Yesterday I spotted this rather disturbing article in the NYT.
But when Matthew Jones of Brooklyn lingered on the corner of 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue in the early morning of June 12, 2004, gabbing with friends as other pedestrians tried to get by, something unusual happened: He was arrested for it.
A police officer said Mr. Jones was impeding other pedestrians and charged him with disorderly conduct.
Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye seemed likewise nonplused. “This is at 2 a.m.?” she asked, wondering how many pedestrians it would have been possible to inconvenience at that hour. “I guess I’m not in Times Square at 2 a.m. very often.”
The story here is:
...the officer “observed defendant along with a number of other individuals standing around” on a public sidewalk in June 2004. Mr. Jones was “not moving, and that as a result of defendants’ behavior, numerous pedestrians in the area had to walk around defendants.”
Mr. Jones refused to move when asked, said the officer, Momen Attia, and then tried to run away. When Officer Attia tried to handcuff him, he “flailed his arms,” earning a second charge for resisting arrest.
After spending the night in jail, Mr. Jones contested the main charge and asked that it be dismissed. When the judge demurred, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation the next day and received no further sentence. But he soon filed an appeal, arguing that there had been no basis for the arrest in the first place.
Welcome to NYC Mr. Overseer. Times square is full of people standing around. Times square is full of people and things one has to walk around. It is a fact of life. Secondly standing on a street talking to other people is a completely legal act. Sorry to inform the almighty NY Overseers but we are not required to spend money at sidewalk cafe's to talk to other people in public.
Secondly, Mr Jones was well within' his rights as a citizen to resist an unlawful arrest. I have said it before and I'll say it again, when a police officer breaks the law in the line of duty, he or she is no different from any other common criminal and ought to expect to be treated as such, up to and including being shot at in self defense. It is clear that throughout the country police departments have apparently been given the green light to harass and otherwise engage in unlawful actions against citizens exercising their supposed "rights". I can only assume that since John Kerry, a supposed representative of "the people" gave his tacit approval of the tasering of a citizen by police by not even coming to the man's defense, it is clear that from the top down the police are out of control.
The other thing that is of great importance here, which I have commented on before is the mis-use of arrests to "punish" people who have done nothing illegal. In NYC this was on display at the Republican Convention, where thousands of people were arrested and confined overnight for the sole purpose of removing them from demonstrations. It is also known by anyone who has had a speeding or parking ticket that required a court appearance that pleading guilty is the fastest means to get out of "jail" or court. This abuse of "jail" is rampant during regular criminal proceedings and is now becoming more commonplace in the abuse of police authority.
What should have happened here is that the court should have thrown out all charges and held the prosecuting attorney in contempt of court. At the very least the officer ought to be named in a suit (the issue of liability while on duty is one for lawyers to figure out) and the City ought to be sued as well.
I want to pass on a story of what happened to my mother recently on the subway. She's 64 years old and has had knee surgery. She does not look her age except for the grey hair that she has and does not dye. She was seated on a subway by a two police officers. an elderly woman came on the train and the police officer ordered my mother to get up out of her seat for this person. My mother did not get up, but asked why she should. The officer said that the other woman should be allowed to sit because the seat she was in was "reserved" for elderly or infirm people. So my mother asked the officer how he knew she was neither elderly or infirm.
This is police state tactics. My mom isn't having it. I'm not having it and apparently Mr. Jones is not having it either. Are you?