The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement stands in solidarity and support of the Monumental 5 and the dozens of other people who were attacked by members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) on the night of June 28, 2011.
This attack by NYPD is not new and is becoming a more recognizable part of NYPD’s identity. Communities of color continue to fall victim to police misconduct and illegal policing tactics.
According to the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union]: In 2010 alone, NYPD officers made over half a million stops, 85 percent of which targeted people of color. The reason given by NYPD for what are called “stop-and-frisk” activities were guns. In all of these cases, however, less than 0.2 percent of “stop-and-frisk” resulted in guns being found.
According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund: Blacks and Latinos represent over 90% of all citywide trespass arrests on NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] property although we make up only 54% of the New York City population.
The presence of police in NYC public schools adds to this dynamic as thousands of children of color are forced to learn under the threatening presence of the very institution that will more than likely “stop-and-frisk” them.
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement stands with the Monumental 5 in calling for a city-wide community response. We are calling on community members to adopt a culture of observation with the NYPD. Collectively, we also suggest the following community action steps:
1. Join the movement to demand that all charges against the Monumental 5 be dropped AND that the officers responsible for these attacks be brought to justice.
2. Get trained in Cop Watch and Know Your Rights programs. The People’s Justice Coalition will host a session for volunteers on Thursday, July 14 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the Center for Constitutional Rights located at 666 Broadway (on the 6th Floor) in New York City. More information can be found at www.peoplesjustice.org.
3. Attend all the upcoming court dates of the Monumental 5. A court date should not go by where they are in the court room alone.
4. Attend the upcoming town hall meeting (to be convened in the immediate future) to discuss what happened at Tammany Hall on June 28 and to discuss the increased harassment on communities of color by NYPD. There, people will be educated on how to monitor NYPD toward getting them to develop a system of accountability. Information will be posted at www.monumental5.bucktownusa.com
We will not continue to be victims of police misconduct! We will continue to organize for real police accountability.
Member, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
MONUMENTAL 5 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Monumental 5 are Louis Pena, Gabriel Diaz, Cynthia Rosa, James W. Ayala, and Jade Everett
Kenneth Montgomery, attorney for the Monumental 5, explains that friends and family gathered to celebrate the album release of Monumental, the collaborative album of Pete Rock and Smif N Wessun (the rap duo of General Steele and Tek). The sold-out event, held at Tammany Hall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was peaceful on the inside and outside. Earlier in the evening some guests wanted to enter Tammany Hall but were turned away by the club’s management and security. A minor argument ensued but was peacefully settled by the club’s bouncers. Thirty minutes later, approximately 15 – 20 uniformed New York City police officers from the 7th precinct arrived. There were no incidents, disturbances, nor any cause for alarm. They left quickly and joined their fellow officers in the exit area of the venue. Upon joining their fellow officers, the officers who had just left the venue began to put on black leather gloves. Simultaneously, more uniformed officers arrived and exited their vehicles.
Montgomery also indicated that “The officers then hurried into the club and began macing and assaulting individuals inside the club, dragging one of them out and pummeling him directly in front of the club. Present at the event were artists, industry tastemakers, fans, photographers, and camera men. Several people began filming and recording the unprovoked brutality … The officers then began to mace and assault anyone within arm’s length, including several women. Their behavior was unjustified, unprovoked, and simply barbaric considering there was no provocation. Pete Rock, Tek, and Steele, fortunately were not harmed. Some of their friends and family members, however, were assaulted by the police.”
Shara McHayle, an entertainment industry professional (who is also the wife of Pete Rock) added: “We all left the venue to be greeted outside by a sea of NYPD gloved up and very aggressive. As we began to move, we all witnessed the most brutal beating of a party patron. He was on the floor surrounded by 10 police officers with sticks out, beating him. In shock, we must have not moved quickly enough to the officers’ liking and they shouted “Move the F*** Back” and then shoved me and my daughter down to the ground. Now we were surrounded by 3 cops and 1 pinning us down. My daughter shouted “Get off my mother” and then she was handcuffed and arrested.”
McHayle’s daughter, Jade Everett, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. While in police custody Ms. Everett and her friend Cynthia Rosa began their menstruation cycles yet were refused feminine hygiene products for more than a day, adding to the inhumane conditions the young women were made to endure.
Over the July 4th holiday weekend, Attorney Montgomery affirmed the following: “All defendants except for Mr. Ayala were charged with rioting, obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest, and assault on a police officer. Mr. Ayala was charged with obstructing governmental administration. After initially requesting substantial bail for Mr. Pena and Mr. Diaz, the Manhattan district attorney’s office consented to their release after reviewing some video footage with the defense. All defendants were released and the case was adjourned to September 27, 2011, for grand jury action. All defendants have advised the government that they intend to testify in the grand jury, when and if an indictment is sought. The Manhattan district attorney advised the court that they will continue to investigate. The defense is scheduled to meet with internal affairs investigators next week to review video footage.”
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