Law school clinics criticize NYPD response to Occupy protests
NEW YORK, July 25 (Reuters) – New York police officers have used excessive force, made unjustified arrests and engaged in pervasive surveillance in violation of the rights of Occupy Wall Street protesters, according to a report released by two law school clinics Wednesday.
The report documents 130 separate incidents of alleged abuse by law enforcement authorities and calls for the creation of an independent inspector general to monitor the New York City Police Department.
Some critics of the department’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy, including the New York Civil Liberties Union, have also called for an inspector general. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that such a position is unnecessary.
“Many of the reported allegations individually indicate clear violations of the government’s obligation to uphold assembly and expression rights,” says the 132-page report, which was produced after eight months of research.
The report, “Suppressing Protest: Human Rights Violations in the U.S. Response to Occupy Wall Street,” was authored by members of the Global Justice Clinic at New York University School of Law and the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic at Fordham Law School. It was delivered Wednesday to the NYPD, the Department of Justice and the United Nations. Continue reading →
[The “Stop and Frisk” police program of racist targeting, harassment, and stalking of Black and Brown people, is a comprehensive and systematic policy of enforcing white supremacist privilege–and non-white subjugation–which is so essential to the American capitalist system. While it is openly maintained, even boastfully, in New York City, the same program exists, with minor variations and guises, throughout the country. — Frontlines ed.]
203,500 made in first 3 months of 2012; critics claim profiling in play
Protests of the systematic “stop and frisk” program in New York City and elsewhere have brought a politically diverse number of activists and politicians into opposition to the program. Here, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio talks about a campaign to reform the NYPD’s stop and frisk program during a news conference Wednesday at New York’s City Hall.
By Edith Honan, Reuters, May 12, 2012
NEW YORK — New York police conducted more than 200,000 frisk searches in the first three months of this year, a 10 percent increase from the same period last year, even as critics say the practice often is racial profiling.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have long defended the program as one that saves lives and has helped bring violent crime down to historic lows, making New York one of the safest big cities in America.
But the New York Civil Liberties Union and other groups say that black and Latino New Yorkers are stopped with alarming frequency, even though in the great majority of cases they are found to have done nothing wrong.
Last week, the organization released a study that found that in 2011, police performed more stop-and-frisk searches of young black men than the total number of young black men living in New York.
So far this year, almost all of the stops have involved men, while blacks made up more than half of the stops and a third involved Latinos. About one in ten of those stopped were white and 3 percent of the stops were Asian.
Police spokesman Paul Browne said the demographic breakdown corresponded to crime data. The department provided the data to the New York City Council on Friday and to reporters on Saturday. Continue reading →
New York police sued over patrols inside apartment buildings
March 29, 2012|Jonathan Allen | Reuters
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A civil liberties group said on Wednesday it was suing the New York City Police Department for patrolling inside apartment buildings, saying residents are routinely stopped while simply going to check their mail.
Nearly every day police “unlawfully” stop and question residents of apartment buildings enrolled in a program called Operation Clean Halls, according to the lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union and a dozen tenants.
“If you live in one of the thousands of apartment buildings enrolled in Operation Clean Halls, you are a suspect for no other reason than where you live,” Donna Lieberman, the NYCLU’s executive director, said at a press conference.
“Taking out the garbage, checking the mail or, yes, even going out for a pack of Skittles, can result in you being detained, thrown against the wall for police questioning, and even arrested for trespassing if you so much as dare to leave your apartment without an ID, particularly if you’re a young black or Latino man,” she said. Continue reading →
[The noted Black author James Balwin wrote to Angela Davis in 1970, when she was being unjustly prosecuted during the Nixon era, that “we must fight for your life as though it were our own—which it is—and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.” These words continue to ring true, and loud, today. Those who act like nothing’s wrong, those who do not speak and act against the unjust persecution of people of whatever shape, size, color, and belief, will certainly face such fate themselves, in due time. The time to resist is now. — Frontlines ed.]
President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law
Statement from the American Civil Liberties Union–FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–December 31, 2011
WASHINGTON – President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill.
“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.” Continue reading →
By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press, October 20, 2011
NEW YORK (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union accused the FBI on Thursday of abusing increased powers it was given after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by collecting and analyzing racial and ethnic demographic information across the country based on widespread stereotypes.
The civil rights group based findings in its report on documents obtained from the FBI through Freedom Of Information Act requests made last year through 34 ACLU affiliates. It said the partially redacted documents put on its website show the FBI crossed the line in its assessment of Arab Americans in Michigan, blacks in Georgia, Chinese and Russian-Americans in California and large groups of Hispanic communities in Michigan.
“The FBI’s own documents confirm our worst fears about how it is using its overly expansive surveillance and racial profiling authority,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project. “The FBI has targeted minority American communities around the country for investigation based not on suspicion of actual wrongdoing but on the crudest stereotypes about which groups commit different types of crimes.” Continue reading →