ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

June 30, 2008

2008.06.30: 7.8: Beyond Guantanamo: The Supreme Court Has Spoken – What Next?

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 1:31 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: 7.8: Beyond Guantanamo: The Supreme Court Has Spoken – What Next?

center for constitutional rights
The Center for Constitutional Rights presents…

The Supreme Court Has Spoken – What Next?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008
7:00 PM
New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street at Central Park West
New York City


On June 12, 2008, the Supreme Court issued a historic ruling in the combined cases of Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, affirming the Constitutional right of Guantánamo detainees to challenge their detention in the federal courts and undoing the attempts of the Bush administration and Congress to suspend the fundamental right of habeas corpus.

After this important decision, what does the future hold for Guantánamo’s detainees? For the law? For the U.S.?

In its first 100 days, the next president’s administration must not only take action to close Guantánamo, but also address the broader array of attacks on our Constitution and our rights that have taken place – from warrantless wiretapping, to the criminalization of activists, to the unprecedented expansion of executive power. Hear about CCR’s blueprint for the First 100 days and our exciting new campaign.

Featured speakers:
• Vincent Warren, Executive Director, CCR
• Stephen Abraham, Guantánamo whistleblower, attorney, and U.S. Army reserve officer who served on a military “combatant status review tribunal”
• Baher Azmy, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University and habeas counsel to Guantánamo detainees
• Pardiss Kebriaei, Staff Attorney, Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative, CCR
Moderated by Annette Warren Dickerson, Director of Education and Outreach, CCR

Join the Center for Constitutional Rights for penetrating analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision, the future for Guantánamo’s detainees, and a vision for moving forward, beyond Guantánamo.

This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP’s required. Contact or 212-614-6443 with any other questions.
Subway Directions: The New York Society for Ethical Culture is at 64th Street and Central Park West, two blocks east of Lincoln Center and five blocks north of Columbus Circle. Map it. Take the 1 to 66th Street and Broadway or the A, B, C, or D to Columbus Circle.

Please join us


Center for Constitutional Rights ll 666 Broadway 7th floor NY, NY 10012 ll 212-614-6464 ll

June 20, 2008

2008.06.20: Sean Bell Report: Hynes assailed for legal action against grandmother in protest

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 10:58 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Sean Bell Report: Hynes assailed for legal action against grandmother in protest

Insult to injury – Hynes assailed for legal action against grandmother in Sean Bell protest


Amsterdam News

Originally posted 6/19/2008

“This is not the plantation. You are not going to tell us to behave for six months and then you’ll dismiss the disorderly conduct charges against a 78-year-old grandmother. You need to dismiss the charges now,” an angry Councilman Charles Barron told Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes through a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “You need to tell the killer cops who gunned down Sean Bell that they need to behave. You need to tell the judge who acquitted them to behave.”

According to Barron, in Brooklyn Criminal in Court last Thursday, adding something like legal injury to judicial insult, the office of D.A. Charles Hynes informed seven Brooklyn participants in the May 7 Sean Bell day of civil disobedience that he would not be dropping the case against them.

A 78-year-old grandmother was among them.

Amy Olatunji is the widow of the late international legend and master drummer Babatunde Olatunji. An outraged Barron slammed Hynes for “disrespecting the wife of our great cultural icon Babatunde Olatunji—who taught drummers throughout New York, this nation and in fact, throughout the world. Charles Hynes decided that he wants to prosecute this 78-year-old grandmother. He should be ashamed of himself and he should apologize publicly.”

Brandishing the yellow slip that ordered him back to court on September 14, Barron, speaking before assembled media at the Tuesday press conference outside Hynes’ Downtown Brooklyn office, said that not until The Amsterdam News placed a call on Monday did he learn that “all of a sudden, D.A. Hynes is saying that he is offering ACDs [adjournments in contemplation of dismissal].”

Sure enough, after the AmNews contacted the D.A.’s press office on Monday, the e-mailed response was, “The District Attorney intends to offer ACDs to the 28 arrested in Brooklyn, provided they do not have criminal records.”

Barron called on Hynes to dismiss the disorderly charges against Olatunji for protesting the acquittal of detectives Mike Oliver, Gescard Isnora and Michael Cooper in the 50-shot slaying of groom Sean Bell.

Barron, his wife, Inez Barron, and Ms. Olatunji were among the 200-plus arrested for the May 7 traffic-stopping protests in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Along with other Brooklynites, they appeared in court on June 12 to answer to disorderly conduct charges.

Barron opined that rather than dismiss the charges or issue the ACD, as is usual for this type of charge, Hynes wants to use this highly sensitive case to make examples so as to “intimidate people not to perform acts of civil disobedience. This isn’t about me or Ms. Olatunji,” said Barron, “this is a Hynes attack on civil disobedience. He should be more angry at the police officers who killed an innocent man on his wedding day, shooting 50 bullets. Instead, he is going after those who peacefully sat down in the street.”

On Monday when the AmNews made the initial inquiry and asked about a report that not only had the D.A.’s office said that there would be no ACD offered, but a September 10 court date set, Jerry Schmetter, director of public information from Hynes’ office, responded, “I am not sure where you got that report, but we will be offering ACDs to anyone who does not have a criminal record.”

Barron begged to differ. “When we were in court they told our lawyers that they would not be offering ACDs or dismissing the case against us. In fact, they gave us a court date. He’s out of his mind. How dare he prosecute Amy Olatunji, the widow of an international leader, for exercising civil disobedience? He is a hypocrite. D.A. Hynes, you go to all the Black churches on Dr. Martin Luther King’s day—and he was the father of civil disobedience—and then yet you prosecute our grandmother for doing the same thing. You should be ashamed of yourself. The Black officers didn’t want to arrest her because they knew who she was and they respected her. But Hynes wants to make an example of her. He needs to be angry at the officers for executing Sean Bell. We demand that he drops charges against Ms. Olatunji.”

Barron told the paper that he had gone to confront Hynes at a meeting with Brooklyn clergy on Friday. While he said he did not catch up with the D.A., he did tell the gathering of preachers about the impending prosecution of Olatunji. Charged with disorderly conduct, the petite lady originally from Alabama told the AmNews that she took part in the Bell protest because, “I didn’t want to leave this planet with unborn generations believing that I had not done everything I could. If there’s still something I can do to bring justice and equality for all people, I will.”

Noah Arafa, the young Legal Aid lawyer who is representing the Barrons, Olatunji and others, told the AmNews, that out of the 28 people arrested, “seven have had no offers. [On Tuesday] five people were offered ACDs; the rest of the people are expected to be offered ACDs.”

“They gave me and two other people an ACD on Tuesday,” Rev. Herbert Daughtry told the AmNews. “I told the judge I am involved in Darfur and that it is a very critical time right now, and that I intended to be involved in another protest soon, so he said fine and told me that rather than six months, I would have to stay out of trouble for 30 days.”

Activist Lloyd Gibbs, member of Operation POWER and the National Action Network, told the AmNews that he was offered “time served or a trial. I took a trial as a political statement, plus there is a $95 surcharge. I think it is a money-generating scheme by the courts. Technically, I should not have been charged with disorderly conduct because the [police] said, ‘Go and stand over there if you want to get arrested.’ So I did.”

“The police shot down this youth on the eve of his wedding day for no good reason in cold blood,” said Olatunji of the killing of Sean Bell in November 2006.” “I’m not happy to bequeath this type of climate to the unborn generations and those here right now.”

She was arrested and handcuffed and in jail for two hours, she said quietly. Asked why she thought the D.A. had continued the legal action against her on June 12 her in regard to the September 14 court date, Olatunji told the AmNews, “To keep me quiet for the summer,” she smiled.

There will definitely be more Bell protests, Barron assured, ACDs or not. “But that is why we are so against the ACD because it means that you can’t participate in any other type of protests for six months.

“D.A. Hynes should understand our outrage over the killing of Sean Bell, They murdered this young man, and we sat down peacefully in the street. What a tradeoff. They are lucky that we just want to march peacefully: 41 shots for Amadou Diallo; 50 shots for Sean Bell—and what do we do? We protest peacefully. What do you do, Charles Hynes? You prosecute our grandmother that the police didn’t even want to arrest.

“First, they shoot and kill Sean Bell, and Hynes doesn’t say anything; then, they walk, and he still doesn’t say anything about Bell’s killers. But he’s going to prosecute us for walking in the street in protest of the verdict. He needs to apologize, and the case should be dismissed against our legend, Ms. Olatunji.

“We will not accept that level of disrespect,” said Barron. “If Hynes has changed his mind, then he should apologize.”

After the press conference in response to another AmNews inquiry, Hynes’ office responded, “Everybody arrested in connection with the demonstrations surrounding the Sean Bell trial will be offered ACDs, which will result, after six months, in the full dismissal of the charges and sealing of the files.”

When the AmNews asked Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau’s office about the Sean Bell civil disobedience arrests in Manhattan, spokeswoman Alicia Maxey Greene replied, “It’s a pending case and we don’t comment on pending cases.” She added that Nicole Paultre-Bell (Sean Bell’s “widow,” Rev. Al Sharpton and Trent Benefield all had July return court dates to address the desk appearance tickets.)

“We want to commend Ms. Olatunji for taking part in this civil disobedience for Sean Bell,” said Barron. Her world-renowned husband, Babatunde Olatunji, taught and toured the world and left a cultural legacy tat contributed to learning and greater understanding within and without the Diaspora.

“He played his drums in the street and he stopped traffic,” Olatunji told the AmNews. “He was taking a stand against the atrocities being committed in Badagry, his hometown in Nigeria, because the people couldn’t fish or farm because of the way the oil industry was ruining their land.”

A New York resident for decades, Baba Olatunji would have demanded justice for Sean Bell, she said. “He would have been in the street with his drums.”

Barron concluded that he will celebrate “the beauty and the brilliance of Black women on Thursday, June 19 at his annual Juneteenth celebration at City Hall. This year he will be honoring Amy Olatunji. The event is free and open to the public. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m.

June 16, 2008

2008.06.16: Sean Bell Update

Filed under: ALAA History,Key Documents,Police Abuse,Racism,Uncategorized — nyclaw01 @ 3:10 pm

From: Arafa, Noha
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 3:46 PM
Subject: Sean Bell Update
Importance: High

Last week I represented 7 of the 26 people arrested in Brooklyn for civil disobedience regarding the Sean Bell verdict. Everyone was charged with dis con and the People had no offer (thanks to Chuck to bringing more attention to the issue.) Not even a 78 year old woman was offered anything. Tomorrow a press conference is being held by Councilman Charles Barron in front of the DA’s office at noon regarding the Sean Bell cases. Hope to see you out there.

2008.06.16: Police Abuse: Cops Use Force – From Restraint to Drawn Guns – in 20% of stops

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 11:22 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 11:22 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Police Abuse: Cops Use Force – From Restraint to Drawn Guns – in 20% of stops

Cops use force – from restraint to drawn guns – in 20% of stops, data show



Saturday, June 14th 2008, 12:03 AM

One in five New Yorkers stopped by police in 2006 encountered some use of force, from simple restraint to facing a drawn service weapon, a Daily News analysis of new data found.

In 102,000 of the more than 500,000 police stops – about 20% – cops did things such as restrained people, threw them to the ground or against a wall or pointed a gun at them, the newly released data show.

The NYPD has refused to release use-of-force data in previous and subsequent years.

In nine out of 10 police stops involving use of force in 2006, the suspects were not arrested.

“Force is liberally defined to include such things as placing the individual on a wall for a pat down, or on a car, or on the ground or handcuffing whether an arrest is made [or] not,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

The data make clear that cops appear to pull their weapons fairly frequently without making arrests, The News found.

About 2,700 police stops wound up with an officer pulling his weapon on a suspect, records show. Of those stops, only 553 ended with an arrest. That means in four out of five stops where a weapon was drawn, no arrest was made.

Until now, the NYPD has released only limited information on why, where and how its officers stop and question citizens suspected of unlawful activity. Use-of-force details have never been made public.

They surfaced in internal data the NYPD turned over to researchers at the University of Michigan. In recent days, researchers posted much of the information on the Web.

The use-of-force statistics offer a more detailed picture of the NYPD’s increased use of police stops to combat crime. Civil liberties groups concerned about illegal police stops have sued to obtain all the data.

“The data confirms our worst fears,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The NYPD is stopping, interrogating and searching hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers.”

In all police stops, the officer must have what’s called “probable cause” to legally stop and question a person. That usually means the cops have information about a subject, are investigating a crime nearby or witness suspicious behavior.

The data reveal a wide variety of reasons to justify a stop, ranging from suspected terrorism to rent gouging.

Terrorism was the reason given for stopping and questioning citizens in 301 cases in 2006. Only one of the “terrorism” stops resulted in an arrest.

The actual charge in that case remains a mystery – all arrest details were erased from the data.

The most common reason for stopping and questioning a citizen in 2006 was suspicion the person was carrying a weapon. That was the justification 114,000 times.

Other reasons were more unusual. Twice, for instance, “adultery” was offered as justification for a police stop. Once it was “rent gouging.”

The data also revealed that more than 2,000 senior citizens were stopped.

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