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Entries in revenge (5)

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, 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, September11th

    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

Drop the Charges Against Jazz Hayden!

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.

Photograph by Lyric Cabral, The Village Voice


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, 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, 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:

Cyrus Vance
Manhattan District Attorney
One Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013

You can email him at Please cc me on your letter at

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.

Yours truly,

Joseph Jazz Hayden

Campaign to End the New Jim Crow


Cyrus Vance Manhattan District Attorney
One Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013

Dear District Attorney Vance,


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: 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


Click here to sign the petition asking District Attorney Cyrus Vance to Drop the Charges

Keep Shaka Shakur Free! - Bronx County Criminal Court 

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.

Video: Jazz Hayden returns to court - No Surrender, Film the Police

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,

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 for details.

NYPD Revenge - Police Arrest Jazz Hayden in retaliation for his Video Copwatch in Harlem

On December 2, 2011 - Joseph "Jazz" Hayden, Founder of, was arrested by the NYPD in retaliation by 2 officers he filmed in an earlier Copwatch this summer.  

Jazz and All Things Harlem are asking for your support with his case and to fight for the right to film and report on the police activity in our communities - which have turned into police states. 

Jazz's next Court Date is January 19, 2012 at 100 Centre Street Criminal Court Part F, 9:30am  Please Come out for a Stop/Frisk and Media Rights Day of Action at the Courthouse. (More Details to Follow)

Here is a letter from Jazz detailing the incident 

 Dear Friends,

I wanted to share this story of these NYPD officers taking revenge on me.  As you might know I make it a habit of filming the many incidents of the NYPD, Stopping and Frisking people in the Harlem community.  On December 2, 2011 when I was leaving my weekly Campaign To End The New Jim Crow Working group meeting at Riverside Church I was pulled over by 2 NYPD officers.  It turned out that it was the same 2 officers I had filmed in a Copwatch, Stop and Frisk incident this summer.  

During the video below you can hear the officer's 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."


Flashback to a few weeks ago when I was driving through Harlem and these same officers pulled me over.  As they approached my car and recognized me they said, "hey we know you, you're that murderer."  I asked them why I was being stopped and they eventually said that one of my brake lights was out.  They asked me for my license and registration which I gave them and then I was asked to step out of the car.  I complied and got out of my car but told them that they had no right and no consent to search my car or myself, but that they could pat frisk me.   After I told the officers that, they asked me to go to the back of my car and stand there.  

As soon as I got to the back of my car one officer immediately ignored my statement and went right inside my car and began searching it.  After a few minutes of this illegal search the officer came out of the car and "proudly" presented a Pen Knife (a knife that can be bought at any hardware store or discount store).   I was then arrested for Felony Possession of a dangerous weapon and taken to the 32nd precinct.  Shortly after I arrived there and was being booked, they asked me if I had any medical problems and I told them about my high blood pressure.  I was then taken to Harlem hospital for a few hours where my blood pressure was measured extremely high (163 over 103).  I was kept at the hospital until it subsided and then brought back to the 32nd precinct.  This all took place on a Friday night and I ended having to stay at the 32nd precinct until late Sunday night, without food or medication, when I was finally able to see a judge downtown.  

At the court hearing the prosecution requested that I be held on a bail of 16k.  The affidavit that the NYPD filled out made no mention of my alleged brake lights being out and I wasn't charged with any traffic violations.  The officers cited in the affidavit that they saw me moving my hand on the console in my car and that was their reason for stopping me.  After I showed my legal aide lawyer the videos and work I have been doing on my CopWatch to fight against Stop and Frisk he pointed this out to the judge.  After reviewing the evidence and my record the Judge released me on my own recognizance.  

I am now scheduled for another court date on January 19, 2011.  I am asking you to come to the court and support me if you can against this NYPD injustice.  Community groups including the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, WBAI and others will be supporting me on this day, please join them.  

Stop/Frisk and Media Rights Day of Action on January 19, 2012 at 100 Centre Street Criminal Court Part F, 9:30am

(More details to follow)


Joseph “Jazz” Hayden



PS: Read the Resolution passed by WBAI's Local Station Board below:

RESOLUTION PASSED  In Support of Jazz Hayden  Former WBAI producer Jazz Hayden -- a co-founder of "On the Count" -- was  stopped in Harlem for a traffic violation Friday night, December 2, 2011.  When he was pulled over, the cops said, "We know you," according to Jazz Hayden.  They were the SAME cops he filmed at a cop watch stop and frisk during the  summer: The cops then proceeded to search his car and arrest him for a pen knife. They kept him for close to 48 hours and asked for $16k bond, but the judge released him on his own recognizance.  Jazz Hayden has a January court date. The WBAI LSB respects and supports Jazz Hayden and condemns such police harassment and arrest. We invite listeners to express their solidarity with Mr. Hayden by coming to court in January, and request that WBAI cover this story.