Revolution #276, July 29, 2012
Stop the Prejudicial Prosecution of Noche Diaz!
It’s the NYPD That Puts People in Danger
“Noche” Diaz, a young revolutionary, is about to go on trial on unjust charges and faces years in jail if convicted. Noche has been arrested five times since October 2011 and has had 11 charges piled on him in four New York City boroughs, all for observing and protesting the illegitimate actions of the NYPD. Noche was one of the first members of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and helped organize protests that kicked off a citywide struggle against stop-and-frisk. He is well known to the people—and to the NYPD—for being a member of the People’s Neighborhood Patrol of Harlem.
On March 13, Noche was arrested in the Bronx. This is the same precinct—the 43rd—where NYPD officers killed Amadou Diallo in 1999, firing 41 shots, as he stood, unarmed, in front of his door, and where they killed Malcolm Ferguson, another unarmed Black man, in 2000. As Noche walked up to the intersection of Westchester & Boynton, officers from the 43rd were beating a Black motorist in the street. Bystanders were screaming at the police to stop, and pulling out their phones to document the brutality. But to the NYPD, the problem wasn’t the beat-down of an unarmed man, but people’s outrage at them for doing it. The police put a headlock on a woman taping the police, and threw her partner into a window for coming to her defense.
Noche and others were watching police conduct, as they have a legal right to do, but he and two others were arrested. Bronx prosecutors even admit Noche was within his rights to observe, as he told the police at the scene. He is charged with disorderly conduct and specifically with not obeying a cop’s order to move.
The NYPD had arrested Noche in Brooklyn and Queens last fall for participating in mass civil disobedience to “STOP Stop-and-Frisk,” and they arrested him twice in Manhattan, claiming he interfered with their attempts to arrest other unnamed persons who were not arrested. NYC prosecutors are now using this to argue that Noche shows a “pattern” of interfering with police. In Noche’s case the pattern is of unjustified arrest for doing lawful activity, and of the police lying and piling on charges to target this young revolutionary activist.
What about the PATTERN of police murder and brutality against millions? What about the PATTERN of getting stopped-and-frisked, getting put into the system with a record, and incarceration facing a big part of this generation of youth? It’s outrageous that police routinely beat people, way too often killing young men like Ramarley Graham, unarmed when he was shot in his own apartment earlier this year in the Bronx. But people who observe, document, and verbally expose the routine brutality of the police are themselves arrested and brutalized and called criminals?!
We can’t allow the authorities to target, convict, and jail Noche, who faces years in jail on Class A misdemeanor charges. By targeting Noche, they are trying to send a message that people who stand up to their brutality and expose the illegitimate use of authority by the police will be persecuted and treated as “criminals.”
No! The people must NOT allow the authorities to get away with railroading Noche and sending an intimidating message in an effort to stop the resistance. We can’t and won’t stand for this, coming from authorities who endanger hundreds of thousands in NYC alone with the racist, illegal and unconstitutional practice of stop-and-frisk, enforcing a system of mass incarceration of millions. Right is on the side of the protesters—and there is a real need and basis to mobilize support very broadly among the people and turn this reactionary attack into a political defeat for those in power.
Defending Noche by condemning these unjust charges, demanding the prosecutors drop them, and by hundreds of people showing up July 27 for his trial will strengthen and spread the movement against mass incarceration and stop-and-frisk, and the whole unjust system that they are part of.
What You Can Do
Sign and Spread the RESOLUTION calling for the DA to Drop Charges Against Noche and the “Stop-and-Frisk 19.” Call Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson (718-590-2001) and tell him to drop the charge against Noche Diaz.
Be there to support Noche at his trial on Friday, July 27, 9:00 am, at Bronx Criminal Court, 265 E. 161st St. Bronx.
Get with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network right away. 866-841-9139 x2670 firstname.lastname@example.org
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