Not even two months since the Sean Bell verdict, young New Yorkers, the Hip Hop Generation, and hell… anyone who has the good sense to look around, has another reason not to trust the notorious NYPD. According to Rosa Clemente, on Defuse News:

Bronx Hip Hop Heros Rodstarz & G1 were walking down the street and
observed a street vendor being assaulted and arrested by police
officers. They pulled out a cell phone to document the situation, and were attacked by the officers in question.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Rebel Diaz perform or heard their music knows that they have a reputation as advocates for social justice. Any abuse of power by police officers is heartbreaking, though at this point, not surprising, but it’s particularly disheartening to hear about an attack on two well known figures in broad daylight, with cameras rolling. It’s the same blatant disregard for justice that we saw in the Sean Bell acquittals. Davey D elaborated, on his “Davey D’s Daily Hip Hop News:”

Many feel that the assault by these cowardly Bronx police officers in
plain view of everyone was a way to send a strong message to folks in
the community that the police run things and they best stay in line. By
beating the Rebel Diaz members in front of everyone was a way to spark
fear and remind people that no one is safe from the police. They wanna
let folks know that they can brazenly beat up popular rappers in front
everyone even with cell phone cameras rolling and do so with impunity.
The whole ordeal is akin to the slave masters from way back sparking
fear in the hearts of other slaves by beating the strongest among them
in front of everyone for all to see.

I really can’t add much in the way of commentary to this sad, sad story. The fact is, in my experience, if you get why this is important, I don’t have to say anything, and if you don’t, there’s very little I can type in my little blog to get you to see what I’ve seen in 25 years of living in communities patrolled by instead of served by police officers. I can tell you about the officers on horses corralling high school students on to buses like cattle, and arresting them for stepping out of line. I could tell you about police officers in neighborhood integration programs intimidating their new neighbors with bugged phone lines and constant harassment. I could tell you about police officers at a moderated forum telling young people who had been prepped to treat them with the utmost respect that “if I wanted to, I could arrest you for spitting” and excusing their behavior because school dismissal looks “like a riot.” I could tell you about the ONE beat cop in my neighborhood that got out of his car, talked to neighbors, had lemonade at neighborhood watch meetings in plainclothes, and played basketball with my neighbors. One.

Last night, there was a rally in front of the 41st Precinct to free G1& Rodstarz. But the biggest takeaway from this is that it’s dangerous to do the right thing, and we can’t stop doing it. Keep witnessing. Keep your eyes on this story. Don’t let the cops intimidate justice. That’s when the system wins over the people.


This entry was posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 1:52 pm and is filed under Health, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
1 Comment so far

  1. Deb on June 19, 2008 7:21 pm

    I wanna tell you how I’m a hopeful person, yeah? I wanna say that there were a few more than that one cop in our neighborhood – but that’s the best I could do, is to say there are a -few- more when it should have been MOST of them. The only thing I can tell you – with 25 more years than you under my belt – is that you’re right. Wrong is wrong, and the only way that wrongs were ever righted is by shining a light on them and bringing them out of the dark corners. I can tell you that enough raised voices can force change.

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