Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NYPD Parade Rules: Meeting Tomorrow at St. Mark's Church

Tomorrow, August 17th, is the 7pm meeting at St. Mark's Church to address the NYPD's new definition of a "parade" that threatens to severely curtail free speech and greatly expand the NYPD's ability to detain people.

Excellent commentary from Ezekiel Edwards at the Drum Major Institute:
"[O]ne of the more laughable (yet not very funny) expansions of the meaning of a "parade" includes at least two pedestrians or bicyclists traveling together on a public street who violate any traffic law, rule or regulation. Failure to obtain a permit before engaging in this activity --- literally speaking, whether two old folks jaywalking (particularly if wearing anti-Bush pins) or a couple of friends biking on the wrong side of the street (particularly if sporting t-shirts saying "Abolish Prisons") --- gives the police grounds to arrest."

"Just as the police have used trespass laws as an easy way to stop, detain, question, search, and arrest thousands and thousands of innocent Bronx residents (in their own buildings, those of family members, while trying to visit friends, or merely standing outside), under the preposterous "parade" parameters they could stop every group of two or more people (most likely African-American and Latino men between 17 and 35) crossing the street against the light (or not) and, if the subsequent illegal search yields no contraband, arrest them nonetheless for parading without a permit."
Chris Dunn, Associate Legal Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, adds that "Requiring groups that are doing nothing more than walking on public sidewalks to obtain police permits will suppress protest activity and lead to wholly unnecessary conflict between police and protesters."

What you can do:
  • I strongly encourage everyone to come to the public meeting tomorrow at St. Mark's Church, 7pm. (10th St/2nd Ave)
  • If you can, go to the hearing at 1 Police Plaza on Wednesday, August 23 at 6pm where this rule will be considered. If you'd like to speak at the hearing, you have to sign up beforehand, which you can do easily here.
  • There will be a simultaneous rally outside the hearing.
  • You can also send e-letters to Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to tell them you oppose the NYPD's change to the parade permit rules.
  • Contact your Councilmember to tell them you oppose the NYPD's proposed rule change.
NYCLU Challenges Proposal To Expand NYPD Control Over Protest Activity [New York Civil Liberties Union]
Paranoid Policing of Political Protests [Drum Major Institute]
Police Seek New Controls on Protesters and Bicyclists [New York Times]
Read the NYPD Proposed Rule [via TransAlt]
What you can do [TransAlt]

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