ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

July 31, 2008

2008.07.31: Pollice Abuse: Cop shown clubbing cuffed vet, taking call, then going on the attack again

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

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 8:10 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Pollice Abuse: Cop shown clubbing cuffed vet, taking call, then going on the attack again

Cop shown clubbing cuffed vet, taking call, then going on the attack again


Thursday, July 31st 2008, 12:33 AM for News

Walter Harvin shows blood stains and bruises (below) that he says resulted from a police officer wielding a baton. for News

A city cop caught on tape beating a handcuffed Army vet paused to take a phone call and then went right back to smashing the man with his baton, police sources told the Daily News.

Officer David London, 43, was stripped of his gun and badge Monday and placed on desk duty as the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau investigated the July 18 incident, sources said.

“He takes a cell phone break, then turns back to tuning up the [suspect]. He did it while the building security camera was rolling,” a source said.

London and his partner stopped Walter Harvin, 28, as he tried to enter the DeHostos Apartment on W. 93rd St., where Harvin’s mother lives, about 1:15 a.m.

“I told him don’t close it because I don’t have the keys,” said Harvin, a vet who was discharged in 2004 for posttraumatic stress disorder.

“As I walked into the elevator he grabbed my arm. That’s when I pushed him,” Harvin said. “I was on the floor and he kept beating me with the stick. He sprayed me with Mace. While I was on the floor, he handcuffed me. I don’t remember too much about it.”

Security video from the building showed London beating Harvin after he was cuffed and on the ground, a source said.

“You are not supposed to beat a man once he is cuffed, but the video shows the [suspect] down on the ground, cuffed. They even stand him up in the corner and beat him with the [baton] some more,” said a police source familiar with the security video.

As London and his partner propped the handcuffed war vet up against a wall, London’s cell phone rang, sources said.

Video showed London talking on the phone for 90 seconds before he resumed beating Harvin, sources said.

London told colleagues Harvin went berserk when he was asked to show identification or proof he was entitled to be in the building.

Harvin started punching and kicking the cops, screaming, “You can’t take me!” court papers say.

“He is a big guy who fought being cuffed, kicking. He was not quiet, lying there like a lamb,” one source said.

London took the cell phone call only because it was an emergency, another source said, although he wouldn’t elaborate.

Harvin said he didn’t remember much of what happened once the beating started. He was charged with assault and resisting arrest and was released pending a hearing.

Harvin said he told the cop he served 3 1/2 years in the 101st Airborne Division, including six months in Iraq.

“[London] said he was in the Navy. It didn’t matter to him. He said I was a disgrace,” Harvin said.

July 29, 2008

2008.07.29: Friday: 1199 Kingsbridge Strike Benefit

Filed under: Labor Solidarity — nyclaw01 @ 8:39 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2008 8:39 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Friday: 1199 Kingsbridge Strike Benefit

***Please forward widely! Especially to union

listserves and individual members of unions!***


STRIKE BENEFIT — Showing of Michael Moore’s “Sicko”


Come see Michael Moore’s “Sicko” & support striking health

care workers. In this moving film, Moore exposes the deadly

nature of the system for even those with health insurance.

$5-10 donation requested at the door. No one turned away for

lack of funds. All proceeds support striking health care

workers at the Kingsbridge Nursing Home from SEIU Local 1199

who have been on strike for nearly five months.

5pm, Friday, August 1, 2008

Fort Independence Community Center, 3350 Bailey Avenue

(1 train to 231 St., walk east across the

Van Deegan Expressway, take a left on Albany Crescent,

right onto 233 St., and left onto Bailey)


Read “High stakes for the Kingsbridge strikers”:

July 25, 2008

2008.07.25: Newsday: NYPD wants suspects to sign search consent form

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse — nyclaw01 @ 8:31 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 8:31 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Newsday: NYPD wants suspects to sign search consent form,0,16241.story

NYPD wants suspects to sign search consent form


June 25, 2008

The New York City Police Department wants suspects to sign a consent form before searching their homes or cars, a move that eliminates the need for a warrant and is meant to provide police a layer of legal protection, Newsday has learned.

The initiative was put in place because consent searches are often challenged at trial – and jurors too often believe the suspect’s claim that police never got permission to conduct the search, police sources said.

At the same time, sources said, there has been concern within the NYPD about a handful of cases in which an officer’s truthfulness was recently called into question.

In one case, a federal judge said he found it “wholly plausible” that a sergeant forced his way into a Bronx apartment to conduct a search despite the sergeant’s contention otherwise.

The case, for a fatal 2002 shooting, was eventually dismissed and the city paid $280,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit.

The consent form has been used by the FBI for years and is already in place in a number of police departments around the country, including in Suffolk County.

The New York Civil Liberties Union says the forms have an obvious upside because it adds to the record of a particular interaction between officer and civilian.

“On the other hand, we certainly hope this wouldn’t be used to camouflage any wrongdoing, such as coercion,” said Donna Lieberman, the group’s executive director. “We hope the Police Department monitors how things work out and that the CCRB [Civilian Complaint Review Board] carefully looks at the implementation of this new protocol.”

Robert Thetford, a retired FBI agent who works closely with state troopers on constitutional law issues, says a signed consent form is typically the difference between a jury believing an officer or believing a suspect.

“The bottom line is juries believe what they see in writing,” he said.

July 10, 2008

2008.07.10: FW: [nycmassdefense] LegObsReq: Tues. 7/15

Filed under: Racism — nyclaw01 @ 3:27 pm

From: Morris, Susan
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 3:27 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: FW: [nycmassdefense] LegObsReq: Tues. 7/15

From: [] On Behalf Of Bruce Bentley
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2008 1:15 PM
Subject: [nycmassdefense] LegObsReq: Tues. 7/15

Legal Observer Request

If you can help, contact Susan at the NLG-NYC office at (212) 679-6018

Where: News Corp. Building (home of Fox News), 1211 Avenue of the Americas, @48th St in Manhattan

When: Tuesday, July 15, time: TBA

What: Nas and ColorOfChange members deliver 500,000 signed petitions to FOX

Move On / ColorOfChange is requesting an attorney to help negotiate with police and LOs for this event.

If you can do either, please contact the Chapter office (212) 679-6018

Subject: Join Nas to deliver our petitions at Fox News in NYC

Where: News Corp. Building (home of Fox News), 1211 Avenue of the Americas, @48th St in Manhattan

When: Tuesday, July 15, time: TBA

What: Nas and ColorOfChange members deliver 500,000 signed petitions to FOX

More Info: We’ll gather in the plaza on 48th St., just north of the Fox building, a couple hundred feet west of 6th Ave.

Contact: Tate Hausman


Dear New York area member,

A half a million people have signed our petition calling on to Fox end their race-baiting and fear-mongering! It’s an amazing response. We’re taking the campaign to the next step: at Fox News Headquarters in Manhattan, hip hop artist Nas — who has a new track calling out Fox’s racism and fear-mongering — will join and members to deliver the petitions in front of news cameras. Can you join us?

If you can, click here:

Where: News Corp. Building (home of Fox News), 1211 Avenue of the Americas, @48th St in Manhattan

When: TBD

What: Nas and ColorOfChange members deliver 500,000 signed petitions to FOX

More Info: We’ll gather in the plaza on 48th St., just north of the Fox building, a couple hundred feet west of 6th Ave.

You can help make history. Never before has Fox or any other media organization been confronted by this many Black voices and allies. The more folks that show up, the bigger the news story we can create to spread the truth about Fox’s pattern of racist propaganda. Participating is easy. Just make your way to Midtown—we’ll have signs available when you get there.

This won’t be the end of our campaign. Once we successfully brand Fox as a racist propaganda outlet, we’ll take the campaign to Fox’s advertisers. How much they listen to will depend on how well we make ourselves heard right now.

We hope you can join us.

Tate Hausman


July 8, 2008

2008.07.08: CCRB Complains That Fewer Police Officers Are Being Charged With Misconduct

Filed under: Civil Rights,Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 8:05 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, July 08, 2008 8:05 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: CCRB Complains That Fewer Police Officers Are Being Charged With Misconduct

July 8, 2008

Board Complains That Fewer Police Officers Are Being Charged With Misconduct


In 2007, the Police Department increasingly failed to prosecute officers who were found by a civilian review board to have been the subject of legitimate complaints, the board said on Monday.

The findings were part of an annual report released by the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the agency responsible for monitoring police conduct.

According to the report, the Police Department declined to prosecute 102 cases out of 296 substantiated complaints in 2007. The department’s growing disinclination to prosecute such cases was first noted in an August 2007 report by the board.

That report found that the Police Department declined to seek internal departmental trials against 31 officers — most of whom were facing departmental charges of stopping people in the street without probable cause or reasonable suspicion — over a four-month period in 2007.

By contrast, the department declined to prosecute a total of only 49 officers from 2002 through 2006, the board said. In 2003, which had the lowest number of cases in which the department declined to prosecute over the four-year period, the department declined to prosecute only 3 of 357 substantiated complaints.

The Police Department responded to the findings released on Monday by saying it did not prosecute the cases in 2007 because they lacked legal merit. Julie L. Schwartz, the Police Department’s legal advocate, has said previously that the department has decided to prosecute fewer officers partly because the review board too often does not apply the appropriate legal standards for officers’ work.

Ms. Schwartz, who decides which cases to prosecute, said the complaints related to stop-and-frisk incidents are subjective and not as clear as, say, use-of-force complaints.

“We’re in this gray area of subjectivity,” she said on Monday. “They just don’t understand the realities of police work and being out in the street at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

Andrew Case, a review board spokesman, however, said he feared that the department’s failure to prosecute was becoming more a rule than an exception.

“The low discipline levels that we first identified last year have now apparently become policy,” Mr. Case said. “So far in 2008, an even lower percentage of officers were disciplined.” Mr. Case did not provide official numbers for 2008.

Over all, the report found a slight drop in complaints against police officers, down to 7,559 in 2007 from 7,662 in 2006. The board found police misconduct in 8 percent of the cases it investigated fully in 2007, below the average of 12 percent over the last five years. A majority of complaints, as in past years, involved abuse of authority, such as cases in which people say they were stopped and frisked without cause, followed by complaints of use of force, discourtesy and offensive language.

The report included examples of specific cases addressed in 2007. In one, on Nov. 2, 2005, a sergeant stopped two black men walking through a neighborhood in Whitestone, Queens, which is predominantly white. It was 10:45 p.m., and the men told the sergeant that they were looking at real estate.

The sergeant frisked them, finding nothing. When he was interviewed by the civilian board, the sergeant said there had been an increase in burglaries in the area.

The board substantiated the complaint, as per state law, which says that innocuous behavior does not justify frisking. The Police Department did not prosecute the case.

Ms. Schwartz said the men consented to the search. “If you consent to be searched, there’s no misconduct,” she said. “There wasn’t an allegation that they were bullied into it.”

She said she has used the very same case as an example of the gap in understanding between the police and the civilian board. She said the two men in Whitestone were as young as 19, walking down the middle of the street late at night, and that their real estate story was questionable at best.

“I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do in that case,” she said. “Isn’t that what we want cops to be doing?”

The civilian board has suggested that it be given the power to try the cases it substantiates, rather than leaving it up to the advocate’s office.

“It’s not like we’re out to get police officers,” Franklin H. Stone, the chairwoman, said in April. “It’s a really small percentage of the cases that we find the complainants are credible. What we’re saying is, try the cases or let us.”

July 2, 2008

2008.07.02: NYPD: What Chain of Custody?

Filed under: Criminal Justice — nyclaw01 @ 5:19 pm

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2008 5:19 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: NYPD: What Chain of Custody?

July 2, 2008

Audit Faults Police Department for Losing Track of Guns By CHRISTINE HAUSER

Nearly one out of three handguns and rifles that had been turned in to the police could not be immediately accounted for in a Manhattan property clerk’s office, according to a city audit released on Tuesday that criticized the Police Department’s storage procedures.

The audit, conducted by the office of William C. Thompson Jr., the city comptroller, examined the records of 324 weapons chosen at random out of thousands in storage in the Manhattan property division. Ninety-four of them could not be immediately found in their assigned storage areas.

“It’s a case of weapons gone AWOL,” Mr. Thompson said at a news conference on Tuesday.

After the initial search, it was determined that 70 of the 94 weapons had been returned to their owners or destroyed, Mr. Thompson said, while 24 “miraculously” turned up on shelves from where they had previously been missing after several attempts to find them.

“At no time were we given a satisfactory explanation about where the firearms had been, how they had been located or how they had been returned to the same spot that the auditors and the property clerk staff had checked on at earlier dates,” Mr. Thompson said.

“How can it take five attempts to find a 20-gauge shotgun at 1 Police Plaza?” he said.

The property clerk division, which has an office in each borough, catalogs and safeguards property taken into police custody, such as cash, narcotics and weapons. Firearms are turned in by owners whose licenses have expired, or are seized from criminals, or simply found and handed over.

In a statement on Tuesday, Assistant Chief Michael E. Collins, a Police Department spokesman, said the division has more than two million pieces of inventory. In 2007 alone, police officials said, 13,000 firearms were collected.

Mr. Thompson said the results of the audit, which started in June 2007 and looked at records from 1999 to 2007, raised greater concern over bureaucracy than safety. There was no evidence that weapons had been removed for personal use.

Mr. Thompson also said that no particular incident or fear spurred the audit.

In a letter that accompanied the audit, John P. Gerrish, a deputy chief of the Police Department, said that every firearm was accounted for in the audit, although “some required a prolonged effort to locate, given the fact that firearms may at times be removed from their original storage position for court appearances, destruction, etc.”

The report said the Manhattan office had 29,576 handguns and thousands of rifles as of June 2007. It said auditors found rifles stacked on top of one another, some without identifying tags. Some firearms were kept longer than required, the audit found. Police Department regulations require weapons to be reclaimed or disposed of after one year, unless they are needed as evidence.

The report made more than a dozen recommendations. It called for stricter enforcement of the regulation requiring weapons that are not being used in court cases to be destroyed after one year, revamping the storage areas and improving the tracking system. According to Kristen McMahon, a spokeswoman for the comptroller’s office, the audit focused on Manhattan because it is considered the central office in the property clerk division, and policies and procedure manuals are created there.

Chief Collins said the department has already introduced many of the recommendations made in the report, including the selection of a company to install a $28 million electronic tracking system, and taking inventory of its stored firearms.

Mr. Gerrish also noted that the department was evaluating whether to overhaul its shelving system.

Mr. Thompson, who is widely believed to be a contender in the mayor’s race next year, said that the audit did not reflect concerns about leadership of the department, rather on those who oversee the property clerk’s offices. The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, has faced speculation over whether he will run for mayor.

“This is a real issue,” Mr. Thompson said in a brief interview after the news conference. “One would hope that it would not be viewed within a political light.”

The audit focused on cash as well as firearms because both are “susceptible” to theft, Mr. Thompson said. In contrast, auditors were satisfied with the property division’s handling of cash, with records reviewed each month.

“The controls there are good,” Mr. Thompson said.

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