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NYPD Attacks Anarchist People Of Color Fundraiser

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Critical Resistance Northeast Office, 718.398.2825, crnyc@criticalresistance.org

November 16, 2003

NYPD ATTACKS PEACEFUL GATHERING AT BROOKLYN COMMUNITY SPACE
8 People Arrested at Benefit for Anarchist People of Color

Brooklyn, NY - People attending a private fundraising event in Brooklyn were shocked early this morning by an unprovoked and violent assault at the hands of the NYPD. Up to 100 people attending a fundraiser for activists of color were indiscriminately sprayed with chemical agents, beaten with nightsticks, and harassed by a throng of police officers. Witnesses say there was no cause for the assaults and the subsequent arrests following the melee.

Over 25 police vehicles arrived at 968 Atlantic Avenue, the location of the fundraising event, at around 2 AM, to investigate an officer's report of someone standing outside the party allegedly holding an "open container". Within minutes, the police unleashed their wave of violence onto the crowd, provoking onlookers and beating down attendees who were not resisting their orders. Over 20 people were experiencing effects of the pepper spray that was erratically sprayed into the air by the officers.

All tenants of the private, residential building were present at the event, did not request police assistance, and no one in the building placed a complaint with the precinct or the emergency response system. Witnesses report that no warrant was presented upon police entrance. Organizers responded peacefully to police threats and physical provocation, yielding to their disrespectful demands.

"I was stunned at the severity of the attack, and I am genuinely concerned for the safety and well-being of those who were unfairly detained and arrested", said a witness at the scene of the incident.

Legal council at the scene confirmed that at least 8 arrests were made. Preliminary allegations include violation of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and inciting a riot, all of which are classified as misdemeanors. The 77th Precinct, which is where the arrestees were initially held, has been unwilling to provide even the smallest information about the status of those arrested. EMS visited the precinct to attend to those who sustained serious injuries, which include bruised ribs, a spinal injury, and severe blows to the head.

Critical Resistance is a national grassroots group that focuses on prisons and police brutality, and challenges the belief that policing, surveillance, imprisonment, and similar forms of control make our communities safer.

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