Revolution #219, December 12, 2010

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Views of those who contribute to "Bear Witness" are their own and they are not responsible for views expressed elsewhere in this newspaper.

The following was submitted to Bear Witness...

I grew up in NYC and I remember my brothers getting beat by the police for just walking down the streets. They were horrible then I just don't know what to say for them now. That beautiful young man [Sean Bell] lost his life for what? Something must be done about the policemen around the states. They need to have real life training every day because we can't have anymore meaningless killings it has to stop....

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I am Cornelius Hall, father of Jerrold Hall who was also murdered by BART Police (storm troopers). My family was suppressed as the Grants are being now. The same system that has supported murdering cops continue to do so. I asked help from Ron Dellums [mayor of Oakland] and he refused although he will say he don't remember. He is now in a position to help his community but won't.

There are ministers, city officials and thousands of good citizens who do not and will not accept a second degree manslaughter verdict as justice. They have been to the Mountain Top and will fight with you no matter the cost, Keep the Course

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Things have changed. It is not just youth and minorities who face these attacks. The middle class, their kids and even pets are subject to elimination with prejudice. Just look at the news reports. Yet, the masses have not connected the dots. Two years ago, during the election season, a local man's home, Asheville, NC, was invaded, he was beaten by a city cop, for flying the US flag upside-down. Locally, this situation has been cleaned up, as a new sheriff has replaced the old, corrupt Fascist regime with more considerate, professional policies, as there is a Leftist tendency here. Nationwide, it is still business as usual.

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im from kinston n.c. i am a victim of police brutality i been tasered 3 times pepper spray punch kick they strike me with baton i need help.

Bear Witness: February 18, 2010

cops suck man one arrested me in nyc cuz i looked like an al quaeda member wen i was 14 i dont even wear a turban but still may be its cause of ma skin ma race aint arabian tho

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Hello. I so sorry about your loss. My kids father was gun down by police in front of them in April 12, 2008. Brent L., Mosley III. I hope you all keep pushing for justice. They justify his case but a gun was involve but it was all done very wrong. I need to try to find a attorney to represent me and my two boys. If you have any suggestions can you please email me back. This has to stop!

Excellent and accurate article. I live in NJ and am currently suing local police (Monmouth County) for 10 years of civil rights violations in Federal Court. I cannot afford an attorney so I am Pro Se. They have falsely arrested me 4 times once when I was trying to leave the state to get away from their constant stalking of me.

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The stalking is so bad they sit outside my house 3 cop cars and shine their police light in my bedroom. Once they illegally entered my house without a warrant climbed thru a window and assaulted me (I had called them and stated 4 drunk teenagers were harassing me at my house) and dragged me out of my house handcuffed in my underwear at noon and transported me in my underwear to a hospital.

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I am homeless because they wait for me to come home and follow me home. I have been stabbed in my home and raped and they will not do anything about it because they are involved.

The other day, I was on a train and the cop was waiting for me to exit; I saw him so I did not exit. He asked the train conductor where I was going.

When I run to a women's shelter because I am afraid of the cops the women's shelter refused to let me stay there because I say the cops are my abusers.

No one cares or helps when the cops brutalize someone and that to me is outrageous. I am watching this NYPD trial every day and I feel in my heart and pray they put that sick pig Kern away for the rest of his pig life for what he did to Mineo.

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account of 16 Oct US immigration

bear witness

On 16th October 2010, I planned a holiday to meet my partner and see some friends for 2-3 weeks in Los Angeles.

As I entered [the U.S.], I was sent to secondary questioning.

To my knowledge, everything was fine for travel, I was approved travel authorisation by ESTA [European Security Transportation Association], and I believed I had been told prior on 22nd February 2010, that I had been denied entry via ESTA, and to wait a couple of months and re-apply, if I was denied again, I would need to obtain a visa. I applied to ESTA approx. 1 month prior to travelling. I had been approved my authorisation, so I presumed I was fine to enter the united states, and did not believe I needed to obtain a visa from the consulate, to my understanding this was visa approval.

On 16th October, I was denied entry, I was told I needed to obtain a visa. I was very stressed and scared about this, especially because my last experience with immigration was traumatic in Los Angeles, and I was very scared. I was upset, and crying and feeling very ill due to the anxiety, as I was waiting for a return flight they had booked for around 9pm that evening, I felt more ill, my temperature was high and I could not stop shaking and vomiting, and my head was in agonising pain. I also had a very sore stomach, with severe cramping due to the stress. I was terrified and not understanding fully the whole situation. I felt like I was being treated like a criminal, when in fact I had not done any criminal activity.

I badly needed to see a doctor. I asked for medical attention, several men came to the room and checked my blood pressure. My blood pressure was OK in their eyes so they told me to stick it out and get on my flight. I was vomiting severely and was starting to feel very humiliated, there were around 6-10 officers standing around the room I was held in and they were expecting me to vomit in the rubbish bin in front of them and all other people who were awaiting interviews with immigration to see. This was very distressing, I ran out of the room to the bathroom next door on 2 or 3 occasions to be sick, all while someone chased after me as if I was a criminal to guard me.

I came back to the room and was told, OK, if you really want to see a doctor then you have to go to hospital, this means you may miss your flight and then we are going to put you in jail when you come out of the hospital. This was so terrifying to me. What had I done wrong? To be ill and be threatened with jail, just because I needed medical attention urgently. A supervisor came into the room and I told him what I had been told by another officer, he told me no he shouldn’t have said that you will just have to await another flight, but this was all so confusing, I was so ill and shaking and scared I needed a doctor.

During this time, a private detective had arrived. He wanted to find out things regarding my previous travel to the U.S. as then, in Los Angeles, I gave $1000 cash to the immigration officer. I thought this was a fee as I had been told at the time, after researching this when I got out of the question in LAX, I found there is no such fee. During my interview of my sworn statement in Newark, they asked about my previous travel, I told them what happened, I said then I paid a $1000 fee followed by a $65 fee. This raised a flag with them. They told me this shouldn’t have been done, they called in the supervisor, who then accused me of saying this just to try to get into the country, he thought I wanted sympathy or something, which was so distressing. All I was thinking at this point was oh no, I wish I didn’t say that because they are a team and they will just be more harsh on me. The last thing I ever thought this would do would be help me.

So, the private detective arrived, I wasn’t even told he would be coming. I believe they held me from going to get medical treatment instantly to wait his arrival. He arrived in dirty jeans and a dirty sweat jumper. He produced his id card, and started trying to get me to talk, I was in so much pain and just wanting a doctor, I told him there is no way I will talk without having a lawyer about anything because I already had been treated as a criminal and threatened with jail just for needing a doctor, so no way will I talk, he said oh but this is my day off and I drove all the way here, I didn’t ask for that. I wasn’t allowed to speak with a lawyer or contact my embassy or anything.

About 45 minutes after trying to get a doctor, they took me to hospital. The whole way there I threw up in the back of the ambulance and was shaking uncontrollably, all while the 2 people in the back with me, male and female talked about their personal lives ignoring me.

There at the hospital, it was called Trinitas hospital, I was treated for my sickness, I was put on an IV and given 3 injections for the pain and illness. I was given Zofran, Pepcid, and Toradol. This was all from anxiety and stress caused for the situation. I spent several hours in hospital, I did not know the times and when I asked the time to any officer escorting me I got no response. The female officer was very unhappy to be escorting me as it ran into overtime and she wanted to be home already.

Finally I asked what was going to happen, she assured me it would be OK, she told me I was going back to the airport, where there are showers and I would be taken care of by 2 females until my flight which was leaving in the morning of the 17th October. I felt better after the medication, and was told to take it easy.

I was escorted back to the airport, where I was taken to terminal C. There the officers said I was not meant to be there, feeling very weak and scared still, I was transported to another terminal, terminal B. There I asked the women who were meant to be taking care of me the time of my flight, begrudgingly, and unhappy to have to deal with me, she told me it was in the morning the next day, she said, oh we had a change of plan by the way, you are being picked up at 2am to go to jail. Why, I couldn’t understand, she said there was no room for me while they officers behind the counter laughed amongst each other. I begged to speak to my mum, they said no, I begged to speak to my embassy, they said no, I was terrified, no one knew where I was... Finally someone let me have a very quick call, I was not allowed to say anything but I was at the airport, I whispered on the phone to my mum for help to call the embassy. They grabbed the phone from me. All laughing like it was a game.

I was so scared and terrified, I wanted to call my embassy, my mum, anyone as no one knew where I was or what was happening and I wanted help. I was denied these rights. I could not understand, I was so ill. I went to the bathroom and vomited with this and felt myself panicking again. My mobile was taken from me, and there was a sign to indicate this, but there were 2 females awaiting something flirting and having fun with the male officers while texting friends, I could not understand this as the sign said no mobiles at all.

I begged and pleaded to please be allowed to speak to my embassy, something. I was not allowed.

The women and others working at the government enjoyed taunting me for crying for being scared also.

Feeling very drowsy and weak I was told to sit down and did, I fell asleep, I was awoke by 2 officers to escort me to jail. I was so scared.

I was put into a van and they would not tell me the name of the place I was going to. The van had no air, it was dark and behind bars, it was so terrifying. I thought, what was going to happen to me? They could do anything. I wondered, were they going to kill me or something, it was terrifying.

I arrived at the facility which was dirty and awful from the outset, I asked the female officer to call someone, anyone, I was not allowed, she said I should have been allowed to call my embassy at the airport.

After hours of paperwork, tears and feeling in pain again, I was checked into the facility. I was given jail clothing to wear. I had to get changed in a room, completely stripped, even to have to change my underwear to jail underwear, it was so humiliating, the room I had to change in was holding room 224, it was written on the door. The toilet was covered in urine and on the floor ants crawling around. It was covered in dust and hair and just disgusting. I was crying and feeling more and more scared. I was then taken to see the doctor, who told me I had to eat and try to relax, strangely no one had a record of my hospital visit for medical treatment and they seemed to find it hard to believe that this was the case.

I could not believe I was sent to jail just after medical treatment in a hospital. I was so confused.

It was around 4:45am when I was finally shown to my room. I was not allowed to take anything with me, I was luckily allowed a bottle of water. I told them I was just out of the hospital, they did not know this which I found strange as I thought it would be on my paperwork.

I had to make my own bed from a roll of sheets I was given, the sheets were stained and filthy. The toilet was open, with just a small wall between it and the dorm room beds, anyone could walk past the window and see you at the toilet, or in the shower which was also open. My room had 6 beds in it, I was the only person locked in this room. All the beds were filthy, they had not been used for a long time, covered in dirt and dust, the beds were single beds, with a very thick mattress, about 3 inches thick with thick plastic covering. The pillow was made of plastic or leather, and it was very dirty. It was freezing, but I could not have another blanket or anything. I fell asleep to be shaken to be awoken at around 5:00am due to a fire drill.

Here we had to stand outside the dorm rooms in a line, I saw other inmates at this point and I felt so bad for these other poor people, I knew none of their stories or how long they may have had to be there.

At around 5:55, we were put back in our rooms. I was told I would be awoken at 6:30 again for breakfast. I was. Breakfast was served in a dirty plastic tray. It consisted of very watery, what I think was porridge, a stale roll of bread, half a grapefruit, and 2 broken hard boiled eggs.

I ate the grapefruit, I had not eaten for a day and I was told I had to eat on the time schedules or I get nothing. The rest was inedible; it looked like it was picked out of a trash can and slopped onto this dirty brown plastic tray.

I proceeded to get back into bed, it was all I could do. An officer came in, I am unsure of the time, to shake me and wake me to make me get up, I told her I just got here at 4:45am, and said I needed to rest as I was meant to be travelling, I asked for a call, anything, I was denied these things. I was thankfully allowed to stay in bed. I tried to sleep more. The room was so cold with such an uncomfortable thing that they called a bed. I think I slept for a couple of hours more, I woke up and was just staring at the ceiling, wondering why on earth am I here and would I ever get out of here. I just lay there crying. I desperately needed to use the toilet, I was so humiliated to use it though as anyone could look through the windows. I just couldn’t stop crying.

I asked an officer who came in to check on me what time I was leaving, she said she would check when, she never came back. I started to read the posters on the wall, one stating, all detainees are entitled to one free 3 minute phone call, I was not allowed this, I could not understand.

Another big sign stated all detainees are entitled to speak to the embassy, a lawyer etc etc, again, I was not allowed this and asked many times. Why was this? I could not understand.

I looked around the floor which was so filthy, covered in dust, hair, general dirt, blood stains, the toilet had dried urine all over and around it, it was so dirty, this place was not for someone to stay, and certainly not someone who was not a criminal. The shower and toilet where completely public, it was just beyond humiliating to have to go to the toilet with anyone able to see you.

Lunch was at 12pm. I had told them I am a vegetarian when asked about food and told my eating times, I asked for some fruit if possible just. The food came, I was unsure of what it was to be honest, it smelled disgusting, some sort of brown watery sauce, with mushrooms and some other things I could not identify, again, served with a stale roll of bread and some sort of dark purple juice. I picked at the roll.

I went back into bed to try to sleep again until I could awake from this nightmare.

Dinner came around 5pm. Chicken this time, covered in a sauce that looked like the lunchtime sauce, with a dried piece of bread, some rice and green beans, again in a dirty brown tray. Again this was inedible to me. An officer came in and enquired why was I not eating, I said I was vegetarian. I asked could I please have a piece of fruit or something please, she kind of laughed and said I will see what I can get you. She returned with 2 very hard stale muffin like things. I attempted to eat one, I was so hungry.

I asked her when I would be leaving, someone please tell me, she finally told me you should be getting ready in the next hour to go. Thank God I thought.

I lay in the bed again staring at the ceiling, I brushed my teeth, and awaited someone to get me. Just waiting staring at the door. Someone finally came, rude, but at least the door was opened. I was taken to holding room 224 again, where I had to get changed back to my clothes and get my belongings.

I awaited transportation. There were 4 women in the office talking to each other, speaking about their sexual lives and all these things that I found disgusting and certainly did not think I should be listening to. I was desperate to get away. I humoured the conversation smiling while I waited to get out of there.

Two officers turned up to escort me back to get my flight. It was at 9:25pm. I was told I could get my phone at the airport on arrival to call my mum who I knew would be very worried about me, as well as my partner.

The officers took me in this van again, 2 females, 1 male. One female took coffee orders for starbucks while I was waiting in the office at the detention center. On the way to the airport, they stopped at a terminal, I think before mine, while she went in and got coffees and snacks in a starbucks bag. I waited there around 10-15 minutes, while the other female officer called in the miles on their van and said they were checking me in which was untrue.

We got to my terminal finally. I was checked in and waited in the van while this was done. They came back to get me after this. We proceeded through security, I was escorted by 1 male and 1 female. I was told I could not have my phone until on the flight. I was allowed to buy a drink, we sat and awaited my flight.

I was so happy to be onboard my flight and be able to finally call my mum and my partner who were so worried. My mum told me the British Embassy told her I was in the airport and was happy and well taken care of. Either the U.S. embassy did not tell the British Embassy I was taken to a jail, or the British Embassy lied to my mum. I am unsure of this. My mum could not believe what I had told her had happened. Shocking that no one was informed of my whereabouts.

I felt so humiliated, so scared, I was terrified for my life. I had no idea where I was, what was going to happen to me. This was a very troublesome experience, and all just to get a couple of weeks holiday to see some friends and my partner and his family in America.

I was denied all my basic human rights, to have a lawyer, to speak to my embassy, I could not have any of it. To be treated like a criminal was just a disgusting experience, and so distressing.

I feel completely violated and even more so after reading the reputation of the detention center I stayed at, with 5 deaths at it due to people being denied medical treatment when needed, never mind the other issues protesters have been dealing with, with this detention center.

It was called the Elizabeth detention center, New Jersey. By just googling it, there was case after case of mistreatment poor people have suffered there.

I understood what I was told with I just need to get a visa and come back in the beginning. What I cannot understand is why I was so badly mistreated, why I was taken to a detention center, and there was no one else in holding, with lots of rooms I could have waited in at the airport and why I was denied the rights to speak to a lawyer, or my embassy, and why was I denied the rights stated in my dorm in the detention center.

I wonder if it was because I have a Syrian background? Did they just have a bad day and take it out on me? What was it to go through this humiliation?

I have had nightmares every night I try to sleep, waking sweating thinking I was there, reliving the fear I felt in the van wondering what was going to happen to me. I am so scared of anyone I see in an outfit representing law, thinking I have done something wrong they will put me in jail, even though I have done nothing. I still haven’t eaten properly and have lost a lot of weight, I just feel on my nerves constantly.

There are more details no doubt of all that happened that I have left out, I just wanted to get the brief of what happened on paper to send this out to the right people who can help me get justice as I don’t think this was right to suffer this humiliation.

If the police have... sweated you at school, dogged you in the streets, hit on you or otherwise sexually harassed you, or ... if the police have racially profiled, "stopped and frisked," threatened, tasered or brutalized you or any member of your family, …if the police have killed friends or family.

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