Jessica Hoffmann

Police Brutality at SRLP Anniversary Party: Hold the Cops Accountable

Filed By Jessica Hoffmann | September 28, 2007 2:46 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: police brutality, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, transgender, UBUNTU

On Wednesday night, NYPD officers attacked without provocation members of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization that works on behalf of low-income people of color who are transgender, gender non-conforming, or intersex. The SRLP's press release reported, "two of our community members were violently arrested, and others were pepper sprayed in the face without warning or cause." This happened on an East Village sidewalk, outside a bar where SRLP members and supporters had gathered to celebrate the organization's fifth anniversary, when some of them questioned the NYPD's use of force in arresting a young black man.

On the UBUNTU blog, Lex posted an urgent and moving response (do go read the whole thing)

...After gathering queer and trans people of color and allies from all over the tri-state area my people, these two, deserved the peace of bass and the release of rhythm. Late Wednesday night, like every night, my people were dancing. But late Wednesday night, like every night, the state was on the prowl. And right in front of the bright loud colors, right in front of the opening sounds ... the NYPD was doing the state, forcing the power of one black man into a space to small for dignity. And my people, though practicing the celebration, though air traffic hailing the future, this night, my people do not forget the moment. This is why my people wear sneakers and flat shoes. They remember what we agreed. So early Thursday morning they stopped the dancing to witness this arrest, one of millions of arrests, (these too my people). And they said with their eyes what we promised we would say. They said. We see you. We remember what you deserve. And when the lie come out that you are not human, that who you are does not matter, we will stand up that moment with the truth. We see you.

And, for seeing, for responding to what they saw, they were met with violence and arrest. Thursday night, the SRLP reported that the two folks who had been arrested were released without charges. "Our work around this incident is not finished," the organization insists. "Now it is time to hold the police accountable for the unnecessary force and community targeting that occurred last night, and work so that no more incidents like this happen again." Find out what you can do at

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There are a lot of people videotaping events that potentially can be considered volatile.

There is an epidemic of police brutality nation wide. One has to wonder if we are living in The United States of America or Brazil.

New York police are famous for their brutality and they have been caught on videotape many times now.
Those videotapes have been important evidance in law suites against the city.

If you do a search on YouTube with the search terms police brutality you will come up with pages of incidents of police brutality from all over the country. A typical tactic police use if they are caught on tape is to charge the person making the tape with some phony charge which if the person taping the event can get out of easily enough. without having to cop to any charge or sign anything. just remember IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO TAPE ANYTHING IN A PUBLIC SETTING. The Police have no Expectation of Privacy.

The city of New York recently tried passing a law which would prohibit the videotaping in public by a private person without a permit. The law is unconstitutional and was modified to cover film production companies and exclude individuals.

Video cameras are cheap these days and cell phones that record reasonably good video are readably available. This could mean the difference between someone being beaten and saddled for life with medical bills and those bills being paid and the person being fairly compensated and the cop getting fired or going to jail for stepping over the line.

only a relative few cops are bad but they are giving the good ones a bad name.

Take care