Filed under: Action, Northeast, Police, Repression
Submitted to It’s Going Down
Yesterday, families, friends and supporters of the Bronx 120 traveled to 500 Pearl Street to be present at the initial court date since their arraignment on April 27th for many of the young men indicted on the “Parrish indictment.” After the press conference, families and supporters went into the court building. Upon arrival, however, many family members and members of the press were directed to an “overflow” room. This happened despite the fact that there are larger courtrooms in the building than the one being used. Furthermore, according to reports from people who were able to get in, the courtroom was not full and no one was occupying standing room (standing room is often allowed in big cases and at the discretion of the judge).
In the overflow room, only one of the two TV monitors was on and it was inaudible due to static. A family member left the “overflow” room to try to get into the courtroom and was rudely ushered out by many court officer seven though it was clear the room was not filled. Only after multiple requests was the family member permitted entry into the courtroom. During court recess, other family members in the “overflow” room noticed that there was additional seating available and proceeded to make their way to the courtroom. Soon, nearly every family member present arrived collectively at the courtroom demanding access to the hearing. The court officers, including undercover N.Y.P.D. detectives, told them to leave under threat of arrest.
These threats quickly became more forceful as the officers demanded that they all exit the building. Ultimately, because of the utter disregard for families’ access to the hearing through purposeful neglect of A/V equipment in the “overflow” room and denial of families to enter the courtroom, despite seats being available, almost no family members were able to witness it.Families report that they and their children are being pushed into taking plea deals with long sentences attached by the prosecutor as well as their attorneys.
Families desperately needed to hear the proceedings in order to find out in real time about possible pleas. In addition, some defendants have been held in solitary with no access to communication and no visits, in what family members believe to be a form of retaliation for speaking out. This hearing was one of the only chances to show their family members that they are not alone. Several mothers who had been planning on attending this court date for months were notified when they arrived that their child would in fact not be appearing today.
In sum, family members of the largest and most important court case in recent NYC history were denied the ability to witness court proceedings at this critical moment. It must not be overlooked that this outrage is just the most recent of many violations with regard to the rights of the Bronx 120, their families and their community. The garish,shock & awe-style tactics of the raids on Williamsbridge back in April, coupled with the state’s attempts to squelch voices of dissent against this obvious injustice at every turn, represent a fasistic pattern that will not let up unless we challenge it now and in no uncertain terms.
Join us this morning for the next BX 120 hearing, where many of our brothers being held at MCC are scheduled to appear before the court. Help us to ensure that these targets of state sanctioned,radicalized terror are not unceremoniously swept off into prison slavery despite plans clearly in place to do just that.