All Things Harlem & Beyond - news, info and newsworthy links
Entries in new york city (18)
My latest cop watch. Ironically I found myself and my work being validated by the cop in charge. Then it was back to business as usual...marijuana arrest... - Joseph Jazz Hayden
This is a video of a typical marijuana arrest conducted by members or the NYPD. Even though possesing under 25 grams of marijuana has been decriminalized in New York State since the 1970's the NYPD continues to make every effort to criminalize people of color for those offenses. This is based on a loophole in that law that states that if that same amount of marijuana is in, "plain site" it becomes an arrestable misdemeanor offense rather than a violation.
Here is a report from the NYCLU on the racial disparities in marijuana arrests in the stat of New York.
NYCLU Analysis Exposes Stark Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests in Counties Across New York State
June 6, 2013 — There are stark racial disparities in low-level marijuana arrests in counties across New York State, according to a New York Civil Liberties Union analysis released today of federal crime reporting data from 2010.
The greatest racial disparities occur in Kings County (Brooklyn) and New York County (Manhattan), where black New Yorkers are more than 9 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana. But the problem is not limited to New York City. Enormous racial disparities exist in counties throughout the state, including several of the state’s most populous counties, such as Onondaga (7.75 times more likely), Niagara (7.56 times more likely), Monroe (6.5 times more likely) and Erie (5.66 times more likely).
“In all corners of New York State, police are targeting people of color for marijuana possession arrests,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “Arresting and jailing thousands of people for possessing small amounts of marijuana does not make safer streets. It only needlessly disrupts people’s lives and fosters distrust between the police and the communities they are sworn to serve.”
Statewide, black people are 4.5 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession. They are at least twice as likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana in 52 of the state’s 62 counties. Nationally, blacks are more than 3.7 times as likely as whites to be subjected to marijuana arrests.
There were consistently large racial disparities in marijuana arrests in New York State between 2001 and 2010. While arrest rates of whites increased slightly, black people shouldered a great portion of the increases in marijuana arrests, with the black arrest rate increasing 26 percent over that time span.
These gaping racial disparities in marijuana arrests exist even though government surveys show that whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks do.
An American Civil Liberties Union report released this week on marijuana arrests nationwide showed New York leads the nation in marijuana arrests. In 2010, there were 103,698 marijuana-possession arrests in New York State – more than 29,000 more arrests than the state with the second-highest total, Texas with 74,286 arrests. New York’s marijuana arrest rate of 535 arrests per 100,000 people was double the national average and was the highest arrest rate of any state.
“New Yorkers should be embarrassed that our state leads the nation in marijuana arrests,” Lieberman said. “The crackdown on low-level marijuana possession needlessly hurts individuals and families – subjecting them to all sorts of collateral consequences like the loss of student financial aid and job opportunities. Governor Cuomo has pledged to clarify the state’s marijuana laws to bring justice and common sense to drug enforcement in our state. We urge him to keep that promise.”
New York City is the nation’s marijuana arrest capital. Arrests for marijuana possession in the city skyrocketed from only 774 in 1991 – for the lowest misdemeanor offense – to 50,383 in 2010 – an increase of 6,409 percent. The explosion in marijuana arrests happened despite the fact that New York State made marijuana possession a violation in 1977, like speeding or ignoring a stop light.
The number of marijuana-possession arrests in the state annually was consistently high between 2001 and 2010 and increased over the final three years of that time span.
Arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana does not reduce serious or violent crime. According to a study by two University of Chicago professors, these arrests only pull police off the streets and divert them into nonessential police work. According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, the rise in marijuana arrests has not corresponded with a reduction in the use of marijuana in New York State.
Marijuana possession arrests drive thousands of young men of color into the criminal justice system. It does so at significant taxpayer expense. In 2010, marijuana arrests cost state taxpayers $678.5 million in police and court costs.
“At a time when county governments across New York are cutting services to close huge budget deficits, police should not be wasting scarce resources arresting people for small amounts of marijuana,” Lieberman said.
Marijuana arrests needlessly harm individuals and families. They can affect eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody determinations and immigration status. Marijuana convictions can also subject people to more severe charges and sentences if they are ever arrested for or convicted of another crime. In addition, the targeted enforcement of marijuana laws against people of color sows mistrust between communities and the police, weakening public safety.
Jazz Hayden asks Raymond Santana if people should be surprised with the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial considering the jury and everyone else involved with the case was white.
A former Sanford, Florida resident speaks about her experience living there and her feelings on George Zimmerman's not guilt verdict in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Did you know that New York City students are being criminalized for being late to school? This process takes place when the NYPD sets up checkpoints at subway exits that are in close proximity to public schools. They stop the students and ask them a series of personal questions and record that information. This video took place in Harlem, NY at the 135th street station.
Below are a few questions we had and posed in the video. Let us know what your thoughts and feelings are on this NYPD practice. Share your thoughts in the comments section or twitter #schooltoprisonpipeline.
Why are cops stopping students on their way to school when in all public schools there is an officer at the front desk?
This stop took about 10 minutes. Doesn't this practice make students later for school?
Could these stops deter students from attending on days that they are running late?
What is being done with the information collected by the NYPD?
How do parents feel about their children being stopped and questioned without their consent?
Are these students commuting by train because there isn't a good school in their neighborhood?
One of the most disturbing parts of this video is that the students appear unfazed. These police abuses have become Normalized. But this is not normal!
If young suburban students were stopped by police on their way to school you would likely see fear and tears in their eyes. Followed up by outrage from parents and the school board.
Mayoral candidates were invited to Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harem by the faith based community of New York City. The Ministers of many churches created a covenant with the mayoral candidates, demanding that they be included in discussions of all matters related to their communities.
The candidates discussed a range of issues including health care, mayoral control of the education system, and police community relations. Democratic candidates John Liu, Bill de Blasio, Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson all participated.
Faith community begins the event
Police violence in the community
Mayoral control of the education system 1/2
This young crew of kids impressed some passengers and left others annoyed or frightened with their acrobatic break dancing moves inside this New York City train car. They are tremendously talented and entrepreneurial. Many people find these young crews annoying to see during their subway commutes. What do you think?
This man seemed to be enjoying whatever was playing in his headphones cause he was singing and dancing to himself as if know one else was around. Do you think he was crazy or just really feeling the music?
Click Picture for Video
Throughout the subway system you can find talented musicians singers and dancers. All Things Harlem filmed a few different musical groups in the subway ranging from "Ebony Hillbillies" to classic doo-wop. Enjoy the videos and keep a look out for other great talents underground.
On January 15, 2013 potential Democratic Mayoral candidates debated issues at Al Sharpton's Nation Action Network headquarters in Harlem. The annual event was in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community members and other politician were also in attendance.
The potential candidates included City Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill Deblasio, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson and former City Council Member Sal Albanese. They discussed issues important to the Harlem community like, improving education, the NYPD's stop and frisk policy, and who they would make next police commisioner.
Click on the picture below for video of the debate.
All Things Harlem's take on this debate is that the candidate with the most clear answers to the questions was John Liu. For example, he was the only candidate to make a clear distinction on the issue of stop and frisk saying that he would do away with the policy completely. All the other candidates answers were much more ambiguous but were leaning more towards reforming the program and not ending it.
What do you think about the debate? Do you have a better idea of who you would support in the Democratic primary?
Click on Image to view Video
Contact: Stephanie Hoo, (212) 669-3747 January 4, 2013
‘CENTRAL PARK FIVE’ CASE
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Citing the decade-long litigation that has resulted in escalating legal fees and tied up valuable City resources, City Comptroller John C. Liu today called for the New York City Law Department and the lawyers representing the “Central Park Five” in their $250 million civil-rights lawsuit to break their stalemate and conclude a settlement as soon as possible.
At a press conference in Harlem, Liu offered the legal expertise of his office and the around-the-clock use of his boardroom to help the parties to come together and work out a settlement for the five young men, who were wrongfully sent to prison for an April 1989 crime.
Following are Comptroller Liu’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:
“Nineteen Eighty-Nine was a painful period in New York City’s history. That year, the City recorded nearly 2,000 murders, countless other violent crimes, and was suffering the devastating effects of a national crack epidemic.
“On April 19th of that year, a 28-year-old female jogger was brutally attacked and raped in Central Park. Almost immediately after this heinous crime, police investigations began to focus on a group of five African American and Latino youths, aged 14 to 16, who came to be known as the ‘Central Park Five.’
“Following lengthy interrogations, the five teenagers – Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise – confessed to the crime. The following year, the five were convicted and sentenced to terms ranging from 5 to 15 years.
“In early 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and rapist, confessed that he alone was responsible for the attack on the Central Park jogger. On December 19, 2002, on the recommendation of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, the five convictions were vacated by Justice Charles Tejada.
“Since 2003, the ‘Central Park Five’ and the New York City Law Department have been engaged in complex and costly litigation that has yet to be settled. As of now, multiple causes of actions are pending in this federal case, including malicious prosecution, racial discrimination, and lack of due process.
“Both as a New Yorker and as the Comptroller, I am deeply troubled by the fact that this civil-rights case remains unresolved more than a decade after these convictions were vacated and nearly a quarter of a century after the occurrence of the crime that another individual has confessed to committing. These five kids may not have been angels, but that does not change the fact that they were imprisoned for a crime perpetrated by another person. Collectively, they spent more than 30 years in prison. While no monetary award could fully repay them for this imprisonment, the City must make an effort to correct this tremendous injustice, which robbed them of their youth.
“Their imprisonment also wreaked havoc on their families. Parents not only lost their sons to prison, but also had to live through the indignity of having their children compared to vicious animals, as the press labeled them with such racially charged expressions as ‘wilding’ and ‘wolf pack.’ They endured multiple trials: first by the tabloid media, which jumped to judgment, and then by prosecutors, who screened what later proved to be false confessions in the courtroom.
“The Comptroller’s Office has the authority and extensive experience settling claims before litigation and approving settlements proposed by the Law Department post-litigation. Last fiscal year, the City paid out $550.4 million for the settlement of claims and payments of judgments; $185.6 million of which were against the NYPD and an additional $84 million of which involved a variety of civil-rights violations.
The Standouters - Built by Julius Kroehl in 1857, the fire tower stands 47 feet high and sits in Marcus Garvey Park. It was one of eight in Manhattan. Manned by volunteers, fire watchtowers communicated by Morse code and rang the bell to signal where the blaze was located.
However, by the late 1870s, the widespread use of fire call boxes and the growing number of skyscrapers made the towers obsolete. Many were eventually torn down but the one in Marcus Garvey Park remained primarily because its isolated location and popularity with the community.
Aside from a 1938 modification, which added the acropolis, the base the tower sits upon, it has not undergone any major renovations and has fallen into serious disrepair. With the support of elected officials, Harlem community groups are working to raise money to save this historic landmark.
It's been almost 4 years since Israel's last major acts of military agression against Palestinian's in Gaza. This was All Things Harlem coverage of New Yorkers reaction to this military campaign 4 years ago. What has changed?
Photos: from Rally/March to Israeli Consulate - 01/03/2009
Video: Rally Against Israeli Aggression in Gaza - Harlem State Office Building 01-10-2009
Video: Answer Coalition on Gaza - 01-09-09
Voices from the Silent March to End Stop and Frisk in New York City on Father's Day, June 17, 2012. All Things Harlem spoke to a diverse group about the march and the NYPD's policy of stop and frisk.
Video From the Event
This video is of the diverse voices you wont see in mainstream media discussing the issue of stop and frisk and the NYPD in New York City.
Full Jeremy Scahill interview with Jazz. Jeremy Scahill says that NYPD's policy of Stop and Frisk should be one of the premiere civil rights issues of the city. He also relates the issue to the global perspective and how our police have become militarized and resemble the oppressive regimes around the world that the United States criticizes.
Scahill's daughter a 5th grader successfully got her entire 5th grade class to sign a petition against stop and frisk. She says that her classmates as young as 12-years-old have been stopped and frisked while just hanging out with their friends.
Jeremy Scahill is national security correspondent for The Nation, and author of Blackwater.
Interview with John Liu. John Liu is the Comptroller of New York City and the only potential Mayoral candidate currently calling for a complete end to stop & frisk, and not just a reform of the policy.
Arrests were made as the the Silent March to end stop and frisk wound down outside Mayor Bloomberg's home in New York City. As some of the remaining groups and people continued to protest and began changing their silence into noise, the massive presence of the NYPD formed up quickly in attempts to stamp out what remained of the march.
With orders coming over the phone from their bosses the chain of command took over and the NYPD management, (the guys in the suits on their phones) informed their captains (the guys in white shirts) to instruct their minions (the foot soldiers in blue) to begin to to clear 5th Avenue and push people onto the sidewalks and in between the barricades surrounding Mayor Bloomberg 's home. They did this by using their normal military apparatus of Motor Scooters, vans, batons, big orange netting, tons of zip tied handcuffs, police camera crew (TARU) etc.
With these tools they still relied on what they know best, brute force and intimidation along with a few arrests in hopes that this would disperse the crowd. In this situation they chose to arrest the biggest baddest most intimidating people of the group first - (young women).
All the while members of crowd chastised the police for their actions and challenged them to think about what they were doing and what they were supporting in their actions.
Jazz observed this young man, named Johnny, Washington Heights, New York City doing this creative and unique exercise routine. His creativity was amazing to behold. The reason Johnny given for his workout was that he was "preparing for greatness".
On April 18, 2012 supporters, community members and activists came out to support community leader Shaka Shakur in court. The result was that Shaka's case was postponed until May 3, 2012. Please come out and support him for his next court date.
Also as supporters were leaving the the court, court officers attempted to intimidate them by harassing them and issued a disorderly conduct summons to Brother Shep of the People's Survival Program and Universal Zulu Nation while he was trying to leave.
On April 17, 2012 supporters, community members and activists came out to support Joseph "Jazz" Hayden in court. Before heading into court there was a press conference that included speakers, Sarah Kunstler, Robert Gangi, Johanna Fernandez, King Downing, Laura Whitehorn, Lewis Webb and Joseph "Jazz" Hayden.
This was Jazz's third time in court for felony charges he is facing in an attempted retaliation by the NYPD to stop his activist work, which entails filming the police in the Harlem community. Full details here, http://bit.ly/AmEj6y
After only a few minutes in court Jazz's case was postponed to July 31, 2012.
Supporters headed back outside and recapped what happened and whats the next step. They also addressed the long line of people who were heading into court that day. Letting them know that "they are not the criminals" and that its really the system that is criminal.
A man who was heading into court stepped out of the line to tell us his story of how he was wrongfully arrested for carrying his work tools and being stopped and frisked and accused of Felony Possession of a Weapon.
Shaka Shakur another one of our community leaders who is facing retaliation from the NYPD with a case of his own also spoke along with Brother Shep of the Universal Zulu Nation. They further elaborated on the bigger picture of this unjust and racist system that is being used to destroy our communities. Brother Shep urged the audience to go to Washington D.C. next week to Occupy the Justice Department. See occupythejusticedepartment.com for details.
Here is a video snapshot of the Millions Hoodies March for Travon Martin in Union Square, New York City on March 21, 2012.
The speaker is Brian Jones a Teacher, Writer and Activist we interviewed during the rally/march. He connects the killing of Trayvon Martin to Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow and the view of black and brown men as criminals. The results of this criminalization has not only led to the mass incarceration of black men but also the murder of them like what happened with Trayvon Martin.
The turnout for Trayvon Martin was huge. The voices of our youth were loud and clear "we are all Trayvon Martin." We no longer need to feel like lone voices crying in the wilderness, our youth have come, the people are awakening. Death to ignorance and inhumanity!
August 4, 2011. Kevin Durant continued to showcase his basketball talents in New York City by hooping it up at a packed at Dyckman Park, in uptown Manhattan. Durant made the crowd lose control when he shook up Michael Beasley and blew buy him for a slam dunk.