What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fire Ray Kelly!!

So I spent Saturday afternoon protesting in front of an event where Fordham Law School was honoring Ray Kelly, the commissioner of the NY city police department.  He over sees a police department that has been rampant in its excessive use of force on every thing from peaceful Occupy protests, to the long term daily life  of everyone living in minority communities through the city.  The event was organized by Muslim groups,  students at Fordham, and buttressed by the Occupy movement, following a string of anti Muslim policies came about (spying on muslim student groups, and anti Muslim training video, etc.).  There are also countless other policies causing harm to individuals and their communities such as Stop and frisk (where a police officer can approach anyone and stop them and pat them down for illegal substances, firearms, whatever), and even murder (see below).

Kelly oversees what I call the NYMD (New York Military Department).  A thriving military detachment run by Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg, seemingly at their will and for their purposes.  Maybe in time some of the issues will be covered, but I won't bury this post in details.  I will tell one story though that illuminated a lot for me.  On December 17th at Duarte square there was an action.  I was standing on the sidewalk, the police on the sidewalk kept telling us to get back.  The police in the street had told us to get on the sidewalk (mind you being in the street is illegal, sidewalk not).  It is also worth saying that I watched a younger guy get beaten by three cops on November 15th, the night of the eviction from liberty square, for pacively standing one step in the smallest of side streets.

So here I was, push pull.  I end up on the curb balancing precariously on my toes, while pointing out the hypocrisy of the officer in front of me.  So she shoves me, benchpress style, right off the curb onto my backside in the street.  I'm amazed.  My mom is there protesting.  She's appalled.  The emotions of it all, the complete disinterest of officers and others around.  The closeness of it all.  It was a truly memorable moment for me, and one that effected me tremendously.  BUT!!!!!  That was not the learning lesson.  The learning lesson came when I spoke to my African-American friends from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Newark, wherever.  And to a person they all said: "So!?  Welcome to our world.  That stuff happens everyday to us, and has for our whole lives.  Just another day of being black in America.  Police brutality."

This to me was the most amazing. That there was absolutely no sympathy.  None was deserved.  We live in a Police state.  A place where the police block off a sidewalk so wealthy people can have free entrance to their fundraiser, but a protester has to get a permit to protest about having to get permits to protest.  Freedom of speech?  What?  A homeless man is pushed off every sidewalk, and a park full of protestors is forcefully cleared under shamefully erroneous pretenses (I never saw a rat or roach at liberty square, but I see them in the subway everyday).  There is only one phrase that comes to mind when I think of the NYPD: abuse of power.  That is the cornerstone of current day policing tactics.  Above the law and around the law, so long as you get the "perp."  Abhorrent.  And Ray Kelly is the one that over sees it all, in the biggest city in the country.  So Saturday, I chanted:

Hey Hey, Ho Ho,
Ray-cist Kelly has got to go!!

Back Up Back Up,
We Want Freedom Freedom
These dirty spying cops
We don't need 'em need 'em!!

Kelly spies,
Bloomberg lies.

Hey Kelly?!
How many kids did you surveil today?
Hey Kelly?!
How many kids did you frisk today?
Hey Kelly?!
How many kids did you kill today?  (yes, Ramarly Graham, an unarmed 18 year old kid, was shot and killed by NYPD in his own bathroom.)