Last night hundreds of fliers went out at General Assembly and a call from the Stop, “Stop & Frisk” Working Group, a multinational group of occupiers, who came together to build for October 21st and 22nd at OWS, was read which said in part:
“We, occupiers of Wall Street, wholly challenge the New York Police Department’s unconstitutional, racist, and inhumane ‘Stop & Frisk’ policing practice, and we will voice our opposition and challenge this policing practice gathering at 11:30 in Liberty Square to join the Stop ‘Stop & Frisk’ rally on October 21, 2011 In Harlem. On Saturday for the 16th National Day of Protest against Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation we will WEAR BLACK. We will march in solidarity on October 22nd at 12pm from Liberty Square to join in this day of protest.”
Early this morning I awoke after barely falling asleep to the sound of rain clamoring on the tarp over my sleeping bag… I start to talk… A young man chimes in that he’s personally experienced this many times and he agrees, it’s time to stand up… One young person, 25 years old, Black, has been in the military but is no longer with that and has been coming every day to the park, sometimes staying over, he decides to open up and tell these stories…
We were coming from the gym in East New York, me, my cousin, my father, he drives a hummer, they stopped all of us, maybe five of us, pulled us over randomly for no reason, he didn’t pass a stop sign didn’t do any illegal traffic moves, two cops came up to the car, I was in the passenger side, one of them was looking in the car, looking in the back, my father said, what are we being stopped for? “We’ll tell you in a minute,” they say. My father works for the Department of Sanitation they got his work card. They came back and said, “You can go.”
Another time with my friend Chris in my neighborhood, my neighborhood’s quiet, a nice neighborhood. They pulled us over got out of the car, put us in hand cuffs told us to sit in the sidewalk while they searched the car and one of the cops came up to us, they said, “The only way we’ll let you go is if you dance for us.” They said, “You heard of the dance ‘chicken noodles soup?’” “No we haven’t,” we said. “The only way we’ll let you go is if you do chicken noodle soup for us.” They let us go when when we said we didn’t know. They were jokin’ around but to me, it’s no joke, they’re trying to degrade us.
I’ve been stopped many times, they just pull up on the side walk. They went through my phone one time, that was a violation of my rights. One time I was waiting for my friend by myself they pull up on the sidewalk they search me take my wallet and phone out the cop goes through the phone sees pictures of my girlfriend “Oh, you’ve got some pictures in there.” I don’t know why you’re asking me where I’m going, who I’m waiting for going through my phone.
Those are just a few, it’s happened so many times, those are just stand out ones, happens all the time. The neighborhood I live in, it’s upper middle class, barely any crime, why do they chose to search us. It’s predominantly black neighborhood and it’s a quiet neighborhood it’s peaceful, but it’s a black neighborhood. I got other neighborhood’s they don’t stop people like that. A lot of them too have no respect for the neighborhood they think they can come in and get away with it, a lot of people don’t know their rights and even if you do they’re still going to do it because it’s you’re word against theirs.
Multiply that by almost 2,000 times. Every day. That’s the reality. Now that you know, it’s up to you to act with conscience on October 21st to stand with our brothers and sisters in this struggle.
Think about how just a few weeks ago all the anger and frustration at what this society does to people was boiling beneath the surface on the economic crisis and the criminal actions of corporations as well as this government, the lack of healthcare, no jobs, no education, mounting debt and the feeling that we don’t have a future, and now all of this has burst forth and we are impacting the political stage. It’s time for the anger around illegal unconstitutional police stop and frisk and profiling to be heard and it’s time to put a stop to this.
We at Occupy Wall Street have right on our side. We have created something beautiful and important and just- and we aren’t going anywhere!!! If we aren’t standing with people in Harlem on Friday at 1pm, can people really continue to call out that “We are the 99%”?