Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bike Police, They're Coming to Arrest Me

Here's a reason to wear a cycling helmet. On July 25th a Critcal Mass cyclist was assaulted in Times Square, but instead was charged with assualting a police officer. If you look at the video the truth is evident: the cyclist swerves away from the cop, but the cop lunges at the cyclist. On our local message boards the discussion has been "Rogue Cop or Systematic Abuse of Power." I in fact know good cops and detectives, but there are also very bad cops. If the NYPD can defend this officer's claim of being assaulated by a crazed cyclist (again), this is in fact systematic. This harkens back to a New York Metropolitan Police run by the notorious William "Boss" Tweed. So far the officer has been re-assigned to modified desk duty, probably assaulting a crazed copy machine for aggressive paper jamming.

Our criminal court system works as such: if this case is not dropped, the cyclist will probably be in court for two and half years, spending lots of money on a defense lawyer, and then be forced into taking a misdemeanor assualt plea while signing papers stating that he or she can not sue NYC in Civil Court. In the eyes of a DA this cyclist deserves to get something. This practice has become as predictable as weather. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a meaningless catch-phrase in the United States. In other words if you have no monitery means, you can sit in prison for years until you're proven innocent. Just ask Martin Tankleff. "Guilty as entered" upon arrest is the harsh reality.

RNC August, 2004
"Walk this way." That's what many people outisde of the RNC protest area were told by the police. They were mis-lead into a restricted area bewteen police gates, coralled, cuffed, and arrested for unlawful assembly. Entrapment? Not according to billionaire Mayor Bloomberg. The NYPD was simply doing its job — if so, who's giving them directions? No one wants to take reponsibility for false arrests. According to a friend, their sweep included a lost 14-year-old French girl who was separated from her tour group, a woman walking her dog, news reporters, anyone with a camera, and a Chinese food-delivery boy — all declared a danger to our city. Some spent 48 to 72 hours being shuffled from dirty warehouses to "The Tombs" cuffed to each other. I have a legal client that is still represent '04 RNC people who were unlawfully arrested — to this day.

Unlawful Assembly at the Gate of Heavenly Peace
A friend's sister married a man she met during the riot in Tiananmen Square, in Beijing China. Ironically Tiananmen means "Gate of Heavenly Peace." Both of them (Phd student teachers) escaped with their lives and the cash they had in their pockets. They said the Chinese government recruited people from the country who were instructed to use brutal force or kill the city deviants. If one searches YouTube for "RNC 2004", the New York City RNC arrests reside in the cue along side with third-world police violence. The scarey thing is that the violence looks roughly the same. It makes one wonder where we are now. Can you imagine what they'd do to us on World Wide Knit In Public Day?


Eliza said...

Unfortunately I actually have experience with being arrested unlawfully at a peace protest 5 years ago. I can say that, well, the cyclist may at least get pro-bono legal support before the charges are dropped, which was my experience. But if he/she wants to take it further, it could take 5 years to see any sort of admission of guilt from the city. That's just my experience.

Anyway, the NYPD's policies are pretty outrageous. I doubt the police officer will see any repercussions, and I doubt the NYPD's policies will change. It's just a shame that people with a cause are viewed as terrorists by our government. How can we change the world if we're on no-fly lists (as some of my co-protesters are)?

The Yarn Monkey said...

I swear to God, apes will rules the planet again. We're half-way there.