressive non-profit groups throughout NYC). Together, they have been fundamental in channeling a radical critique of the NYPD to one that has boiled down to essentially legislative reform.

So, I wonder if these same groups will be surprised today as Bratton “the father of community policing” is called up to the task of overseeing the NYPD?

It may seem confusing to try to pinpoint why Bratton is hired at a moment when ‘stop and frisk’ has come under such scrutiny. Yet when we look at developments in Chicago and Oakland the picture is clearer.

Recently, in Oakland community groups came together to challenge City Council’s decision to hire Bratton as a consultant for its police department. In Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel[1] has openly embraced broken windows policing as a way to deal with violence. While politicians and their middle-class supporters cite violence as one of the main reasons for the need for heightened police presence, they do not look deeper to see the ways in which neoliberalism has affected Chicago, Oakland and New York City. Neoliberal re-structuring has displaced thousands. In neighborhoods that continue to ‘hold out’ and whose location is prime target for developers the only people that stand in the way are the youth. So, what we see in places like Chicago, Oakland and increasingly New York City is a focus on criminalization of youth, particularly street families or as the police likes to call them: gangs.

In Oakland, Bratton’s hire as a consultant for the police department was proposed at a time when community groups were heavily fighting gang injunctions, youth curfews etc. Similarly, in New York City, his appointment as Chief Commissioner of NYPD comes at time of increased scrutiny of police practices.  The state is making a particular choice when it hires Bratton as chief commissioner of the NYPD. It is responding to its critics and is clamping down on them. Bratton is coming into New York City at time when the NYPD is turning its attention to youth gangs like never before. In the next year, we will see the state focus more of its forces more heavily on criminalization of youth. What will be our response?

Zhandarka Kurti lives in the Bronx. She can be reached at zh.kurti@gmail.com

December 6, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment