D.A. Vance Dropped Charges Against Accused Rapist Strauss-Kahn; What About Joseph "Jazz" Hayden?

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Hayden, who video documents stop-and-frisk, could be shipped away for seven years in prison.

[Black Star News Editorial]

Hayden, Harlem Foe of Stop-and-Frisk Needs Your Help
 
Joseph "Jazz" Hayden a Harlem activist who has been campaigning against stop-and-frisk policing has a court date on July 31, at 100 Centre Street in Manhattan in connection to charges that could send him away for as many as seven years.  Readers should show up in numbers to support this Harlem resident who has turned his life around and who now documents police brutality and the NYPD's unconstitutional stop-and-frisk campaign sanctioned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Hayden has been videotaping stop-and-frisk instances through his "Cop Watch"  campaign and posting the clips on AllThingsHarlem.com.  His efforts, in addition to creating a video library of violations of the constitutional rights of New York's Black citizens, has also sparked the wrath of the Police, Hayden contends. More than four million New Yorkers have been violated since the stop-and-frisk  campaign was initiated in this City. Last year alone, 685,724 New Yorkers were unconstitutionally stopped. Nearly 90% of those stopped were Black and Latino males. Guns were found in only 1.9% of the cases; on the other hand, guns were found in 3.8% of the cases involving Whites, who accounted for only about the 10% of people stopped, according to a study by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). A study of 2006 figures showed that Whites stopped were more three times more likely than Blacks to have in their possession guns, drugs and stolen property.
 
Even when faced with the evidence that stop-and-frisk does not work in terms of meeting its goals of getting guns off the streets, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly charge on with this discredited and unconstitutional policy. The strategy is akin to the what the police employed in the bad old days of apartheid South Africa, where officers were charged with stopping any Black male, without probable cause --except for the fact that they were Black-- and demanding that they produce the "pass book."
 
While apartheid policing disappeared with the collapse of the racist regime, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly are trying to justify it here in New York City in the 21st Century.
 
Many activists and elected officials have battled against stop-and-frisk. The Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network and the NAACP and various other groups and major unions were involved in organizing the June silent march against stop-and-frisk. Elected officials like Council members Charles Barron and Jumaane Williams have been at the forefront to help stop this biased policing strategy.
 
Several newspapers have published editorials denouncing the approach and calling for more community-based policing and efforts that would allow the police to work together with grassroots organizations, activists and Black and Latino elected officials. Then there are people like Joseph "Jazz" Hayden and his "Cop Watch"  campaign.
Village Voice
 
reported that last year after Hayden filmed two undercover cops who had stopped two motorists, he was arrested by the same officers months later. His crime? A small pen knife was found in the trunk of his car.  In a videotaped recording, a police officer can be heard saying "you done selling drugs yet or what? I know your rap sheet." Later, the same officer can be heard saying: "Go sell some more drugs, sir. We know your background. I know who you are." 
As a result of the arrest, Hayden faces felony charges and if convicted could be shipped Upstate for two to seven years in prison. Hayden believes his arrest was payback  for his campaign to document and expose the stop-and-frisk campaign.
 
Supporters of Hayden and opponents of stop-and-frisk have launched an online  petition   and letter  writing campaign demanding that the District Attorney in New York County Cyrus Vance Jr. drop the charges against the activist. Some recall that Vance dropped charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn who had been accused by an African immigrant of rape. Strauss-Kahn has since been charged with involvement in a prostitution ring in his native France, after leaving New York.

Hayden's supporters will assemble Tuesday, July 31, at the Court House at 100 Centre street for his hearing: they plan to meet at 8: 30AM.
 
All those who support people who resist Mayor Bloomberg's and Commissioner Kelly's apartheid-like stop-and-frisk policing should be there.


"Speaking Truth To Empower."




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