Send a message of “NOT Guilty” to Judge Larry Stephen
Your message will also go to the media so that they cannot ignore continued police violence in NYC.
Click the link below to send a message directly to presiding Judge Larry Stephen, Mayor Bloomberg, Gov Paterson, Senators Clinton and Schumer, the New York State Legislature, and members of the media!
Sentencing is 2:15pm – Wed, Oct 8, 2008
100 Center Street, 4th Floor, Jury 2 & C,
If you are in NYC make every effort to attend the sentencing.
Call for a “Not Guilty” verdict
It is outrageous that the police who killed Sean Bell with 50 bullets on Nov 25, 2006 – the morning of his wedding and wounded Trent Benafield and Joseph Guzman can be found “Not Guilty” of any charge in NYC Criminal Courts. Yet those who responded to the verdict in wholly justified protests may be found “Guilty”.
It is a crime that the NYC District Attorney’s office has continued with this outrageous prosecution.
The arrestees do not deny that they took part in the May 7 well organized, orderly and cohesive civil disobedience protests to raise an urgent life and death issue. This is an issue of deep concern to millions of people nationally who are outraged at unrestrained, unpunished, continuing police violence.
A “Not Guilty” verdict is the only acceptable ending to these charges on civil rights activists.
Many hundreds of people blocked evening rush hour traffic at bridges and tunnels including the Triboro, Brooklyn, Queensboro and Manhattan Bridges and the Holland and Midtown Tunnels. Many Thousands of others surrounded them, supporting their justified action
The organized protest followed the outrageous “Not Guilty” verdict for the police who killed Sean Bell. Anger was enormous at the unchecked racist police violence in Black and Latino communities of NYC.
More than 250 people were arrested at the May 7 protest. Charges were quickly dropped on the overwhelming majority of arrestees.
However for 7 participants facing sentencing on Wednesday, October 8th , charges were not dropped. Those facing sentencing include Rev Al Sharpton – a key organizer of the May 7th civil disobedience action – and a handful of others who have participated in civil disobedience actions in the past. Once charged, these defendants refused to plead ‘guilty’ to any charges stemming from their justified protests while police who commit murder with 50 bullets are found ‘not guilty’.
International Action Center activists took part in the Civil Disobedience mass actions at several locations in Manhattan and Sara Flounders, Co-Director of the International Action Center is also one of the defendants due to be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon.
The other defendants are: Anthony Estes, formerly a victim of a brutal police attack, James Patnaude, Donna Gould, Manijeh Saba and Felton Davis.
At their trial of October 6th Attorneys Michael Hardy and Wylie Stecklow attempted to raise an important political defense of “justified necessity”. The actions against continuing police killings were justified and necessary. In summary: the participants acted because there were no adequate legal means to avoid this harm, and they acted to avoid grave harm not of their own making and to avert an impending danger of more police killings.
Judge Larry Stephen, formerly of the NYC District Attorney office, refused to allow this defense of “justified necessity” to be introduced. He limited the testimony to police descriptions of the street arrests.
Support these justified actions to protest a racist, violent police and court system. Fill the NY Criminal Court 100 Center Street, Jury 2 & C
Wednesday at 2:15pm.
Sign the message to Judge Larry Stephen.
The text of the online petition message follows:
PETITION TO JUDGE LARRY STEPHEN, with copies to Governor Paterson, Senators Clinton and Schumer, Mayor Bloomberg, the New York Legislature and members of the media:
Dear Judge Larry Stephen,
I am deeply concerned with the continuing police violence against unarmed and defenseless people in NYC, especially in communities of color.
I am even more concerned that this uncontrolled police violence has no form of redress. Every parent worries for the safety of their children. The danger is imminent and all pervasive, yet it is systematically ignored.
The police must be held accountable to the community for their conduct.
Again and again in mass demonstrations, protests and gatherings concerned people in New York City and nationally have voiced their protests.
The well organized civil disobedience actions held on May 7, 2008 spoke to the concerns of millions of people all across the U.S.
There seems to be no other forum left to address these justified grievances.
I urge you to find the defendants before your court today ‘Not Guilty” of the frivolous charges against them. They acted, with great seriousness and commitment, to bring this emergency to national attention.
They have the support of many tens of thousands of other concerned and determined people.
It would be a grievous miscarriage of justice and a serious misuse of the courts for these defendants to be found guilty of ANY charge while NYC police are found “Not Guilty” of all charges.
We urge you to act in a way that sends a message to NYC that this serious problem must be addressed