If we can credit the men in blue and the white shirts that are their masters with anything it is the consistency in which they arrest law abiding citizens.
Last night at approximately 10pm, I was arrested for “blocking pedestrian traffic”. While I was documenting an incident that occurred on my block I had taken a few pictures and then proceeded to speak with my neighbors to understand why there were at least 20 cops at 153rd and Melrose. Apparently, a man was running in the street naked yelling for the cops to arrest him. I was told that when the police arrived, the suspect had thrown himself onto the police car.
It was at this point that 4 police officers approached us saying we had to move. I asked why and they said because they said so. I then asked which law am i breaking and the response was blocking pedestrian traffic. I explained that I’m a resident of the community and that I was exercising my constitutional rights.
I started to take badge numbers by photographing the badge of the first cop and that is when the captain to take me in. That’s when six police officers descended upon me and began to cuff me. Since there where six officers fumbling over me, it was difficult to get the handcuffs on me so they began to get rough with me yelling at me to stop resisting arrest. I had gone peacefully and told them that I was not resisting. I just stood there, not moving my arms,relaxed and calm and letting them do “their job”.
All of this had transpired within 3-4 minutes of when I arrived.
My friend who was with me could only look at me in horror and disbelief. I shouted out to her to please run back to the Bronx Documentary Center where we had just come back from, and to get anyone who could help me.
I was paraded to the van in front of my fellow neighbors and dozens of people, most who know who I am. They were all in disbelief that I was being arrested.
Although I was walking peacefully, I was shoved into the van by the officer who kept telling me if I acted up they would take me to central booking.
I was taken to Police Service Area 7 on Melrose Avenue between 155th and 156th Streets and shoved into a cell with a neighbor who had also been arrested for not moving quick enough when the cops said to move.
Sitting in the cell for about 5 minutes, with my wrists hurting, Captain Hernandez shows up and said that I was being charged with disorderly conduct. He asked if I knew what that meant and I said yes. He then said good, “…because if you make any noise or speak about this I don’t wanna hear it and will send you down to central booking.”
“DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” he yelled at me and I simply nodded.
I continued to wait patiently without a peep from my lips. The holding cell was filthy, covered with dried blood on the walls and what looked like “FUCK YOU” finger painted on the wall – with feces.
It was during this lovely, moment as I was trying to keep myself calm that I thought I overheard Officer Cruz say, “…little faggot”. I immediately dismissed it and said that I must have misheard what he said. It was only after I was released that I was told by my friends who were waiting in the lobby of the precinct that they heard Officer Cruz refer to me as “the little faggot.” This was confirmed by two of my friends.
Right before I was released, I was escorted to the desk where my ID and summonses were given to me. While I was waiting for them to finish, I kindly asked the officer if he could loosen his grip just a little bit because he was hurting me. Immediately 3 officers told me to keep quiet and threatened me yet again with sending me to central booking.
After I was released my friends immediately came to me, exchanged comforting hugs and we spoke. I was told by my friends that Captain Hernandez lied to my friends and neighbors why I was arrested. If it wasn’t for my friend Danisha who was there from the beginning, I wouldn’t have had anyone to vouch for me. I was walked home by my neighbor and long time family friend, Marty Rogers where my neighbors were still on the block in disbelief that the cops arrested me.
You would think it would end there however, around 12:45am I left to walk my dog with my friend and when we reached the deli on the next block, there were local residents speaking about what happened when they saw me they asked what happened. As we are standing there chatting, a police van slows to a stop and all the officers, about four or five, just stared at us trying to intimidate us. I told the guys to go home and continued on my way.
This is not my first time having trouble with aggressive behavior by the NYPD and the boys from the 40th precinct. Back on October 18th, 2009, I was a witness to an awful case of police brutality when a suspect was arrested and then beaten by the cops. Then there was that time a few months later in February that the boys from the 40th precinct shot and killed a man who was mentally disturbed.
It is now 9:11am as I wrap this up and have yet to sleep. I cannot sleep with the unsettling events of the day. I have since suffered 2 severe panic attacks. My wrists are aching as is my left shoulder. I am a very strong individual yet tears of frustration and feelings of violation of my person and being called a little faggot by an officer
Will they continue to harass me for defending my constitutional rights? They are supposed to be the guardians and keepers of quality of life but what about my quality of life?