Green Party Candidate Detained for Protesting Controversial Housing Redevelopment Plan

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City Council candidate Jabari Brisport, who was detained by the NYPD on Monday, for protesting the controversial Bedford Union Armory redevelopment meeting, said he would have preferred to be arrested if that resulted in stopping the vote.

“I’m really pissed. I’m really annoyed at the vote. Its making the problem of the highest eviction rates in the city even worse. I would have gladly been locked up, if that meant the vote wouldn’t go through,” Brisport said during a phone interview.

If it [redevelopment plan] does go through [after the City Council vote], what’s gonna happen to the residents in Crown Heights is way worse than me being detained,” he continued.

Brisport is a Green Party candidate for Brooklyn's 35th Council District which encompasses Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Bed-Stuy, and Crown Heights. The current Councilmember is Democrat Laurie Cumbo.

On Monday, the City Planning Commission held a meeting on whether to approve the land use application for the proposed Bedford Union Armory. The Commission unanimously voted 11-1 meaning City Council will vote on the proposal within 60 days to either approve, modify or disapprove the application. If they approve the application, the redevelopment of the Bedford-Union Armory will begin.

BFC Partners is the real estate developer that wants to turn the Bedford-Union Armory into private townhomes and affordable housing. Other plans for the building which sits on an entire city block on Bedford Avenue and Union Street includes a sports facility.

Brisport said he is against the deal because it’s a “ticking time bomb of gentrification for the District” that does not include enough affordable housing. He also blames Cumbo’s cozy relationship with Mayor Bill De Blasio for not doing enough to “kill the deal.”

“I think the Mayor is involved. I know he wants to see … it go through. He kinds of sees the Armory as a referendum on his housing policy and even New York City at large. There was also that little expose released right before the primaries about the incumbent’s chief of staff basically saying that what DeBlasio wants, De Blasio gets.

And if you want to make sure your pot holes are filled, you better listen up… We have an incumbent that’s trying to pass the buck along to someone else and pretend that she doesn’t have that much power to kill the deal when she does. And it’s gonna be terrible for Crown Heights,” said Brisport. reached out to Councilmember Cumbo’s office for their response and her Communication Director said the following: “Her position has not changed. She has voiced her opposition to the current proposal and her intention to vote no.”

However, city officials familiar with the process for the Bedford-Union Armory say that the project would have not even gone before the Commission for a vote, if Cumbo truly did not want the redevelopment to happen.

Brisport said he attended Monday’s meeting along with 30 other activists to delay the vote. He said the group began shouting chants like “Kill the Deal” and “Save Crown Heights” when the meeting began at 1 p.m.

According to Brisport, police officers then asked the group to leave. Half of the group left and the remaining protestors including him returned. Then, Brisport and another activist were handcuffed and detained in a room of the building at 22 Reade Street where the meeting was taking place.

With less than a week before the Council City race take places, Brisport was asked why should the residents of Crown Heights, who traditionally vote Democrat, take a chance on a third-party candidate?

“We have a real shot to fight for housing that actually works for all us. I’m a third-party candidate, an open socialist and I believe that we need to take the profit motive out of housing. And right now, the power is going to people with money that can afford to extort their influence on City Council. We need a candidate that’s openly against capitalism and who actually wants to have a community that serves all of us,” Brisport said.

Brisport said he received a civil summons after being detained and has to return to court in January.


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