by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Booms and bangs shatter eardrums, and the shuffling of many feet sparks fear among neighbors. A young mother, Paula Clarke, and her two daughters, are rudely awakened by these early morning sounds and noises.
The notorious Bill Bratton, now police commissioner over the NYPD once again, the champion of stop and frisk, was in charge of this April raid, apparently his way of maintaining the oppression since the end of stop and frisk. Altogether, 120 were arrested in what the NYPD and the local press calls the largest “gang takedown” in the city’s history. – Photo: Theodore Parisienne
“I thought that [it was] terrorism, nothing else,” Clarke later told a reporter. In a way, it was. But it was state terrorism, where dozens of cops invaded public housing projects – as if it was a foreign country.
Why? They were searching for members of gangs, they said.
They kicked down doors, used flash-bangs (stun grenades), and held mothers and children at gunpoint, while these raids raged on in North Bronx and Eastchester.
Why now? Simple. The courts have outlawed their notorious, unconstitutional “stop and frisk” tactics, and this is how the state responds – literally, war on the poor.
They called it the largest gang raid in modern New York history. Over 700 cops descended on the neighborhood of Williamsbridge, where over 70 young men were arrested, some for charges over a decade old.
Are gangs that big of a problem in New York? Not according to CUNY law professor Babe Howell, who found that gang-motivated and related crime accounted for between 1 and 25 percent of crime in the city between 2000 and 2013!
Being a member of a gang isn’t a crime! In fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution allegedly guarantees the right of “free association,” doesn’t it?Apparently, when you’re poor, or live in public housing, the Constitution doesn’t apply.
So, something else is afoot, isn’t it?
In 1990, North Carolina’s Bureau of Investigation staged “Operation Ready Rock” when it laid siege to a Black neighborhood in Chapel Hill. Over 40 cops, including canine and armed paramilitary forces, attacked the community in the guise of seeking crack cocaine.
Almost 100 people were detained, although only 13 were actually arrested. A class action suit against the government was filed and won, but the damage was already done. The raid was a clear case of racialized policing.
The same as in the Bronx.
But guess what? Being a member of a gang isn’t a crime! In fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution allegedly guarantees the right of “free association,” doesn’t it?
Apparently, when you’re poor, or live in public housing, the Constitution doesn’t apply.
© Copyright 2016 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. His new book is “Writing on the Wall,” edited by Joanna Hernandez. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.
Call to Action for Bronx 120
by the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home
This is a call to action for an imprisoned young man being held at MDC, the federal prison in Brooklyn. Mr. Mark Clarke was arrested April 27 of this year along with 119 other people in the largest “gang” raid in NYC history. They are now known as the Bronx 120.
Yesterday we heard the troubling news that Mark was being shot with rubber bullets in his cell. We also know of other cases of abuse Mark has received at the hands of correctional officers at MDC, such as being attacked with tear gas in his cell, and being denied visits from his family for a year. Mark has been in solitary since Sept. 14 and will be till October 2017.
Mr. Mark Clarke was arrested April 27 of this year along with 119 other people in the largest “gang” raid in NYC history. They are now known as the Bronx 120.
We are asking that people call and fax MDC, at 718-840-4200 (phone) and 718-840-5005 (fax), to make sure the warden and others know that people are aware of the situation and put pressure on them to stop the abuse and mistreatment of our brother Mark.
Some key points you can mention when you call or leave a message:
You can use this sample letter for snail mail, email or your electronic message and for fax if you have access to a fax machine. We’ve gotten responses from faxes. There are free online fax services. Please put your name and contact information at the bottom (and signature for snail mail and fax) so that they know you’re an individual real person sending it:
To: Warden Thomas R. Kane, Metropolitan Detention Center, MDC Brooklyn, fax 718-840-5005
I am writing in regards to Mark Clarke, DIN 77505-054, a pre-trial inmate in your facility. We have heard reports that Mr. Clarke is suffering a mental breakdown, and the response from your correctional team has been to shoot rubber bullets into his cell. We have heard that in the past month, tear gas has also been used against Mr. Clarke. Mr. Clarke needs to be transferred to the psychiatric unit immediately and receive an evaluation and assistance. He needs to be allowed visits, and all documentation about his continued segregation needs to be released to his family.
We already know that MDC has been accused of retaliating against women prisoners who speak out about their conditions. We are concerned that Mr. Clarke’s treatment may be a form of retaliation for his mother’s use of her constitutionally protected freedom of expression to discuss the injustices against her son and others. We hope this is not the case and demand to see this proven by Mr. Clarke’s immediate transfer and the end of all violent treatment against him.