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Mar 2, 21

Brooklyn, NY: Police ‘Strategic Response Group’ Continues to Violently Repress Demonstrations

A report on ongoing violent repression of demonstrations by police and the Strategic Response Group (SRG) in so-called Brooklyn.

On February 24th, there was a call for a direct response to the lack of indictments of the officers who murdered Daniel Prude, an unarmed Black man in Rochester, NY, who was murdered and treated as sub-human for the crime of having a mental health crisis by police. This is against the backdrop of daily murders of BIPOC by the State, looming fear of mass evictions, the continued denial of justice for Breonna Taylor and the COVID-19 pandemic across the “United States.”

Groups took part in a march to express their contempt with a system which values property over life. A system designed to treat anyone who isn’t able to produce sufficient capital for the bourgeoisie as lesser. A system where an attorney general can hide in her office and ignore their constituents when they demand her audience. A system which represses any call for change and the will of the proletariat masses, regardless of how outnumbered they may be. And, most importantly, a system that will excuse the murder of an unarmed Black man in the midst of a mental health crisis as “just something that happens.”

NYPD sent over 300 units to respond and quash the demonstration. With an average salary of $27 an hour, NYPD spent no fewer than $81,000 to intimidate 30-50 abolitionists – this does not include the helicopter, the cost of operating the vehicles, and the multi-hour grid search following the detainment seeking property damage that did not exist. Additionally, it was reported on NYC’s RUST channel that the NYPD deployed a tactic called “Disorder Control Formation 3.” DCF 3 is a full kettle, an illegal tactic where the police box in a demonstration and proceed to arrest those contained within. One needs only to look at the FTP 4 arrests in the early days of the Uprising to understand why Human Rights Watch called such a tactic by the NYPD a massive violation of basic civil liberties.

One of the officers in charge of this suppression was Captain Julio Delgado of NYPD’s Strategic Response Group. SRG was originally designed for counter-terrorism activities across so-called NYC, however in recent times, SRG has been used to violently shut down various demonstrations and carry out mass arrests  – no matter the legality. On February 24th, arrests occurred while demonstrators were seeking to disperse, after they had already complied with LRAD’s unjustified demand that they move to the sidewalk.

Eight comrades were arrested that night. One was an independent photographer who was on the sidewalk capturing footage of the arrests. Two weren’t charged with anything, while those who were charged received charges ranging from “littering” to “walking in the roadway” despite all arrests occurring on the sidewalk. Additionally, one of those illegal arrests received a positive COVID-19 test result in the following days.

While we can not and do not want to speak for all groups of people who participated in the march on February 24th, we feel confident in saying that actions like these will not stop until we have the immediate following changes:

  • Defunding of the police
  • Stop all murders of BIPOC and all people at the hands of the state
  • Reparations to Black and Indigenous communities
  • Ending the practice of Qualified Immunity and holding police accountable for their racist, sexist, gendered, bigoted, and violent actions
  • Amnesty for all political prisoners and activists since the Uprising began
  • The immediate stop to eviction proceedings and full canceling of rent and mortgages of working and poor people
  • The immediate disbandment of SRG and all divisions within the NYPD whose purpose is to monitor, intimidate, and suppress those exercising their First Amendment rights
  • The immediate revocation of the NYPD as the authority on the issuance of press credentials, alongside establishment of rules where anyone who self-identifies as press is respected as such
  • Dermot Shea’s immediate resignation from the NYPD
  • The immediate termination from the NYPD without pension of Julio Delgado, Artem Prusayev, and Elias Nikas

No matter what police do, we will never be silenced. These arrests do nothing to deter us. They only signal that the State fears us. They are afraid because the people united will never be defeated.

We are ungovernable.

– A group of abolitionists, anti-capitalists, anti-colonialists, and anti-statists in unceded Lenapehoking

photo: Matteo Modica via Unsplash

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