NYPD Terrorizes Harlem Neighborhood—Seizes Dozens of Youth

June 9, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


"All the police and helicopters, radios popping... I thought there was a terrorist attack or something," a resident of one of the projects told Revolution that afternoon. "Then when I saw what was happening... I realized it was terrorism. The police was terrorizing the neighborhood!"

At 6 am on Wednesday, June 4, the New York Police Department launched a massive raid in West Harlem at two public housing projects that sit within a couple blocks of each other. Over 400 of this system's enforcers, the NYPD, in body armor, with military-style weapons, charged up stairwells and down hallways, breaking down doors with battering rams. As helicopters hovered overhead, women scrambled to shield their children, especially their teenage sons, from the havoc. Families were forced, face down, onto floors, apartments were ransacked, and 40 young people, ages 15 to 30, that the NYPD claims are gang members, were dragged out by cops in a scene reminiscent of slavery days, and of U.S. soldiers brutalizing villagers in present day Afghanistan. Dozens of young people were kidnapped by the NYPD in this raid.

Photo: Special to Revolution

The police say these youth are criminals, but there is no reason to believe ANYTHING these pigs say! Everything they say—and do—is in the service of keeping this monstrous system going, and they need to win as many people as they can to not only go along with this and accept it, but to assist them as well. Some people who are genuinely and deeply concerned about the very bad things some of the youth are into are torn, thinking that even though they don't trust the police, that maybe such raids and arrests will do some good. BULLSHIT! Come on people. We need to confront the reality of the situation we're in. Bob Avakian is telling the truth when he says:

The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness. (BAsics 1:24)

For the NYPD and police departments across the country, lying is as natural as breathing—from their "testifying" on the witness stand, to cooked-up evidence and coerced false confessions, to framing people on false charges. Lying is essential to carrying out their duties as protectors and defenders of this unjust, rotten system.

Photo: New York City Revolution Club

Look at what the NYPD did in the Central Park Jogger case. A white female jogger was viciously attacked, beaten, and raped in Central Park in 1989. Six Black and Latino youth between the ages of 13 and 16 were rounded up and each one was interrogated alone for many hours. The cops lied, telling each youth that the others had named them as culprits; they threatened them and also promised them they could go home if they'd only confess and implicate one or more of the other youth. The police, the politicians, the court system, and the media depicted these youth and all youth like them as vicious, as a heartless "wolf pack." A lynch mob atmosphere was whipped up with talk about how these "super predators" deserved the death penalty. Five of the six youth were convicted and given long prison terms—even though they were completely innocent! Twelve years after the convictions the actual person who attacked the jogger in Central Park, who had no connection to these youth, confessed to the assault. (See "Propaganda Instruments of the Ruling Class... And the Railroad of the Central Park 5," by Bob Avakian.)

Or what about the innocent people sent to prison for decades on murder convictions orchestrated by Brooklyn homicide detective Louis Scarcella and the workings of this system? Five people framed by Detective Scarcella were recently released as this scandal began to come to light. He told witnesses who to choose in police line-ups; he delivered confessions from suspects who never confessed; he used the same supposed eyewitness in six different murders on six different occasions. She was known to lawyers as "Louie's Go-to Witness." 57 convictions were based in part on testimony by this liar.

This June 4 raid comes only five months into the new administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the so-called "progressive" mayor who was elected spouting promises to reform stop-and-frisk—which had became broadly hated and exposed for racially profiling Blacks and Latinos, especially the youth, and subjecting them to repeated stops, searches, degradation, arrests, and worse. He named as police commissioner William Bratton, one of stop-and-frisk's chief architects, who pledged to devise a strategy to go after the "known criminal population" of the community.

The massive display of police force against the people on June 4 marked the coming-out party for the new strategy for controlling and terrorizing the same criminalized youth that stop-and-frisk had targeted. Now police assaults on whole neighborhoods will be justified and done in the name of "complex conspiracy cases," In this raid, people were rounded up for supposed "guilt by association" based on tens of thousands of tapped phone calls from jail, hundreds of hours of surveillance video, and police spying on over a million social media pages.

So they're taking the criminalization of the youth to new levels, using social media and technology to frame people. They're talking about charging people with "conspiracy" based on bogus connections, linking people together through everything from surveillance videos, to Facebook posts, telephone conversations, and texts. So that everyone who has crossed paths in any way with anyone the system claims is a criminal is criminalized themselves.

The REAL conspiracy being committed here is what this system is doing to whole generations of youth—for whom this system has no future.

Bratton outrageously said at a press conference after the raid: "If you choose this lifestyle, you will suffer the same fate as these individuals." CHOOSE THIS LIFESTYLE??!! What the hell is he talking about? What choices does this system offer the youth?

This system has no future for millions and millions of youth, no choices except jail, an early death in the streets, or maybe going into their army to kill and die around the world to defend this whole setup. No jobs, no respect, no decent education, no prospects of a life worthy of human beings. This system steals the lives and the futures from people and then turns around and stomps people down, destroys their lives and their families' lives by demonizing and terrorizing them and devising all kinds of strategies to lock them up for life. Statistics show that one in three Black male babies born in 2001 is destined to be locked up in prison. And more than 60 percent of those in U.S. prisons are Black and Latino.

This is a heartless, cold-blooded system carrying out premeditated slow genocide against Black and Latino people, and then blaming the youth. This alone would be enough reason to seize power from these oppressive monsters as soon as it's possible, but this is only one fraction of the suffering it brings down on humanity here and across the planet.

This system has no future for the youth, but the revolution does. As Carl Dix says in his statement on the Harlem raid:

I want to say something to the youth. We know that it's the capitalist system that has put us in the situation we're in. We know that the system wants us fighting against each other because it makes it easier for them to keep us all down. But we can't go out like they want us to. Like BA says in his New Year's message: "Why should we do what they want us to do—killing and crippling each other, trying to beat down or beat out each other, ending up in jail, or paralyzed, or dead at an early age—instead of joining together to go up against the system that has got us in this mess in the first place?" Again to the youth—you gotta get out of the bad shit that too many of you are caught up in and get with the movement for revolution that we in the RCP are building.

We are determined to make revolution, to seize power from these bloodsucking capitalist rulers and build a whole new society. We have the leadership needed for this revolution in BA, the leader of our Party. We have a strategy for revolution, and we are politically preparing for the time when we could lead millions in seizing power and sweeping this blood-soaked system off the face of the earth. Learn more about this revolution. Get into BA's writings, and get with the movement for revolution. Join with the Revolution Club, these young sisters and brothers, as they fight the power and transform the people for revolution.

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