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Friday, December 03, 2004

NYPD crowd and liberties abuse forecloses NYC2012 Olympics Bid

NYC residents should oppose the Olympics in 2012 because our police department's handling of crowds and civil liberties has become unacceptable.

New York City's Police, by and large, used to be respectful of crowds and were renowned for their professionalism, crowd control, tolerance, and respect of civil liberties, certainly since Stonewall in the late 1960s and through the Koch administration. This era saw the huge No Nukes rally of the early 1980s, the enormous Paul Simon Concerts in the Park and many, many protests with hundreds of thousands of protesters, even millions, on the streets and in the parks.However, during the Bloomberg Administration the NYPD has been provocative and abusive in dealing with crowds, contemptuous of civil liberties.

I lived in fear in Manhattan during the Republican National Convention. This fear was justified as flexible plastic nets were used to randomly sweep up peaceful and sometimes non-protesting law-abiding crowds into mass arrests.

Then thousands folks were placed in detention for over two days in a former industrial space with asbestos and fuel contamination without fire exits or food. The city's own rules state that arrestees have to be arraigned within twenty four hours of arrest. The police admitted at a recent City Council hearing that the average arraignment time was over 24 hours!

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, “The District Attorney’s office already has dismissed over two hundred cases of protesters, bystanders, and observers illegally arrested during the Convention."Manhattan was not safe with the threatening and foreboding presence of the NYPD during the RNC at Madison Square Garden. " In addition, with trumped up terrorism threats, peaceful protesters were 'outed' on the news as lawbreakers even before the protests began.

This was with the RNC localized in one midtown building! Imagine events in venues across the city with the threat of terrorists, real or imagined, at each site. New Yorkers risk being thrown in jail for looking funny at or to a cop, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a street sweep. The NYPD as presently managed forecloses NYC's bid for the Olympics.

The 2012 Olympics will be in venues all over the city! The Olympics have an unfortunate heritage of terrorism or use for political purposes as seen in the 1936 and the 1972 Olympics. The citizens of NYC cannot afford to be locked down for weeks in all the boroughs, subject to sudden arrest for no reason, put in detainment for days without food or lawyers or safe conditions so that foreigners can compete here in some sort of show at our expense. The NYPD's terroristic anti-terror tactics should be sinking our bid.

Real New Yorkers who remember the real NYPD realize that this city can no longer handle hosting the Olympics because the NYPD no longer can handle crowds or threats while respecting our civil liberties.

We don't need be victimized by the Olympics to be considered a world class city. Fugeddabout the Olympics!

A Concerned Manhattanite who was shocked by the NYPD at the RNC 2004


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