Raising the Roof to Support the New Freedom Fighters in the Battle to STOP “Stop & Frisk”

December 16, 2012 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The following article was submitted by one of the Freedom Fighters in the battle to STOP “Stop & Frisk”:

On December 6, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network hosted a benefit to “Raise the Roof on the Legal Defense Fund” for the STOP “Stop & Frisk” protesters.

Last October many Freedom Fighters from a broad cross section of society answered the call put out by Carl Dix and Cornel West to take a stand against the racist and illegitimate NYPD policy of stop-and-frisk. The campaign organized non-violent civil disobedience in front of NYPD precincts notorious for their high volume of 250-U forms, which are issued during a stop-and-frisk. Beginning in Harlem’s 28th precinct the campaign then targeted the 73rd in Brooklyn, and later the 103rd precinct, whose jurisdiction included the police murder of Sean Bell in 2006.

Members of St. Augustine’s Church, who provided space for the event, filled two tables and for many of them it was their first Stop Mass Incarceration Network event. There were also more seasoned veterans of the cause, including many defendants and their friends and family. Speakers included Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Nathanael Saint-Pierre (the minister of St. Augustine’s Church), Father Luis Barrios, and Debra Sweet. Nicole Paultre Bell, the fiancée of Sean Bell who was killed by the NYPD in 2006, and Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham who was killed by the NYPD in February 2012, gave impassioned, inspiring speeches after they were presented with awards as Freedom Fighters in the people’s struggle against police brutality.

About 100 people of all ages, ethnicities, and cultures joined together for a truly diverse gathering of Freedom Fighters. The atmosphere was jubilant as party-goers flowed in to DJ Magnificent’s well-developed turntable sequence. Randy Crédico, STOP “Stop & Frisk” defendant and comedian, executed a standup routine. Later in the evening was the Big Apple Playback Theater performance consisting of prepared music and a series of short improvised skits inspired by participants in the audience.

Supporters, protesters, attorneys, organizers, and newcomers all mingled over delicious food, a large portion of which was donated by an enthusiastic branch of Occupy activists. Seating arrangements consisted of almost a dozen round tables, which consequently fostered many inclusive discussions. Though the context of what brought us together is certainly a very serious one, the mood was predominantly one of spirited energy. People exchanged stories, spoke about current events, and after the series of speakers ended, danced with joy. A good time was had by all and $1,600 was raised for the legal defense of the Freedom Fighters!

There were those who had such a good time they simply couldn’t leave, staying well past the hour of closing, clinging on to friends, old and new alike.

I support this movement because “Stop and Frisk” [and] racial profiling is part of why my son is dead. They did a racial profile of my son, saying that they saw a gun, which he never had. And you know, they claim that they chased my son when they didn’t. So I am here because of it’s a lot of injustice being done to people, black and brown and latino people, and we really have to put a stop to it. Because if we don’t it’s going to continue. As you see the cops [are] escalating and it’s because of this “stop and frisk” profile that they’re doing, and it’s out of control. Innocent people [are] getting killed because of “stop and frisk,” because [the police] say they saw “this” and they saw “that” and at the end of the day, they don’t have anything. And then they always shoot first and ask questions later. That’s not how it’s supposed to be, and I have a real problem with that, and that’s why I’m here.

Constance Malcolm, speaking to Revolution


It’s so important to support this movement because my family is the living proof of “stop-and-frisk” gone wrong. The night Sean was killed, he was actually stopped twice. Before he got to the party, as he was parking, he was approached by a marked car. A uniformed officer asked him for his license and I.D. He was given it back and he went on, everyone went on their merry way. But then, at the end of the night, he got approached by another police officer, and he was killed. So, we are here today to support the “stop & frisk,” the end “stop & frisk” movement, because we can save so many lives. So many lives and so many families we can prevent from having to mourn and go through the holiday season and go through the rest of their lives without [seeing] their loved ones again. You know we thank everyone who put this organization [Stop Mass Incarceration Network] together.

Nicole Paultre Bell, speaking to Revolution

Nicole Paultre Bell (left), fiancé of Sean Bell killed by the NYPD in 2006, and Constance Malcolm, whose son Ramarley was killed earlier this year, receiving their Freedom Fighters awards.

Nicole Paultre Bell (left), fiancée of Sean Bell killed by the NYPD in 2006, and Constance Malcolm, whose son Ramarley was killed earlier this year, receiving their Freedom Fighters awards.
Photo: Li Onesto/Revolution



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