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Entries in jazz hayden (13)
By: Joseph "Jazz" Hayden
At a recent event against drug prohibition I was asked to speak, as I was asked to speak the year before. Well, my views on drug prohibition have been consistently consistent----prohibition is sheer bull---t! It is my opinion that the entire narrative around drugs in this country (and the world) has to be changed. For far too long we have framed the discussion in terms of law and public policy. It is time for a change because that conversation is not going anywhere. The conversation has to be reframed in terms of “human rights” and an individuals inalienable right to choose what he/she can put in their bodies. Noone should have the power to tell another human being what they can and cannot put in their bodies. Each one of us is trapped in the “castle of our skins” for the duration of our short stay on this planet. We feed, exercise, clothe, house, and take care of our bodies 24/7. I watch the pharmaceutical commercials on television and I am amazed at the glaring contradictions in the way that pharmaceutical drugs are treated and the way that so-called “illicit” drugs are treated. A pharmaceutical drug that has one possible beneficial effect, and fifteen side effects that can maim or kill you is presented to potential customers who are given this information so that they can make a choice. The provision of all research information to the potential consumer and the leaving of the decision up to them is the way that all drugs should be treated. Why isn’t this universally applied? Why do we have so many human beings in cages for simply “self-medicating”, making choices about what to put in their bodies? How do we rationalize designating them as “criminals” and branding them as second class citizens for the rest of their lives? This is madness! The human cost of this failed policy is horrendous! The economic cost is off of the charts…
Drug War Statistics
Did you know....
Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000
Number of people arrested in 2011 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.53 million
Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2011: 757,969
- • Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 663,032 (87 percent)
Number of Americans incarcerated in 2011 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,266,800 or 1 in every 99.1 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world
Fraction of people incarcerated for a drug offense in state prison that are black or Hispanic, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 2/3
Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 18 + District of Columbia
Estimated annual revenue that California would raise if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana: $1,400,000,000
Number of people killed in Mexico's drug war since 2006: 70,000+
Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+
Number of people in the U.S. that died from an accidental drug overdose in 2009: 31,758
Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that syringe access programs lower HIV incidence among people who inject drugs by: 80 percent
One-third of all AIDS cases in the U.S. have been caused by syringe sharing: 354,000 people
U.S. federal government support for syringe access programs: $0.00, thanks to a federal ban reinstated by Congress in 2011 that prohibits any federal assistance for them
Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping honor, All Things Harlem Founder, Joseph "Jazz" Hayden with Sainthood for his work on ending Stop & Frisk.
The new form of slavery has the same intent and purpose as the old: to rob us of our labor and to keep us powerless.
By: Joseph "Jazz" Hayden
THIS IS African History Month. For the past week, I have been watching and re-watching The Abolitionists, a two and a half-hour documentary on PBS. It covers the abolitionist movement from the early 19th century to the Reconstruction period.
Watching the dynamics of that struggle for the ending of slavery had me glued to the screen and taking notes. The chief players were William Lloyd Garrison, the publisher of the anti-slavery newspaper, The Liberator; Nat Turner, who led am 1831 slave rebellion that killed slave owners and freed slaves; Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin; and Frederick Douglass, former slave, orator, publisher of the North Star and organizer. Oh, and the most prominent figure, Abraham Lincoln.
The Abolitionists is a historical documentary about the struggle to end slavery. The ending of the most brutal war in American history and the passage of the 13th Amendment were supposed to be the definitive ending of that period in American history. However, when I look back from the perspective of the present, I am confronted with the question: What has changed? I can't avoid the answer: Very little.
Victory for Jazz Hayden!
By: Brian Jones
Facing up to 14 years in prison for 2 felony counts of weapon possession discovered during a traffic stop, Joseph “Jazz” Hayden emerged from court this morning with an ACD (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal), a small fine, 5 days of community service.
Anyone who has followed this case knows that the charges were bogus. The “weapons” were a small pen knife and a miniature commemorative baseball bat. In reality, these charges were nothing but retaliation for Jazz’s activism to expose the brutal reality of the NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” policy.
The ACD and community service really only serve to allow the District Attorney to save face. The fact is every day is community service for Jazz, which is why so many people showed up time after time to these court appearances. Jazz is a 71 year old activist who has been doggedly documenting police behavior in Harlem. His case has been discussed widely in the media.
Outside the courtroom, Jazz smiled and thanked his supporters. “This victory is because of y’all,” he said, “your protest, your phone calls, your petitions, and your presence here. I love you.”
The feeling is mutual.
Here is a video of some sites and sounds from the African American Day Parade in Harlem on September 16, 2012. Video filmed by Jazz Hayden.
Keep Jazz Free - Delivery of Petitions and Letters Telling DA Cyrus Vance to Drop the Charges Against Jazz Hayden
Delivery of over 2,000 petitions and letters telling DA Cyrus Vance to drop the charges against Jazz Hayden.
EMERGENCY! Jazz Hayden's Freedom is On the Line
Two Urgent Actions to Keep Jazz Free:
THURSDAY: GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS TO INDICT JAZZ!
Thursday, September 13th, 8:30 am -1 Hogan Place
(near Centre and Worth Streets, around the corner from courthouse at 100 Centre Street; Trains: 4/5/6/N/R to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall; Q to Canal; A/C/J/Z to Chambers)
Join us at the press conference & rally
And earlier in the week...
TUESDAY: CALL-IN DAY TO KEEP JAZZ FREE!
Call Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance's office: Attorney William Darrow, tel. 212-335-9192
Tell Darrow to Drop the Charges Against Jazz Hayden! We want to keep Jazz Free!
This is an urgent week in the campaign to keep Jazz free! Despite over 2,000 of us raising our voices, and despite the obviously retaliatory nature of the charges, District Attorney Cyrus Vance has re-affirmed he intends to pursue an indictment at the Grand Jury hearing this Thursday.
Jazz is a 71-year old grandfather and community activist, unflinchingly devoted to defending the people of Harlem and New York from the racist police humiliation and brutality communities of color experience on a daily basis. The NYPD and the courts are using bogus weapons charges to try to silence his cop watch activities and send a chilling message to the rest of us. Jazz is facing a possible 14 years in prison.
TURN OUT ON SEPTEMBER 13!! We need to send a strong message to jurors and the prosecutors as they enter the courthouse: WE STAND BY JAZZ HAYDEN!
CALL THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY ON SEPTEMBER 11!! Take just two minutes on Tuesday to flood their phone lines with one clear message: drop the trumped-up charges against Jazz Hayden! Call Attorney William Darrow at 212-335-9192 and tell him to stop persecuting Jazz for his community service!
Sign Jazz's petition and learn more about his case at www.freejazzhayden.wordpress.com
Our youth are turning to law enforcement because it offers them the best job opportunity, not because of a desire to serve the people. One student even told me that he "hates" the police but he doesn't see an alternative.
Jazz Hayden along with a large group of supporters packed Manhattan Criminal Courthouse inside and out on the morning of July 31, 2012. They were there demanding that District Attorney Cyrus Vance drop the charges against Jazz Hayden. The charges against Jazz are seen to be retaliation for his filming and scrutiny of police activities in the Harlem community.
The Judge set another date for Jazz's case on October 11, 2012 in anticipation of a grand jury indictment. The grand jury will be convened sometime during September (TBA). The supporters plan to mobilize around both events of these dates.
To keep up with Jazz's case or get involved go to
David Galarza speaks to the importance of filming police activities in our communities to show the truth in whats going on. He describes a recent video he shot of an NYPD officer fondling and body slamming a young teenager. He tells of how the news reported it as a good job by the officer while his video tells a different story.
While David is speaking you will notice that one of the court officers behind him is filming him and the group of supporters. Why? And what will they do with this tape we don't know.
The incident in this video took place in November of 2009 but it is so appropriate for today's situations. Things have not improved since then. All of the purported remedies have proven ineffective. Our experts, academics, social scientist, preachers, and most of all our law enforcement agencies have all proven to be totally ineffective. "Boutique Activism" and "State Intervention" are the problem, not the solution. We need to go back to basics, building caring communities, a sustainable solution that is rooted in caring communities. What is a caring community? That's the discussion we must have.
Support Jazz Hayden!
Support Joseph “Jazz” Hayden as his next court appearance on July 31, 2012 in Part F at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan. We will be gathering outside the courthouse at 8:30 am.
Dear Friends, Allies and Supporters,
As you may already know, I have a pending case in Manhattan Criminal Court resulting from a bogus stop & frisk by the NYPD from December, 2011. I can unequivocally state that this stop and arrest was in retaliation for my work as a Citizen Reporter aggressively covering police/community relationships in the Harlem community. (To review my body of work you need only go to my web site, www.allthingsharlem.com/copwatch to view four years of coverage of police community relations in Harlem.)
My work on this issue is well known and has been covered by many news organizations, including The New York Times, the Village Voice, the Amsterdam News, the Economist, NY1, Channel 7, Democracy Now, Eyewitness News, WPIX Channel 11, Gothamist, The Brooklyn Rail, The Nation, Newsone.com and the National in Abu Dhabi (Middle East). The Harlem community is well aware of my work, and encourages and supports it.
As you are probably already aware, the racist practice of stop & frisk by the NYPD has gained national attention for its astronomical numbers of unwarranted stops, nearly 700,000 in 2011. Less than 6% of those stopped were charged with any crime or violation of the law. The disproportionate impact on communities of color, specifically Blacks and Latinos (87%), has led to city-wide protest and condemnation in the local and national media.
For every action there is a reaction. Because of my coverage of this racist and ineffective practice, I have been targeted for retaliation. My right as a citizen to cover the police in public places, as they perform their duties (a right recently acknowledged by U.S. Attorney General Holder) has resulted in my being targeted by the 32nd precinct in Harlem.
I am currently facing felony charges – and potentially years in prison - as a result of an unlawful stop and search of my car last December. In July of 2011, I filmed the same officers who later arrested me performing an unlawful car stop in Harlem. You can view that video here:
During the video you can hear the officers talking to me and saying that they know who I am and know my background. At minute 5:05 the officer can be heard saying, “You done selling drugs yet or what? I know your rap sheet.” Then again around 5:55 the officer can be heard saying, “Go sell some more drugs sir. We know your background, I know who you are.” The officers let the men in the car go without charges. But they had other plans for me.
In December of 2011, the very same officers stopped my car and conducted an illegal search. They found a pocket knife and a mini replica baseball bat in the car, and charged me with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, a felony punishable with two to seven years on prison. My stop and arrest was unequivocal retaliation for my surveillance of these officers and work in the community.
Today I need your help. Please contact Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and demand that all charges against Joseph Hayden be dropped and that the NYPD be put on notice that citizens have a right to monitor their “servants” as they perform their duties without retaliation. The significance of these cases of retaliation for covering “our servants” extends beyond my case alone. These actions by NYPD raise the larger issue of their role in communities of color, the rights of citizens to monitor law enforcement, and the rights/role of new media in covering the news. What is happening to me has happened to hundreds of thousands of citizens in New York City. Enough is enough!
Send your letter to:
Manhattan District Attorney
One Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013
A sample letter is included below.
If you can make it, please join me at my next court appearance on July 31, 2012 in Part F at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan. We will be gathering outside the courthouse at 8:30 am.
Thanks for your support.
Joseph Jazz Hayden
Campaign to End the New Jim Crow
SAMPLE LETTER TO CYRUS VANCE
Cyrus Vance Manhattan District Attorney
One Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013
Dear District Attorney Vance,
[PLEASE MAKE INCLUDE YOUR NAME, YOUR JOB OR OTHER IMPORTANT AFFILIATION AND HOW YOU KNOW JAZZ]
I am writing today about an urgent matter, the case of Joseph Hayden. Your office has chosen to seek an indictment against him for two counts of Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree. I believe that his arrest was a retaliatory act on the part of the police against one of their most outspoken critics, a long-time neighborhood cop watch activist and police reform advocate.
There is no doubt that Mr. Hayden has a lengthy criminal record. But he has put his past behind him and become an important community activist. He is a longtime member of The Riverside Church Prison Ministry and a founding member of the Ministry’s Campaign to End The New Jim Crow, a group dedicated to combatting mass incarceration and building caring communities. And for the past four years, Mr. Hayden has videotaped police officers as they stop and frisk people in Harlem as part of a neighborhood copwatch program and posted these videos on his website, All Things Harlem.
Mr. Hayden was pulled over for a traffic stop in Harlem in December 2011. When the police approached his car, they made it plain that they recognized Mr. Hayden by statements such as “We know you.” The two officers who stopped him in December were the same officers filmed by Mr. Hayden several months earlier (view the video here: http://bit.ly/NjOZTN). After clearly acknowledging that they knew who he was, the officers unlawfully searched his car, finding a penknife and a small commemorative replica baseball bat. These items are the weapons for which he is now facing felony charges punishable by 2 to 7 years in prison.
During your campaign for District Attorney, you sat down with Mr. Hayden for an interview for his website. During that interview, Mr. Hayden asked you what you would do to stop racial bias and harassment of people of color by the NYPD. You told him that while you “can’t tell the police who to arrest or who not to arrest,” but as District Attorney you would like to assure that “when it comes to us, that we are not making charging decisions that are biased in any way.” You can view the video here:
In light of your commitment to make unbiased charging decisions, I urge you to drop the charges against Mr. Hayden. Given Mr. Hayden’s prominent role in filming the police, it is clear that his arrest was retaliation for his community activities. I also urge you to take seriously the dangers of police practices that effectively silence citizens who dissent. United States Attorney General Eric Holder has affirmed the right to record police officers in the public performance of their duties. By allowing Mr. Hayden’s indictment to proceed, the Manhattan District Attorney casts a chilling effect on this right.
Thank you for your kind attention to this letter.
you can also Sign The Petition
Kerry Monay Johnson was entertaining the Harlem residents on Mother's Day weekend when ATH's Jazz Hayden walked by and caught this taste of Harlem. Kerry is a sensitive Brother struggling with cancer but living life one day at a time.
Jazz Hayden and the Fight Against Stop-and-Frisk
An unlikely activist's battle with the NYPD's frisky business
By Graham Rayman, Photographs by Lyric Cabral
Village Voice - Hayden, a longtime Harlem community activist, films stop-and-frisks and then posts the videos to the Internet as part of his Copwatch program. Hayden plans to sue the NYPD for improper stop and arrest after he was pulled over by police in December.
The 70-year-old Hayden, whose given name is Joseph, is a longtime community activist in Harlem. In a past life, he was a street hustler who served three years in prison in the late 1950s for drugs, was falsely accused in the late 1960s in a high-profile shooting of two police officers in the politically turbulent year of 1968, was convicted of money laundering in the 1970s, and served 13 years in prison from 1986 to 2000 for manslaughter after a traffic dispute turned fatal.
Hayden has spent the past four years irritating police officers by videotaping them as they stop and frisk people in Harlem in a program he calls "Copwatch." He often posts the videos on the Internet. For most of that period, he encountered little more than annoyed cops, but recently, his activities might have caught up with him.
Last summer, Hayden filmed two plainclothes officers during an evening car stop. The exchange between Hayden and the officers was contentious, even though the two motorists who were stopped were let go without charges.
At least one officer was aware of Hayden's past, because at one point, he can be heard saying: "You done selling drugs yet or what? I know your rap sheet." And then later, the tape shows, the same officer can be heard saying: "Go sell some more drugs, sir. We know your background. I know who you are."
Then, on December 2, as Hayden drove away after a meeting at Riverside Church, the same two officers stopped him, searched him, and arrested him for possession of a penknife. "We know you," one of them said.
"These guys knew who I was," Hayden says, calling it "NYPD officers taking revenge on me. . . . It was clear retaliation."
Chris Woods, a 35-year-old security guard, happened to be walking by and witnessed the police stop Hayden. "He didn't say anything offensive or abusive to the officers, but that wasn't good enough for them," Woods says. "That he was talking with them seemed to make them more furious. The whole thing shouldn't even have been a criminal matter."
What probably should have been a minor incident became 48 hours in holding cells and a felony weapons charge against the activist. Hayden's arrest has also become something of a cause in Harlem.
Among other events, Hayden's allies organized a protest at the Manhattan Supreme Court on January 19, one of his court dates. The protest was attended by elected officials and activists. The board of the radio station WBAI, where Hayden was once a producer, passed a resolution in support of him.
In 2010, the NYPD, in a campaign touted by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a key element in the war on crime, stopped more than 600,000 people throughout the city. From 2004 to 2009, police stopped 2.8 million people; the largest age group is males 15 to 19, following by males ages 20 to 24. Just 9 percent of the stops resulted in an arrest. And in 2011, the police were on pace for 686,000 stops—a new record.
In the 2010 Voice series "The NYPD Tapes," police supervisors in the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuvesant order cops to make a quota of one or two stops per tour. Police Officer Adil Polanco, who was assigned to a Bronx precinct, said similarly that there was a stop-and-frisk quota there. If those orders are typical for most precincts—and that appears to be the case from the tapes and Polanco's statements—then quotas are a key factor in fueling the rise in stops.
Even so, Kelly has said repeatedly that the stops keep people from carrying weapons, drugs, and other illicit items on the street. He said it again most recently in a December 11 affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit: "Stops serve as a deterrent to criminal activity."
He has been backed on this by Mayor Bloomberg, the New York Post and Daily News editorial pages, and commentators including the Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald, who tied the stops to the crime decline and declared that the campaign "saves minorities' lives."
And yet the campaign has spawned ongoing opposition not only from elected officials and activists but also from regular New Yorkers. Last September, police stopped and handcuffed Counciman Jumaane Williams and an associate at Brooklyn's West Indian Day Parade.
Williams raised a fuss, which led police spokesman Paul Browne to claim that someone had punched a police officer during the incident. Williams called that claim a "bald-faced lie," and Browne hasn't uttered another word about it since.
But aside from public opinion, there's a major cost to the campaign in actual dollars. Over the past couple of years, the number of lawsuits filed by New Yorkers alleging improper stop-and-frisks has continued to grow. There might be some element of lawyers seeing a new area in the always-busy police-litigation business, but the rise also indicates a frustration among New Yorkers with the practice.
In the month of January alone, more than three dozen lawsuits alleging improper stop-and-frisks were filed, based on a Voice reading of the complaints. Extrapolated, that means that the city could be sued more than 400 times this year alone just on improper stops.
Group Vows To Highlight NYPD Misconduct In 2013 Mayoral Race
NY1 - Concerns of police misconduct and excessive ticketing may become an election day issue as members of the Urban Justice Center begin a new campaign aimed at reforming the way officers interact with the public. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.