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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

The Mayor Called Them Outside Agitators. Many of Them Beg to Differ. - The New York Times

The Mayor Called Them Outside Agitators. Many of Them Beg to Differ.

(Eric L. Adams is an embarrassment as New York's Mayor)

The city's rationale for the long-standing practice is that candidates who score too high could get bored with police work and quit after undergoing costly academy training.

Recently U.S. District Judge Peter C. Dorsey ruled the New London Police Department's rejection of Jordan, because of his high IQ test score, was not in violation of his rights...)

The court dismissed his lawsuit Aug. 31 and his attorney informed him on Wednesday.

"City officials have blamed “external actors” for escalating demonstrations at Columbia University and elsewhere, but student protesters reject the claim.

A man in a gray sweatshirt and long gray beard sits among flowers.
“They struck me as members of the community, folks from the city, folks from our neighborhood,” said Matthew Cavalletto, who was among those arrested during protests at Columbia University this week. “And not some kind of foreign element that had snuck in to sap our city’s vitality.”Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

One of the people arrested at Columbia University this week was a middle-aged saxophonist who headed up to the campus from his Hell’s Kitchen apartment after learning about the protests on social media.

Another was tending his sidewalk pepper patch a few blocks from the student demonstrations when he learned the police were moving in and, grabbing a metal dog bowl and a spoon to bang against it, rushed to the students’ aid.

A third had been active in other left-leaning protests across the city but also happened to work as a nanny nearby. She went to the university gates on Tuesday and linked arms with other protesters in an unsuccessful attempt to thwart the advancing officers, she said.

After pro-Palestinian demonstrators occupied a building on Columbia’s campus this week, demanding that the university end all financial ties with Israel, the New York Police Department moved in and arrested more than 100 people there. Mayor Eric Adams and other city leaders have accused so-called outside agitators — professional organizers with no ties to the university — of hijacking a peaceful student protest and spurring its participants to adopt ever more aggressive tactics.

“Professional, external actors are involved in these protests,” said Edward A. Caban, the New York City Police Commissioner. “They are not affiliated with either the institutions or campuses in question, and they are working to escalate the situation.”

A New York Times review of police records and interviews with dozens of people involved in the protest at Columbia found that a small handful of the nearly three dozen arrestees who lacked ties to the university had also participated in other protests around the country. One man who was taken into custody inside Hamilton Hall, the occupied campus building, had been charged with rioting and wearing a disguise to evade the police during a demonstration in California nearly a decade earlier.

But the examination also revealed that far more of the unaffiliated protesters had no such histories. Rather, they said, they arrived at Columbia in response to word of mouth or social media posts to join the demonstration out of some combination of solidarity and curiosity.

Protesters carry flags near Columbia’s campus.
Columbia University has become a national focal point in one of the largest student protest movements in decades.Amir Hamja/The New York Times

There was little evidence to suggest they had helped organize or escalate the protests, and many were arrested without having ever set foot on campus. Typical among them was Matthew Cavalletto, a 52-year-old computer programmer who has lived within a half-mile of Columbia for most of his life. Mr. Cavalletto, the gardener with the dog bowl, was arrested on the street outside Columbia after he stood in the middle of the intersection and refused to budge. He dismissed the notion that any outsiders were pulling the strings.

“I sort of had to laugh because I guess you could think of me as an outside agitator,” Mr. Cavalletto said. “Not that far outside, like six blocks away, but, you know, almost outside.”

City officials have said that 29 percent of those arrested at Columbia this week had no connection with the university. In a statement, a spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Adams said that the arrest numbers “speak for themselves.”

“To ignore these facts and solely blame college students for the escalation of violence and hateful rhetoric would be both reckless and misleading, and unfair to students who did want to protest peacefully,” said Kayla Mamelak, the spokeswoman.

Mr. Adams has said that even a small number of outsiders can inflame tensions and cause protests to veer into violence. And as evidence that the campus has been infiltrated, he has pointed to the presence there at various times of a 63-year-old career activist, Lisa Fithian, and Nahla Al-Arian, the wife of a man who faced terrorism charges in Florida nearly 20 years ago, and whose daughter was a graduate of Columbia’s journalism school.

Ms. Fithian, who has written a book on protest tactics and charged money to run demonstrations and teach techniques for taking over the streets, was captured on video Tuesday apparently urging counterprotesters to step aside so that Hamilton Hall could be barricaded. She has denied playing any larger role in organizing the Columbia protests.

Neither woman was present during the police sweeps on Tuesday.

Also present on Tuesday — and arrested inside Hamilton Hall — was James Carlson, 40, the protester previously arrested in California. A lawyer, he was also accused of setting an Israeli flag on fire with a lighter at another protest outside Columbia’s campus last month, court records show. Mr. Carlson, an advocate for animal rights, appeared to have participated in a wide variety of protests over the years, including demonstrations related to Black Lives Matter, immigration policy and environmental causes, according to posts on social media.

His lawyer declined to comment. There was no indication Mr. Carlson was involved in organizing or leading the protests at Columbia.

For their part, the student organizers of the protests and student participants who were arrested disputed the idea that they had been manipulated by outside actors.

“I think that these schools are quite scared in a way — and I think they’ve escalated to a degree that shows that they don’t have so many resources available other than, you know, kind of militarized action,” said Val Ly, a 30-year-old graduate student in Columbia’s architecture program who was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge. “I want to make sure it’s very clear there were not ‘external agitators,’ as far as I can tell, who were inside the building.”

Protesters calling for Columbia to end financial ties with Israel took over a building on campus, Hamilton Hall.Bing Guan for The New York Times

Columbia has been a national focal point in one of the largest student protest movements in decades. Tensions over the war in Gaza have prompted a wave of student activism, resulting in the arrests or detaining of more than 2,300 people on campuses across the country.

The protests over Israel’s offensive in Gaza had been brewing at Columbia for months. But the situation escalated on April 18, when the university’s president, Nemat Shafik, called on the police to enter the private campus and clear out a pro-Palestinian encampment. More than 100 students were arrested.

Dr. Shafik’s decision led to more protests, both at Columbia and at campuses around the country. A new, larger encampment was established at Columbia. Less than two weeks after the Police Department initially cleared the encampment, a group of protesters, shortly after midnight, took over Hamilton Hall and barricaded themselves inside.

Later that day, police officers stormed the building through a second-floor window and rooted out the protesters, making more than 100 arrests.

One of them was Rose Ceretto, a 27-year-old nanny who has lived in New York for a decade and asked to be identified by her middle name. She said that she had no ties to Columbia but worked nearby and had a long history of activism in New York. She said she had been arrested five times at other protests in recent years.

Ms. Ceretto said that she cared deeply about the mounting death toll in Gaza and had made her way onto the campus to provide students with supplies when the first tent encampments were constructed on Columbia’s lawn. She scoffed at the idea that she or others like her would share aggressive protest tactics with students.

During a news briefing on Thursday, Columbia’s vice president for communications, Ben Chang, said figures supplied by the New York Police Department about those accused of occupying Hamilton Hall had confirmed the expectations of university leaders that many of the participants were not connected with Columbia.

“A significant portion of those who broke the law and occupied Hamilton Hall were outsiders,” said Mr. Chang, who said the figures showed that 13 of the nearly four dozen people arrested in the takeover were not affiliated with Columbia.

But the Times review of police records revealed a slightly different picture, showing that just nine of those people had no apparent ties to the university. The rest were current or former undergraduate or graduate students or university employees, The Times found. It was not clear why the university’s numbers differed.

More than 100 people were arrested on or around Columbia’s campus when the police moved in.Bing Guan for The New York Times

Overall, the records show, more than two-thirds of the demonstrators arrested on or near Columbia’s campus this week had some connection to the university.

Some, like Gregory Pflugfelder, a 64-year-old professor of Japanese history and gender studies in Columbia’s department of East Asian languages and cultures, said they had not been participating in the protests at all.

Mr. Pflugfelder was taking photos of police officers assembling before the raid and did not go back inside his building when one of them told him to do so, he said.

“I’m an historian of visual culture, and the recording of historic events is very important to me,” he said, adding that he felt it was important for teachers to protect their students’ rights. “It was later reported to me that at least one of my students had seen me being walked in handcuffs down the street. I stood straight and walked tall.”

As of Thursday evening, 46 people arrested inside Hamilton Hall had been arraigned in court. They each faced one misdemeanor charge of trespassing, a spokesman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said. At their arraignments, prosecutors said they might pursue additional charges. They agreed that all of the arrestees should be released without bail.

The university has said that students who occupied the building will face expulsion, and in a news briefing earlier this week, Mr. Chang said the university had begun suspending students who had not complied with an order to leave the encampment.

The claim that outsiders were whipping locals into organizing protests has been a common refrain in past social movements and was leveled at protesters during the civil rights movement, according to Aldon Morris, an emeritus professor of sociology and Black studies at Northwestern University.

“The outside agitator charge is in many ways a measure to delegitimize the protests and protesters,” Mr. Morris said. “It is a weapon that exists for the police in terms of dealing with protests to stop protests, to stifle protests.”

Daniel Pearson, the saxophonist from Hell’s Kitchen, said he had showed up at Columbia this week after heeding a call from pro-Palestinian groups on social media.

When police officers arrived and told the protesters to disperse or be arrested, he locked arms with other protesters and stayed put.

He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct — his first arrest at a demonstration, he said.

He called it outrageous for officials to use the “outside agitator” label for “fellow New Yorkers standing in solidarity with students.”

“This outside agitator,” he said, “is a third-generation New Yorker.”

Andrew Keh, Dana Rubinstein, Ginia Bellafante and Sharon Otterman contributed reporting. Kirsten Noyes and Susan C. Beachy contributed research."

The Mayor Called Them Outside Agitators. Many of Them Beg to Differ. - The New York Times

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