ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

April 30, 2008

2008.04.30: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 5:19 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

Take a good look around you in Criminal Court the next time you’re there.  If we can’t acknowledge that part of being a public defender is that we must deal with the inherent racism of the criminal justice system, then I don’t know why we’re here.  Just let me ask you, when was the last time a white man was gunned down by the NYPD and the police got away with it?


From: [A.]
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 4:54 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

I do not  represent  poor people of color. I represent poor people period. I refuse to treat my clients who are not of color differently than my clients of color. To do so, is a violation of the Code of Ethics.   If one looks at the Supreme Court’s decison in  Gideon w hich was the basis for Public Defender’s throughout the United States, it does not refer to poor people of color. It refers to indigent people period.


From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 4:46 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

No one is suggesting we should not defend the indefensible.  No one is saying that the police officers do not deserve due process.   But I am a PUBLIC DEFENDER, not  just a criminal defense attorney.  I represent poor people of color.  I do not represent people in power, especially police officers.  What I am outraged over is how the scales of justice are imbalanced once again  in favor of those in power.  My role as a public defender is to work against that, to make sure that the law is applied equally to everyone, and what this decision shows us once again that it is not. What this decision shows us is that police officers will never be made held accountable by the law.  That they are above the law. No one of our clients, or my clients since I am a public defender and not a criminal defense attorney, will ever be granted that privilege.  I am sure that Mr. Ricco is not blind to this fact.  Just to leave you with some words of one of Bell’s friends; “If I shot fifty one bullets, I would be facing 25 to life.”


From: Herschel, Lucy
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 2:52 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

Let’s not forget that Ricco was the defense lawyer who really distinguished himself in this trial by outrageously suggesting that it wasn’t Sean Bell and his friends who were being racially profiled by the cops, but rather that Bell and friends were guilty of racially profiling Det. Isnora.  Speaking of Bell and friends’ reaction when they saw Isnora: “They see a Negro with a gun… Just another Negro on the street with a gun.”   Speaking of Bell allegedly striking Isnora with the car “He intended to run the black man into the ground.”

Pretty outrageous stuff if you ask me.


From: [R.]
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 12:43 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

I also agree. However, this is very poor timing on the part of MBBA. Unnecessarily insensitive. I have to ask – like Rev. Wright – couldn’t they just wait?


From: [A.]
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 12:35 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

I agree..


From: [M.]
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 11:18 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: RE: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

I’m not sure we should be setting a precedent of punishing defense attorneys for defending unpopular clients.  Kind of a slippery slope, don’tcha think?  I don’t know anything about Mr. Ricco, but he is a fellow defense attorney.  He did his job and got an acquittal.  Protest the DA’s office for a sloppy prosecution, but let’s not lash out at our colleague for doing his job.


From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:35 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case


From: Lisa Jenkins
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:16 AM
Subject: Black Bar Association Honors Defense Attorney in Sean Bell Case

Good morning,

It was good meeting all of you last evening at the meeting held at Local 1199 regarding our next actions in the wake of the unfair verdict in the Sean Bell Trial.  Please see the attached letter and press release issued by the Young Pastors & Ministers of Metro NY regarding the Metropolitan Black Bar Association’s decision to honor Anthony Ricco, Esq., defense attorney in the Sean Bell case.  We realize the track record of Mr. Ricco prior to the November 25, 2006 shooting of Mr. Bell, however, we believe that it is a poor decision for the Metropolitan Black Bar Association to consider him as Lawyer of the Year  during such a challenging period for our community.  Our city is in mourning and we feel that now is not the time to throw a party, particularly with a member of the Defense Team in the Sean Bell Trial.  Last night Nicole Bell came up to me and thanked me and expressed her gratitude for mentioning this event and for us – the community –taking on this task.  She stated that Mr. Ricco, repeatedly disrespected her and her family throughout the trial.  We ask your support in this matter.  Please have your people email the MBBA with letters and emails.  Comments can be addressed to:

Mr. Xavier R. Donaldson, Esq.

President

Metropolitan Black Bar Association

299 Broadway – Suite 910,

New York, New York 10007
Email:   president@mbbany.org

Also, the internet lists the ticket/publicity coordinator as Sonia Wilson who can be contacted at  thewilsongroup2000@yahoo.com.  Please let this sister know how we feel as well.    Thank you for your support.

Yours, in God’s Power & Purpose,

Rev. Lisa Jenkins

Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins, M.Div.

El DiJae Ministries

P.O. Box 70-1179

East Elmhurst, NY  11370

718-440-9430 | http://www.ElDiJae.org  |  www.myspace.com\ldjenkins

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….(Hosea 4:6)

2008.04.30: Antiwar Bulletin: 5/1 March For Immigrants, Sean Bell and to End the War

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 9:44 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: 5/1 March For Immigrants, Sean Bell and to End the War

[Please forward to family and friends — Send reply message if you plan to attend]

—————–

Endorsed by New York City Labor Against the War

MARCH/RALLY for IMMIGRANT & WORKER RIGHTS

Justice for Sean Bell

On May 1, we will march to One Police Plaza, NYPD Headquarters

Thursday MAY 1st

Stop the Raids & Deportations – May 1st Coalition <http://may1.info/>

Stop the raids and deportations!

Legalization Now · Justice for ALL

12 pm: Gather at Union Square, 14th Street & Broadway

4 pm: Rally & March

We Say:

    * Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, Arab, White – In Unity there is strength.

    * ICE raids are racist, anti-union and violate immigrant and US workers’ civil rights & divide families.

    * Jobs & homes, not lay-off and foreclosures. Stop demolition of public housing in New Orleans & everywhere.

    * No war in Iraq. Bring the troops home now.

    * Political asylum for Victor Toro. No deportation for Flor Crisostomo.

    * Money for levees in New Orleans, not the US / Mexico border wall.

    * Repeal NAFTA, no more U.S. trade agreements that force migration & cause lay-offs here.

May Day 2008 is critically important. Will the optimism and hope expressed around the Presidential elections translate into an end of immigrant raids and deportations? Will it bring an end to the foreclosures of homes, the lowering of gas and food prices, or an end to lay-offs?

Whatever the outcome in November, the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant and Workers Rights will be marching once again on May Day, International Workers Day to say no to all the attacks against workers here and around the world.

We call on the progressive community, the anti-war movement, the women’s & LGBT movement, and especially the labor movement, to come out for May Day 2008. March for solidarity, because an injury to one is an injury to all!

Rally called by May 1st Coalition for Immigrant & Worker Rights

www.may1.info

641.715.3900 x97869#

2008.04.30: NYC Marijuana Possession Arrests Skyrocket, Illustrate NYPD Racial Bias

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 8:10 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 8:10 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: NYC Marijuana Possession Arrests Skyrocket, Illustrate NYPD Racial Bias

NYC Marijuana Possession Arrests Skyrocket, Illustrate NYPD Racial Bias, New Report Shows

April 29, 2008 — http://www.nyclu.org/files/MARIJUANA-ARREST-CRUSADE_Final.pdf
The NYPD arrested and jailed nearly 400,000 people for possessing small amounts of marijuana between 1997 and 2007, a tenfold increase in marijuana arrests over the previous decade and a figure marked by startling racial and gender disparities, according to a report released Tuesday at the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The report, The Marijuana Arrest Crusade in New York City: Racial Bias in Police Policy 1997-2007, is the first ever in-depth study of misdemeanor marijuana arrests in New York City during the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations.

Related

Researched and written by Prof. Harry G. Levine, a sociologist at Queens College, and Deborah Peterson Small, an attorney and advocate for drug policy reform, the report is based upon two years of observations in criminal courts as well as extensive interviews with public defenders; Legal Aid and private attorneys; veteran police officers; current and former prosecutors and judges; and those arrested for possessing marijuana.

“The massive, organized and relentless pursuit of these arrests under two mayors and three police commissioners represents a crusade by law enforcement,” Levine said. “But that term does not capture other important characteristics of these arrests – including the harm they inflict on black and Latino young people and their families.”


Click here to see the full-size graph.

Between 1997 and 2007, police arrested and jailed about 205,000 blacks, 122,000 Latinos and 59,000 whites for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Blacks accounted for about 52 percent of the arrests, though they represented only 26 percent of the city’s population over that time span. Latinos accounted for 31 percent of the arrests but 27 percent of the population. Whites represented only 15 percent of those arrested, despite comprising 35 percent of the population.

Government surveys of high school seniors and young adults 18 to 25 consistently show that young whites use marijuana more often than young blacks and Latinos. The arrests also are heavily skewed by gender. About 91 percent of people arrested were male.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “The NYPD routinely targets young men based on their skin color and where they live. Arresting and jailing thousands for marijuana possession does not create safer streets. It only fosters distrust between the police and community and strips hundreds of thousands of young New Yorkers of their dignity.”

The arrests, which cost taxpayers up to $90 million a year, are indicative of the NYPD’s broken windows approach to law enforcement, in which police focus on minor offenses as a method of reducing crime. This approach, also called quality of life policing, has caused a dramatic spike in stop-and-frisk encounters between police and city residents.

In 2007, the NYPD stopped nearly 469,000 New Yorkers. Eighty-eight percent were found completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The racial disparity in the stop-and-frisk encounters is almost identical to the disparity in marijuana arrests: Though they make up only a quarter of the city’s population, more than half of those stopped were black.

Robin Steinberg, executive director of the Bronx Defenders, said the increase in marijuana arrests is linked to the quality of life initiative and the increase in NYPD stop-and-frisk street interrogations.

“If you work in this community for any length of time, you see it first hand – police randomly stopping and searching kids on the streets,” she said. “It’s no surprise that so many residents feel like they are living in a police state. The people in these neighborhoods are subject to a level of intense policing not found in affluent communities.”

Marijuana arrests do not reduce serious or violent crime. According to a study by two University of Chicago professors, these arrests only take police off the streets and divert them into nonessential police work. What they do succeed in is driving thousands of young men of color into the criminal justice system.

“By targeting black and Latino youth for misdemeanor marijuana arrests, the NYPD is labeling children with criminal records for offenses the law deems a violation, not a crime,” said Small, executive director of Break the Chains, a non-profit organization that advocates for reforms of punitive drug laws. “The consequences of the arrests follow these children for the rest of their lives. It was to avoid these consequences that marijuana possession was decriminalized in the first place. It is particularly perverse that black and Latino youth are being targeted for violating a law that was passed to reduce the likelihood that young people would acquire criminal records for possessing small amounts of marijuana.”

The majority of the nearly 400,000 people arrested for possessing marijuana were not carrying or smoking the drug in public. Most people simply had a small amount of marijuana in their possession, usually concealed in a pocket or backpack. New York State decriminalized marijuana possession in 1977, making it a violation like speeding or driving through a stop light. When police officers coerce or intimidate people into showing marijuana in the open, though, they are able to classify it as a misdemeanor and arrest for it.

“The criminal complaint always charges that they had it in open view,” Steinberg said of her clients in the Bronx. “That is preposterous. It’s obvious that everyone isn’t walking around carrying pot in open view.”

Police did not focus on marijuana arrests from 1977 through 1996, arresting around 30,000 people total in both decades for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana. But police equaled or topped that 10-year arrest total in nine of the next 11 years. In 2007 alone, police made 39,700 arrests for marijuana possession.

The NYPD, rarely shy about touting success, does not promote its record-breaking crackdown on small-time marijuana possession. The report identifies incentives for the NYPD to focus on marijuana arrests. For instance, the arrests provide police officers a relatively safe and easy way to demonstrate productivity, especially in an organization such as the NYPD that heavily relies on statistics to measure effectiveness. Among other benefits, the arrests also help officers accrue overtime pay. Supervisors use marijuana arrests to generate arrest records, facilitate supervision of police activities and show that their officers are productive.

The arrests also succeed in dramatically expanding the NYPD’s vast database of New Yorkers’ personal information. Each marijuana arrest brings a new set of fingerprints and photos into the NYPD’s extensive system.

Three former police chiefs of some of the nation’s largest cities have endorsed the report’s findings. All three of the former chiefs believe marijuana possession arrests are a waste of police resources that do not reduce violent crime.

“Illegal, trivial, meaningless arrests undermine confidence in the justice system and corrupt the enforcers,” said Anthony V. Bouza, a former NYPD commander in the Bronx who was chief of police in Minneapolis from 1980 to 1989. “New York’s marijuana arrests are counterproductive, a classic misapplication of police resources.”

Norm Stamper, Seattle’s police chief from 1994 to 2000, said the enormous spike in marijuana arrests negatively affects both law enforcement and the community.

“I do not believe the two New York City mayors and three police commissioners who have presided over these practices are motivated by personal racism,” Stamp said. “But the effects of these practices are deeply, undeniably discriminatory, as well as damaging to legitimate crime fighting, community relations and police morale.”

George Napper, Atlanta’s chief of police from 1990 to 1997, said the report reveals common policing patterns, including racially skewed stop-and-frisk searches, that are poorly understood by the general public.

“People who care about the fate of American cities and the incarceration of racial minorities should read this fine study,” Napper said. “As a New York City police officer quoted in the report says: ‘Welcome to the real world.’”

Among an extensive list of recommendations, the report urges policymakers to:

  • Hold public hearings and thoroughly examine the costs, consequences, and racial, gender, age and class disparities of the NYPD’s marijuana arrest practices.
  • Ensure that law enforcement of marijuana offenses is consistent with the intent of New York State law.
  • Substantially increase the pay scale of police officers to reduce the need for overtime.
  • Require the NYPD to provide the City Council and state detailed, accurate and timely data on its arrests, citations and other practices, and make that information public.

  _____

Source URL:
http://www.nyclu.org/node/1736

April 29, 2008

2008.04.29: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 4:15 pm

From: Edwards, Lisa
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 4:15 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

Same old story.     There will never be justice  as long as the DA’s office is the prosecutor.  I believe the Friday protest at 5:30 was properly held against the DA’s office and the NYPD.  The first police brutality prosecution I observed was as a teenager.  My father took me to the trial involving the murder of Michael Stewart, who was brutally beaten by a gang of cops and hog tied and thrown in the back of a police van.  They walked and they knew they were walking because they would show up to court every day with a smile on their faces shaking the hands extending from the police blue which packed the courtroom in support each day.  The prosecution never put on a case then and from what I read they didn’t put on a case this time either.  Same old disgusting story.


From: [S.]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 3:11 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

And herein lies the age-old problem.  Justice is a process, not a result.

Is justice served when we lose a case we should win, despite doing an excellent job?  Is justice served when we lose a motion because the law is against us?   Is justice served when a violent felon walks because of the ADAs incompetence?

This reminds me of our clients and their families who love us through trial, only to scream at us after the guilty verdict comes in, because there’s no justice.  Well, if they were happy with the job we did at trial (assuming the trial was “fair”), then isn’t justice served?

I don’t know the answers.

Most of us did not see the trial, and therefore can’t really comment on whether the verdict was proper or not.  As always, the ADA had a heavy burden.  And the one person who responded who did see much of the trial came away unimpressed by the ADA.  Maybe our anger should be directed there, and not at the judge.

I’m as virulently anti-brutality as anyone.  In my heart I believe that the cop who reloaded should have been convicted of attempted murder (which wasn’t charged).  But I wasn’t there.  I didn’t see the process, only the result.  The result is heinous, but where was the process screwed up?


From: [D.]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:57 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

I’ve got 2 cents.  I watched a great deal of this trial, and I can understand the anger at the verdict, but any blame to be laid should not be towards Cooperman.  The DA in this case seemed half asleep throughout the trial, presented witnesses that seemingly had no prep work done at all, and fought his case about as zealously as a robot.  Each time I entered the courtroom, I was amazed to see that the defense was already putting on their case, only to realize some time later that the witnesses on the bench were for the People.

There is no way, no how, that the people proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Cooperman made the right decision.  If people want a place to protest, I can lead them to Richard Brown’s house.


From: [S.]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:52 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

I filed a motion to have him recuse himself from a trial of mine where my client was from Nigeria on the grounds that he made racist remarks during the pre-trial hearings and “off record”.  I was of course reprimanded by LAS management and banned from Cooperman’s court.  I was removed from his court room by court officers afterwards and have not been sent there since.  This happened over 8 years ago…


From: [A.]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:45 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

For those who were around in 1987, this is how Cooperman made his reputation.  If you recall in 1986, Legal Aid cooperated with IAB, that Sgt Pike and his crew were torturing several African American Drug Suspects in the 106 Precinct via Stun Guns.   Cooperman ended up getting the trial. Several of the cops went Jury, and were acquitted. Cooperman tried several of them in a Judge trial. In particular the infamous  Sgt. Pike. He convicted them and sentenced Sgt Pike ( i do not recall the other names) to a lengthy State Prison sentence.

As to a Judge, I did two trials in front of him. He is as crotchedy as described.


From: [R.]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:20 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

To the Queens CDD people.  Out of curiosity, how was this judge perceived before the Bell verdict?


From: Herschel, Lucy
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:18 PM
To: Arafa, Noha; ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Sean Bell Bulletin

FYI – there were several of us from the Queens office there at the rally, as well as at some of the protests earlier in the trial.  I can’t believe the NY times hype that the response to the verdict has been mixed.  Anger inside and outside that court house was at a boiling point. Just because people aren’t rioting in the street doesn’t mean there’s not anger.


From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:10 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Sean Bell Bulletin


A woman sitting behind [the Bell family] broke the silence [in the courtroom] when she asked, “Did he just say ‘not guilty’?” Court officers hurried the three detectives out a back door.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/nyregion/26bell.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

* * *
Report on Friday Night Protest
By Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn)

On Friday evening, activists and members of the community met in front of Queens Supreme Court to protest the acquittal of police officers who killed Sean Bell.

Legal Aid staff members present included Lisa Edwards (CLO); Lucy Herschel (CDD-Queens); Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn); and Julie Fry, Michael Letwin, David Ocasio, Nanette Kripke, Rebecca Kurti and Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn). We held handmade signs that said, “Legal Aid attorneys against NYPD terrorism” and “Legal Aid attorneys for justice.” Protesters and members of the community told us that they were glad to see Legal Aid staff members present.

Protesters marched from Queens Supreme Court to Club Kalua, where Bell was gunned down. As the protestors marched down the streets stopping traffic, drivers honked their horns and other members of the community lined the streets and clapped or joined the march. We marched through the Jamaica Houses, where the NYPD were too afraid to follow us.

At the Jamaica Houses we were joined by young boys ages 8 to 13, who were acutely aware that they will be the next generation targeted by the NYPD. They chanted, “We Are All Sean Bell,” “NYPD Go to Hell,” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets.”  At the 103rd precinct, these kids stood without fear in front of three rows of riot police, counting to fifty for each shot fired at Sean Bell and his friends, punctuated by “Guilty!”

As we marched away from the precinct, the streets were filled only with police vehicles; in fact, police greatly outnumbered protesters. It felt like a war zone, even though it was a peaceful march.

Photos of the protest are posted at:

http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96606.html
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96653.html
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96639.html
http://community.webshots.com/album/563217143uSUDSH
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96697.html

Information about upcoming protests will be forthcoming and is available at:

http://www.peoplesjustice.org/site/
http://www.justiceforsean.net/

* * *

“The justice system let me down,” Paultre Bell said, her voice strong, her message clear. “They killed Sean all over again. That’s what it felt like to us.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/26/2008-04-26_nicole_pault

2008.04.29: Sean Bell Bulletin

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 2:10 pm

From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:10 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Sean Bell Bulletin


A woman sitting behind [the Bell family] broke the silence [in the courtroom] when she asked, “Did he just say ‘not guilty’?” Court officers hurried the three detectives out a back door.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/nyregion/26bell.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

* * *
Report on Friday Night Protest
By Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn)

On Friday evening, activists and members of the community met in front of Queens Supreme Court to protest the acquittal of police officers who killed Sean Bell.

Legal Aid staff members present included Lisa Edwards (CLO); Lucy Herschel (CDD-Queens); Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn); and Julie Fry, Michael Letwin, David Ocasio, Nanette Kripke, Rebecca Kurti and Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn). We held handmade signs that said, “Legal Aid attorneys against NYPD terrorism” and “Legal Aid attorneys for justice.” Protesters and members of the community told us that they were glad to see Legal Aid staff members present.

Protesters marched from Queens Supreme Court to Club Kalua, where Bell was gunned down. As the protestors marched down the streets stopping traffic, drivers honked their horns and other members of the community lined the streets and clapped or joined the march. We marched through the Jamaica Houses, where the NYPD were too afraid to follow us.

At the Jamaica Houses we were joined by young boys ages 8 to 13, who were acutely aware that they will be the next generation targeted by the NYPD. They chanted, “We Are All Sean Bell,” “NYPD Go to Hell,” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets.”  At the 103rd precinct, these kids stood without fear in front of three rows of riot police, counting to fifty for each shot fired at Sean Bell and his friends, punctuated by “Guilty!”

As we marched away from the precinct, the streets were filled only with police vehicles; in fact, police greatly outnumbered protesters. It felt like a war zone, even though it was a peaceful march.

Photos of the protest are posted at:

http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96606.html
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96653.html
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96639.html
http://community.webshots.com/album/563217143uSUDSH
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96697.html

Information about upcoming protests will be forthcoming and is available at:

http://www.peoplesjustice.org/site/
http://www.justiceforsean.net/

* * *

“The justice system let me down,” Paultre Bell said, her voice strong, her message clear. “They killed Sean all over again. That’s what it felt like to us.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/26/2008-04-26_nicole_pault

2008.04.29: Sean Bell Bulletin

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 1:23 pm
Tags: ,

A woman sitting behind [the Bell family] broke the silence [in the courtroom] when she asked, “Did he just say ‘not guilty’?” Court officers hurried the three detectives out a back door.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/nyregion/26bell.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

* * *
Report on Friday Night Protest
By Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn)

On Friday evening, activists and members of the community met in front of Queens Supreme Court to protest the acquittal of police officers who killed Sean Bell.

Legal Aid staff members present included Lisa Edwards (CLO); Lucy Herschel (CDD-Queens); Mimi Rosenberg (Civil-Brooklyn); and Julie Fry, Michael Letwin, David Ocasio, Nanette Kripke, Laurie Dick,* Rebecca Kurti and Noha Arafa (CDD-Brooklyn). We held handmade signs that said, “Legal Aid attorneys against NYPD terrorism” and “Legal Aid attorneys for justice.” Protesters and members of the community told us that they were glad to see Legal Aid staff members present.

Protesters marched from Queens Supreme Court to Club Kalua, where Bell was gunned down. As the protestors marched down the streets stopping traffic, drivers honked their horns and other members of the community lined the streets and clapped or joined the march. We marched through the Jamaica Houses, where the NYPD were too afraid to follow us.

At the Jamaica Houses we were joined by young boys ages 8 to 13, who were acutely aware that they will be the next generation targeted by the NYPD. They chanted, “We Are All Sean Bell,” “NYPD Go to Hell,” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets.”  At the 103rd precinct, these kids stood without fear in front of three rows of riot police, counting to fifty for each shot fired at Sean Bell and his friends, punctuated by “Guilty!”

As we marched away from the precinct, the streets were filled only with police vehicles; in fact, police greatly outnumbered protesters. It felt like a war zone, even though it was a peaceful march.

*Whose photo is at :  http://news.webshots.com/photo/2001475270042693710xXnqpi

Other photos of the protest are posted at:

http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96606.html
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96653.html
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96639.html
http://community.webshots.com/album/563217143uSUDSH
http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/04/96697.html

Information about upcoming protests will be forthcoming and is available at:

http://www.peoplesjustice.org/site/
http://www.justiceforsean.net/

* * *

“The justice system let me down,” Paultre Bell said, her voice strong, her message clear. “They killed Sean all over again. That’s what it felt like to us.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/26/2008-04-26_nicole_pault

April 25, 2008

2008.04.25: Protest 5:30 Today: Cops Acquitted of Sean Bell’s Murder

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 10:52 am
Tags:

From:     Letwin, Michael
Sent:    Friday, April 25, 2008 9:31 AM
To:    ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject:    Protest 5:30 Today: Cops Acquitted of Sean Bell’s Murder

Protest the Verdict:  The NYPD Murder of Sean Bell
Today, 5:30 p.m.
Queens DA’s Office, 125-01 Queens Blvd. (between Hoover Ave & 82nd Ave.)
E or F train to Union Turnpike
http://www.peoplesjustice.org/site/

******
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/nyregion/26BELL.html?hp

3 Detectives in Bell Shooting Acquitted

Three detectives were found not guilty Friday morning on all charges in the November, 2006, shooting death of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a club in Jamaica, Queens.

******
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/25/2008-04-25_in_the_sean_bell_case_it_was_the_gang_th.html
In the Sean Bell case, it was the gang that couldn’t prosecute straight

No matter what Justice Arthur Cooperman’s verdict in the Sean Bell trial is Friday, court watchers will remember the prosecution of this case as one of the strangest ever. . . . “Even if Cooperman finds the cops guilty, I just wish the Queens DA would prosecute all its cases like this one,” Murphy said. “In front of a jury, it would be a defense lawyer’s dream.”`

******
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-webbell0424,0,3066512.story

Sharpton, Bell supporters await verdict in shooting case

Guzman, using a cane and leaning on Sharpton’s shoulder for support, added, “It’s going to go one of two ways — either we’ll get justice for Sean Bell or they’ll condone the execution of Sean Bell.”

******
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/23/2008-04-23_rev_al_freeing_bell_cops_would_be_verdic.html

Rev. Al: Freeing Bell cops would be verdict worthy of Old South

“If we say Friday that people’s attitude gets them shot by police, are we going to say next that it’s all right for people to assault women because they look like that’s what they wanted?” Sharpton asked.

Martin made the remark during his closing argument in the case against three NYPD detectives. Guzman was the person who “had the attitude to go get a gun and come back and use it,” Martin said.

Guzman has denied threatening anyone with a gun, and Sharpton was outraged by the argument. “This smacks of Emmett Till – of reckless eyeballing,” the civil rights activist said.

Till, 14, was murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman in 1955. His killers were acquitted.

******
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/24/2008-04-24_det_oliver_has_never_shown_any_remorse_s-1.html

Det. Oliver has never shown any remorse, Sean Bell’s parents rage

“He’d come in with arrogance, like he just didn’t care. Like, ‘So what, I killed somebody, it don’t mean nothing.’ Like it’s a joke,” William Bell told the Daily News.

“He showed no remorse. None whatsoever”. . . .

All versions end with Bell and his friends walking away from the faceoff without a single blow being struck.

Bell’s father believes the cops delivered well-rehearsed accounts of the shooting and have not detailed the real events.

“They’re not going to tell you the truth, no matter what,” William Bell said. “It’s just so many fabrications, trying to build up a case. For me, it didn’t work.”

******
newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny–policeshooting-gl0425apr25,0,3604643.story

Some notable shootings involving New York police officers

Some fatal shootings of black men over the past decade involving New York City police officers:

******
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/04/24/nyregion/20080424_BELL_GRAPHIC.html

Inside the Sean Bell Shooting Trial

******
The Justice for Sean Bell statement, signed by the 57 LAS staff members listed below. The statement reflects positions (including prosecution of police perpetrators) previously adopted by ALAA. See, e.g., Statement on Police Violence & Abuse (March 22, 2000), attached [below].

Justice for Sean Bell
March 26, 2007

The undersigned New York City Legal Aid attorneys and support staff believe that the indictment of three police officers, for the fatal shooting of Sean Bell in a hail of 50 bullets, is too little and too late.

Sean Bell joins a long list of young men of color infamously murdered or assaulted by the NYPD, including Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Anthony Baez and Abner Louima. Yet police officers are almost never indicted—let alone convicted—for their crimes.

Police shootings, and the systemic failure to effectively prosecute their perpetrators, shows that the problem is not a “few bad apples” in the NYPD.  Rather, they are the predictable result of a criminal justice system that—as a matter of deliberate policy—systematically targets communities of color for search‑and‑destroy arrest sweeps, widespread criminalization and inhumane drug sentences.

Under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, there has been an explosion in the number of racially‑discriminatory stop‑and‑frisks.  The vast majority of these do not result in an arrest, and most that do are for such charges as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, open alcohol containers, walking between subway cars, and marijuana possession.

These illegal stops generate criminal records for hundreds of thousands of people of color, and are often accompanied by false accusations, physical threats, beatings, torture, or worse.

Such injustices cannot be ended by tinkering with existing policies.  Genuine solutions must include:

1.  Firing Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

2.  Vigorous prosecution, by a special prosecutor, of police officers—especially commanders—who commit or condone the crimes described above.

3.  An end to militarized police operations against young people of color.

* * *

Signers (Affiliations listed for identification only):

Charles Billups
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn
Chairperson, The Grand Council of Guardians

Antonia Codling
Criminal Defense Division‑Bronx
Affirmative Action Representative
ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Lucy Herschel
Criminal Appeals Bureau
Delegate, 1199/SEIU

Julie Fry
Alternate Vice President, Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Michael Letwin
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn
Former President
ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Susan Olivia Morris
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn
Former Sgt.‑at‑Arms
ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Magda Rosa‑Rios
Alternate Vice-President, Harlem Community Law Office
ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Azalia Torres
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn
Former Sr. Attorney & Attorneys of Color (ACLA) Representative
ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Bahar Ansari
Juvenile Rights Division‑Bronx

Rigodis Appling
Criminal Defense Division‑Manhattan

Noha Arafa
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Chennette X. Barreto
Shared Services

Marisa Benton
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Abby Biberman
Civil Division

Norah Bowler
Juvenile Rights Division-Queens

Kamber L. Brisbane
Harlem Community Law Office

Jennifer Burkavage
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Cynthia Colt
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Laurie Dick
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Femi B. Disu
Criminal Defense Division-Brooklyn

Monica D. Dula
Criminal Defense Division-Bronx

Kimberly Forte
Juvenile Rights Division-Manhattan

Keisha A. Godfrey
Criminal Defense Division‑Queens

Bridgette Holloman
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Allison Jordan
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Emily Kane
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Benjamin Kanstroom
Criminal Defense Division‑Manhattan

Rebecca Kurti
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Patrick Langhenry
Civil Division‑Brooklyn

Adrian Lesher
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Melissa Loehr
Criminal Defense Division-Bronx

Beth Lyons
Criminal Appeals Bureau

Dianna Lysius
Accounting

Christopher Madiou
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Titus Mathai
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Joyce Murphy
Criminal Defense Division‑Manhattan

Elizabeth Newton
Criminal Defense Division‑Queens

David Ocasio
Criminal Defense Division-Brooklyn

Ivan Pantoja
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Karena Rahall
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Hara Robrish
Criminal Defense Division-Manhattan

Jacob Rolls
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Mimi Rosenberg
Civil Division‑Brooklyn

Gerard Savage
Criminal Defense Division-Queens

Samantha Seda
Criminal Defense Division-Queens

Kawan L. Simmons
Criminal Defense Division‑Bronx

Shana Skaletsky
Criminal Defense Division‑Bronx

Brian Slater
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Steven Terry
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Rebecca Turner
Criminal Defense Division-Brooklyn

Dawn Yuster
Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Sunita Patel
Civil Division, Immigration Unit

————–

Statement on Police Violence & Abuse
Adopted by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys Delegate Council, March 22, 2000

In response to “Operation Condor,” ALAA reaffirms its commitment to provide each client with high-quality legal representation, including, but not limited to:

*Thorough pre-arraignment client interviews, under conditions that are healthy and confidential;

*Adherence to established arraignment shift hours;

*Production of incarcerated clients for each court appearance;

*Aggressive investigation and motion practice;

*Inclusion of supervising attorneys in arraignment staffing; and

*Appropriate legal action against, and publicity about, the pattern of false arrests and detention.

In response to the systemic police abuse that plagues New York City, of which “Condor” is a prominent example, ALAA reaffirms its support for far-reaching reform, including the immediate:

*Abolition of the Street Crime Unit, “Operation Condor,” and all similar “search and destroy,” body count, and arrest quota units;

*Dismissal of Police Commissioner Howard Safir;

*Permanent federal monitoring of the NYPD, and implementation of such long overdue reforms as police residency requirements and abolition of the 48-hour rule;

*Federal prosecution of the police officers responsible for the murders of Amadou Diallo, Malcolm Ferguson, Patrick Dorismond, and others;

*Prosecution of each City official who illegally released sealed records of former Legal Aid Society client Patrick Dorismond;

*Establishment of an independent state agency to aggressively prosecute future police violence and abuse; and

*End to the “War on Drugs,” including the Draconian Rockefeller sentencing laws, which only serves to promote violent crime, police brutality, and mass criminalization, particularly against communities of color.

2008.04.25: Protest 5:30 Today: Cops Acquitted of Sean Bell’s Murder

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 9:31 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 9:31 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Protest 5:30 Today: Cops Acquitted of Sean Bell’s Murder

Protest the Verdict:  The NYPD Murder of Sean Bell

Today, 5:30 p.m.

Queens DA’s Office, 125-01 Queens Blvd. (between Hoover Ave & 82nd Ave.)

E or F train to Union Turnpike

http://www.peoplesjustice.org/site/

******

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/26/nyregion/26BELL.html?hp
3 Detectives in Bell Shooting Acquitted
Three detectives were found not guilty Friday morning on all charges in the November, 2006, shooting death of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a club in Jamaica, Queens.

******

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/25/2008-04-25_in_the_sean_bell_case_it_was_the_gang_th.html
In the Sean Bell case, it was the gang that couldn’t prosecute straight
No matter what Justice Arthur Cooperman’s verdict in the Sean Bell trial is Friday, court watchers will remember the prosecution of this case as one of the strangest ever. . . . “Even if Cooperman finds the cops guilty, I just wish the Queens DA would prosecute all its cases like this one,” Murphy said. “In front of a jury, it would be a defense lawyer’s dream.”`

******

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/ny-webbell0424,0,3066512.story
Sharpton, Bell supporters await verdict in shooting case
Guzman, using a cane and leaning on Sharpton’s shoulder for support, added, “It’s going to go one of two ways — either we’ll get justice for Sean Bell or they’ll condone the execution of Sean Bell.”

******

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/23/2008-04-23_rev_al_freeing_bell_cops_would_be_verdic.html
Rev. Al: Freeing Bell cops would be verdict worthy of Old South
“If we say Friday that people’s attitude gets them shot by police, are we going to say next that it’s all right for people to assault women because they look like that’s what they wanted?” Sharpton asked.

Martin made the remark during his closing argument in the case against three NYPD detectives. Guzman was the person who “had the attitude to go get a gun and come back and use it,” Martin said.

Guzman has denied threatening anyone with a gun, and Sharpton was outraged by the argument. “This smacks of Emmett Till – of reckless eyeballing,” the civil rights activist said.

Till, 14, was murdered in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman in 1955. His killers were acquitted.

******

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/04/24/2008-04-24_det_oliver_has_never_shown_any_remorse_s-1.html
Det. Oliver has never shown any remorse, Sean Bell’s parents rage
“He’d come in with arrogance, like he just didn’t care. Like, ‘So what, I killed somebody, it don’t mean nothing.’ Like it’s a joke,” William Bell told the Daily News.

“He showed no remorse. None whatsoever”. . . .

All versions end with Bell and his friends walking away from the faceoff without a single blow being struck.

Bell’s father believes the cops delivered well-rehearsed accounts of the shooting and have not detailed the real events.

“They’re not going to tell you the truth, no matter what,” William Bell said. “It’s just so many fabrications, trying to build up a case. For me, it didn’t work.”

******

newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny–policeshooting-gl0425apr25,0,3604643.story

Some notable shootings involving New York police officers

Some fatal shootings of black men over the past decade involving New York City police officers:

******

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/04/24/nyregion/20080424_BELL_GRAPHIC.html

Inside the Sean Bell Shooting Trial

******

The Justice for Sean Bell statement, signed by the 57 LAS staff members listed below. The statement reflects positions (including prosecution of police perpetrators) previously adopted by ALAA. See, e.g., Statement on Police Violence & Abuse (March 22, 2000), attached [below].

Justice for Sean Bell

March 26, 2007

The undersigned New York City Legal Aid attorneys and support staff believe that the indictment of three police officers, for the fatal shooting of Sean Bell in a hail of 50 bullets, is too little and too late.

Sean Bell joins a long list of young men of color infamously murdered or assaulted by the NYPD, including Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Anthony Baez and Abner Louima. Yet police officers are almost never indicted—let alone convicted—for their crimes.

Police shootings, and the systemic failure to effectively prosecute their perpetrators, shows that the problem is not a “few bad apples” in the NYPD.  Rather, they are the predictable result of a criminal justice system that—as a matter of deliberate policy—systematically targets communities of color for search‑and‑destroy arrest sweeps, widespread criminalization and inhumane drug sentences.

Under the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, there has been an explosion in the number of racially‑discriminatory stop‑and‑frisks.  The vast majority of these do not result in an arrest, and most that do are for such charges as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, open alcohol containers, walking between subway cars, and marijuana possession.

These illegal stops generate criminal records for hundreds of thousands of people of color, and are often accompanied by false accusations, physical threats, beatings, torture, or worse.

Such injustices cannot be ended by tinkering with existing policies.  Genuine solutions must include:

1.  Firing Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

2.  Vigorous prosecution, by a special prosecutor, of police officers—especially commanders—who commit or condone the crimes described above.

3.  An end to militarized police operations against young people of color.

* * *

Signers (Affiliations listed for identification only):

Charles Billups

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Chairperson, The Grand Council of Guardians

Antonia Codling

Criminal Defense Division‑Bronx

Affirmative Action Representative

ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Lucy Herschel

Criminal Appeals Bureau

Delegate, 1199/SEIU

Julie Fry

Alternate Vice President, Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Michael Letwin

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Former President

ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Susan Olivia Morris

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Former Sgt.‑at‑Arms

ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Magda Rosa‑Rios

Alternate Vice-President, Harlem Community Law Office

ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Azalia Torres

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Former Sr. Attorney & Attorneys of Color (ACLA) Representative

ALAA/UAW Local 2325

Bahar Ansari

Juvenile Rights Division‑Bronx

Rigodis Appling

Criminal Defense Division‑Manhattan

Noha Arafa

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Chennette X. Barreto

Shared Services

Marisa Benton

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Abby Biberman

Civil Division

Norah Bowler

Juvenile Rights Division-Queens

Kamber L. Brisbane

Harlem Community Law Office

Jennifer Burkavage

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Cynthia Colt

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Laurie Dick

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Femi B. Disu

Criminal Defense Division-Brooklyn

Monica D. Dula

Criminal Defense Division-Bronx

Kimberly Forte

Juvenile Rights Division-Manhattan

Keisha A. Godfrey

Criminal Defense Division‑Queens

Bridgette Holloman

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Allison Jordan

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Emily Kane

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Benjamin Kanstroom

Criminal Defense Division‑Manhattan

Rebecca Kurti

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Patrick Langhenry

Civil Division‑Brooklyn

Adrian Lesher

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Melissa Loehr

Criminal Defense Division-Bronx

Beth Lyons

Criminal Appeals Bureau

Dianna Lysius

Accounting

Christopher Madiou

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Titus Mathai

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Joyce Murphy

Criminal Defense Division‑Manhattan

Elizabeth Newton

Criminal Defense Division‑Queens

David Ocasio

Criminal Defense Division-Brooklyn

Ivan Pantoja

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Karena Rahall

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Hara Robrish

Criminal Defense Division-Manhattan

Jacob Rolls

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Mimi Rosenberg

Civil Division‑Brooklyn

Gerard Savage

Criminal Defense Division-Queens

Samantha Seda

Criminal Defense Division-Queens

Kawan L. Simmons

Criminal Defense Division‑Bronx

Shana Skaletsky

Criminal Defense Division‑Bronx

Brian Slater

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Steven Terry

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Rebecca Turner

Criminal Defense Division-Brooklyn

Dawn Yuster

Criminal Defense Division‑Brooklyn

Sunita Patel

Civil Division, Immigration Unit

————–

Statement on Police Violence & Abuse

Adopted by the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys Delegate Council, March 22, 2000

In response to “Operation Condor,” ALAA reaffirms its commitment to provide each client with high-quality legal representation, including, but not limited to:

*Thorough pre-arraignment client interviews, under conditions that are healthy and confidential;

*Adherence to established arraignment shift hours;

*Production of incarcerated clients for each court appearance;

*Aggressive investigation and motion practice;

*Inclusion of supervising attorneys in arraignment staffing; and

*Appropriate legal action against, and publicity about, the pattern of false arrests and detention.

In response to the systemic police abuse that plagues New York City, of which “Condor” is a prominent example, ALAA reaffirms its support for far-reaching reform, including the immediate:

*Abolition of the Street Crime Unit, “Operation Condor,” and all similar “search and destroy,” body count, and arrest quota units;

*Dismissal of Police Commissioner Howard Safir;

*Permanent federal monitoring of the NYPD, and implementation of such long overdue reforms as police residency requirements and abolition of the 48-hour rule;

*Federal prosecution of the police officers responsible for the murders of Amadou Diallo, Malcolm Ferguson, Patrick Dorismond, and others;

*Prosecution of each City official who illegally released sealed records of former Legal Aid Society client Patrick Dorismond;

*Establishment of an independent state agency to aggressively prosecute future police violence and abuse; and

*End to the “War on Drugs,” including the Draconian Rockefeller sentencing laws, which only serves to promote violent crime, police brutality, and mass criminalization, particularly against communities of color.

April 22, 2008

2008.04.22: Friday: Sean Bell Verdict Protest

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 10:54 am
Tags:

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 7:49 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Friday: Sean Bell Verdict Protest
[NYC Labor Against the War has endorsed this event]

JUSTICE FOR SEAN BELL AND ALL VICTIMS OF POLICE VIOLENCE!!
COME OUT APRIL 25th, THE DAY OF THE VERDICT!!

In Nov. 2006, Sean Bell was murdered by the NYPD in a hail of 50 bullets. His friends, Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, were seriously injured. 3 of the officers involved now await the verdict of their trial. On April 14th, the judge stated that he will announce the verdict on FRIDAY, APRIL 25th. PEOPLES JUSTICE for Community Control and Police Accountability is calling for a rally in front of the Queens DA’s office ON Friday APRIL 25th (no longer on the day-after the verdict is announced)*.

COME OUT: APRIL 25th at 5:30 pm
@ the Queens DA’s Office
125-01 Queens Blvd. (between Hoover Ave & 82nd Ave.)
E or F train to Union Turnpike

The NYPD’s murder of Bell and attempted murders of Benefield and Guzman are NOT isolated or random events. They represent the continued targeting of communities of color by the police and the lack of accountability for police misconduct and abuse.

Endorsers (list in formation as of 4/15/08): Audre Lorde Project (ALP), CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, Congress for Korean Reunification, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), DJ Chela, Domestic Workers United (DWU), FIERCE!, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition/NYC, Hasan Salaam, Hip Hop Caucus, Immigrant Justice Solidarity Project, International Action Center, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), Justice Committee, Lynne Stewart Organization, Make the Road by Walking, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Mano a Mano, May 1st Coalition, National Hip Hop Political Convention, New Abolitionists, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, October 22nd Coalition, Parents Against Police Brutality, Rebel Diaz, Revolting in Pink (R.I.P), Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities (RIPPD), VAMOS Unidos, War Resisters League.

For more information about the April 25th rally/community speak-out, Peoples’ Justice, and other cases of police violence go to: peoplesjustice. org and myspace.com/ peoplesjustice or email info@peoplesjustice .org.

* If the judge goes back on his word and chooses to delay delivering the verdict, COME OUT on April 25th at 5:30 pm and go to peoplesjustice. org and myspace.com/ peoplesjustice to find out about next steps

2008.04.22: Brooklyn Eagle Publishes Union Members’ Protest Letter

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=10&id=20070

Letter to the Editor

by Brooklyn Eagle (edit@brooklyneagle.net), published online 04-22-2008

Re: “Lisa Schreibersdorf Receives Public Defense Award” by Elizabeth Stull; published Feb. 5, 2008 and Brooklyn Attorney Leads State Association Of Criminal Defense Lawyers” by Elizabeth Stull; published Feb. 13, 2008.

To the editor:

Legal Aid Union Members Protest NYSBA Defense Award to Lisa Schreibersdorf. The undersigned 100 union members at The Legal Aid Society protest the New York State Bar Association’s selection of Lisa Schreibersdorf to receive the Michele S. Maxian Award for Outstanding Public Defense Practitioner.

Maxian, who died in 2006, was a Legal Aid Society attorney who selflessly dedicated her career to strengthening and improving indigent criminal defense.

Because of her efforts, the NYPD was ordered to arraign criminal defendants within 24 hours of arrest. She frequently testified in support of criminal justice reform. And she tenaciously defended the Society against Rudolph Giuliani, who slashed Legal Aid funding in retaliation for a 1994 strike by the Society’s attorneys (Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325) and support staff (1199SEIU).

Yes, Schreibersdorf too once worked at The Legal Aid Society. Unlike Maxian, however, Schreibersdorf and several other of our former colleagues responded to Giuliani’s attack by setting up a nonunion contractor, Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), which successfully bid for millions of dollars cut from the unionized Society.

In this, she was joined by Appellate Advocates (Second Department), Bronx Defenders, Center for Appellate Litigation (First Department), Queens Law Associates, New York County Defenders Association, and Battiste, Aronowsky & Suchow (Staten Island).

Together, these bidders — most of them by former Legal Aid staff members — played the critical role of legitimizing Giuliani’s destructive union-busting and “competitive bidding” in indigent defense. Schreibersdorf sought to whitewash her role by claiming that Giuliani’s policies were good for Legal Aid staff and clients: “Brooklyn Defender Services’ entry into the court system has even lightened the load of the Legal Aid Society’s attorneys who … are overworked and underpaid … [They] are now able to more effectively represent their own clients.”[1]

More candidly, Schreibersdorf admitted, “I don’t have any grudge against Legal Aid … [b]ut. … [t]he city is making this offer and we’re taking it.”[2]

While management at the nonunion contractors has profited, Legal Aid staff and clients have paid the price: deep personnel cuts, sharply-escalating workloads and near-institutional bankruptcy. As the New York Times reported in 2001, Giuliani’s cuts — which by then totaled a cumulative $160 million — had “hobbled” the Society.[3]

In 2006, a report to Chief Judge Judith Kaye reiterated that finding, and concluded that Giuliani’s competitive bidding policy had predictably fragmented and weakened the entire indigent defense system in New York City. It also reported declining conditions for line staff at the nonunion contractors.[4]

Rather than take any responsibility for helping to bring this about, Schreibersdorf disparages her former colleagues: “I left Legal Aid in the mid nineties. In my opinion, it’s not the same place it was.”[5] In 2008, Schreibersdorf has added insult to injury by shamelessly trading on her past connection with the Society. But the honor belongs to Legal Aid staff, who — despite these continuing attacks — have sought to defend the quality of indigent representation that Schreibersdorf and her confederates have helped to undermine.

Please forward this letter to all NYSBA officials.

Signers: (In an individual capacity; no organizational endorsement implied)

Michael Letwin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Azalia Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Eric Megett (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Adrian Lesher (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Steve Kliman (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Steve Terry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Fred Pratt (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Steve Sindos (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Estajo Koslow (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Margaret McClean (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn)* Steven Plotkin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn)* Gregory C. Williams (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn)* Julie Fry (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Daniella Korotzer (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn) Robyn Lear (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Judith Karpatkin (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Noha Arafa (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Ivan Pantoja (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Melissa Kanas (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Marisa Benton (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Femi Disu (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Jeffrey Sugarman (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn) Dana Cohen (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Joshua Scheier (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Steven Levine (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Susan Litt (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Tara Shakur (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Susan O. Morris (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Matthew Caretto (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Laurie Dick (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Jill Waldman (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Brian Hutchinson (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn) Victoria L. Eby (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Andrea Gordon (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Allison Jordan (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Richard Torres (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Bryan Coakley (Criminal Defense-Queens)* Jacob Rolls (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Raoul Zaltzberg (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Alexander Smith (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Davim Horowitz (Crim. Defense-Manhattan) Bahar Mirhosseini (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn) Shannon Stallings (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn) Daniel Moore (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Kathryn Liverani (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Tasha N. Lloyd (Criminal Defense-Bronx) Patricia Gil (Civil-Queens) Margarita Menuar (Civil-Harlem) Keisha A. Godfrey (Criminal Defense-Queens) Bahar Ansari (Juvenile Rights-Bronx) Marla Grossman (Criminal Defense-Queens)* Emily Kane (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Michael Baldwin (Crim. Defense-Manhattan) Dale A. Wilker (Prisoners’ Rights Project)* Sydney O’Hagan (Crim. Defense-Manhattan) Christina Giardino (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn) Leigh Latimer (Criminal Defense-Queens) Marianne Allegro (Juv. Rights-Manhattan)* Carol Hochberg (Juvenile Rights-Manhattan)* Melissa Loehr (Criminal Defense-Bronx) Bridgett Holloman (Crim. Defense-Brooklyn) Justin L. Haines (Civil-Bronx) Meighan McSherry (Criminal Defense-Bronx) Kristin Bruan (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Florence Morgan (Criminal Defense-Queens)* David Affler (Criminal Defense-Manhattan)* Alison Webster (Criminal Defense-Bronx)* Albert Wall (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Mary Ross (Criminal Defense-Queens) Stephanie Kaplan (Crim. Defense-Manhattan)* Deborah Hill (Criminal Defense-Manhattan) Elizabeth Felber (Criminal Defense-Bronx)* Roslyn Morrison (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Laura Boyd (Criminal Appeals)* Chandra Gomes (Criminal Defense-Queens)* Todd Smith (Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn) E. Grace Park (Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn) Warren Deans (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Michael Taglieri (Criminal Appeals)* Thomas Johnson (Criminal Defense-Queens)* Tara Collins (Criminal Defense-Manhattan) Antoinette Costanzo (Crim. Defense-Manhattan)* Heidi Bota (Criminal Appeals) David Ocasio (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Lucy Herschel, (Criminal Defense-Queens) Rebecca Kurti (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Cory Walker (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) Myra Alcarese (Juvenile Rights-Queens) Norah Bowler (Juvenile Rights-Queens) John Hirsch (Criminal Defense-Manhattan) Lori Masco (Juvenile Rights-Brooklyn) Kerry Elgarten (Criminal Appeals)* Ruthlyn Belnavis (Juvenile Rights-Manhattan) Mily Garcia (Criminal Defense-Brooklyn) W. Joseph Hochberg (Juv. Rights-Brooklyn) Terence Davidson (Criminal Defense-Admin.) Joshua Goldfein (Civil-Homeless Rights)* Amelia McGovern (Crim. Defense-Manhattan)* Richard DiMarco (Crim. Defense-Manhattan)* Lisa Edwards (Civil-Harlem)*

*1994 strike veteran

Notes 1. Affirm. of Lisa Schreibersdorf (July 16, 1996), Legal Aid Society v. NYC, No. 603291-96 (Sup Ct., NY Co.).

2. Goldstein, 12 Bidders Seek to displace Legal Aid; Proposals to be Screened By City Agency by Jan. 17, NYLJ, January 9, 1996.

3. Fritsch & Rohde, For New York City’s Poor, a Lawyer With 1,600 Clients, N.Y. Times, April 9, 2001. 4. Status of Indigent Defense in New York: A Study for Chief Judge Kaye’s Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services, Final Report (The Spangenberg Group, June 16, 2006), at 154.

5. In the Matter of the New York State Commission on the Future of Indigent Defense Services (May 12, 2005), at 198.

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