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Stop & Frisk protesters face 2 years in prison for non-violent civil disobedience
WHAT: Rally, Photo-op, Trial
WHEN: Tuesday October 23 8:45 am Rally; 9:30 am Trial
WHERE: Room K11 Queens Criminal Court 125-01 Queens Blvd Kew Gardens NY
Queens, NY – On October 23, four of thirteen protesters who were arrested last year while conducting non-violent protest against stop-and-frisk will begin trial. They face two years in prison. The protests they were part of were initiated by Carl Dix, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and Dr. Cornel West.
The controversial NYPD policy of stop-and-frisk is being hotly debated throughout the city. The Bronx DA has recently ceased prosecuting many trespass charges associated with the policy; hearings are being conducted throughout the city; and protests against it have escalated over the last year. But Richard Brown, the Queens District Attorney has intensified efforts to convict and punish these protesters.
Last month, prosecutors added a second charge against the protesters without offering any additional evidence more than nine months after their arrest. This second charge of Obstruction of Governmental Administration, is a Class “A” misdemeanor which carries a possible 12 months in jail. Carl Dix, who initiated the campaign with Cornel West, and Jamel Mims, Morgan Rhodewalt and Robert Parsons will be tried Tuesday on two counts of OGA, and one count of Disorderly Conduct for failure to disperse.
“The same District Attorney who failed to convict the NYPD officers who fired the 50 shots which killed Sean Bell in 2006 has been relentless is prosecuting us for standing up against police terror and violence. If we are convicted, this can intimidate others who might dare to speak out. By fighting and defeating these charges, we aim for the opposite: to inspire and unleash many more to stand up to end this racist policy,” said Carl Dix.
On November 19, 2011 a community rally and march through Jamaica ended at the 103rd Precinct which had been completely barricaded on NYPD lock-down in anticipation of the protest. 20 people were arrested in less than 10 minutes, after being led into the barricaded area by NYPD.
Dix and West were convicted of disorderly conduct last May with 18 others in a trial arising from a protest at the 28th Precinct in Harlem, which kicked off a campaign of mass a civil disobedience aimed at stopping NYPD’s stop-and-frisk. The NYPD stopped and searched 685,000 people in 2011. Jamel Mims, a defendant in the case who has been stopped and frisked, and an educator in NYC public schools, said stop-and-frisk is a pipline into “a system of mass incarceration that has 2.4 million mostly blacks and Latinos warehoused in prisons across the nation.”