Filed under: Incarceration
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Call for support from the Elm City chapter of the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) for two young people who have been held by the State for 13 months after the murder of their friend at the hands of the police.
Two young people, who experienced the murder of their friend at the hands of police, are in of need legal funds. They have been held by the state for 13 months, and are being silenced to protect the state-sanctioned violence that took their friend’s life.
On December 14th 2017, three teenagers were terrorized by police in New Britain, Connecticut. The New Britain Police Department placed four additional unmarked patrol cars out that night, specifically to find a vehicle with a description similar to the car the young people were driving. Video footage has been released of the premeditated attack on the young people. Links provided at bottom of this page (CW: vehicular violence, gunshot death; third link includes sound). Below is a detailed description of the event, constructed from both the young people’s account of the night and the dash cam footage.
As the youths turned onto a side street, they were immediately surrounded by police vehicles. Both marked and unmarked cop cars raced down the street without sirens or lights, meeting the victims’ car simultaneously from both directions of the side street. The young people’s car was rammed by the undercover car that had stalked them onto this secluded street, causing the victims’ car to shift 90 degrees. Fearing for their lives, the three young people tried to drive away from the swarm of police vehicles. At this time, five officers, including two detectives, shot into the car and at the victims. The driver of the vehicle, Zoe Dowdell, was killed. When the car stopped, the front seat passenger, 15-year-old Caleb Tisdol, raised his hands in surrender and yelled out the window “You can stop shooting now. He’s dead.” According to Caleb’s account, the officers then opened fire again, hitting him two times, once in the leg and once in the hip. The backseat passenger, Noah Young, was grazed by several bullets which left burn scars on his body.
The police initially reported the event as a “car chase” and said they feared for their lives when they opened fire. Both the accounts of the two surviving victims and the dash cam footage are in direct conflict with the police narrative. As the CT State Attorney Smirga says in his report, “There is no indication from the footage that there was gunfire from inside the vehicle. Front seat passenger Tisdol appears to have his hands up as the driver of the vehicle heads towards officers and attempts to escape. Also, no police officers were struck by the subject vehicle.” The investigation clearly concludes that the young people were not a danger to the officers, and yet Zoe Dowdell was murdered and both Caleb Tisdol and Noah Young were shot and injured. In addition, the five officers responsible for the murder and injury of these young people have been cleared, their violent actions “justified”.
Both Caleb and Noah are currently incarcerated for related and unrelated charges, with exorbitantly high bails set far above what the alleged crimes merit. The high bail has precluded them both from being bonded out for the last 13 months. Caleb turned 16 in prison and Noah, 19. Noah is in solitary confinement for 23 hours of each day and both young people have reported mistreatment. Over the last year, the state has continued to file new charges against both of them.
We believe the unprecedentedly high bail, the treatment both young people have been subjected to in prison, and the continued accumulation of charges, are all indicative of the state’s effort to silence, demoralize, and invalidate two witnesses to police murder. We believe the state is seeking first, to suppress both eye witness accounts of the night in question by continuing to hold the witnesses in prison, and second, to invalidate their account of the night by criminalizing them.
In order to fight this state-sanctioned violence and continued oppression, the victims are in need of strong legal representation. We are raising money to help their families secure and maintain sufficient legal counsel. We are also hoping to raise enough money to support the families in bonding their sons out. They need to be out of the state’s grasp, safely home where they can begin to heal from the trauma that has so irrevocably altered their lives. Please join us in supporting the families of these young people in their pursuit of justice.
If we are able to raise the full amount required for both victims’ bail through this crowdfunding effort and others, the money raised will go back into a liberation fund to support other victims of state oppression who do not have financial resources and whom other bail funds are unable to help.
Support the fund here: firefund.net/elmcityram