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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Roosevelt Island Protest Demonstration Against RIOC Public Safety Department Brutality

As previously reported:

Following brutality allegations brought against the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) unanimously voted to support  a community demonstration to "address Public Safety Concerns".
The RIRA sponsored Public Safety Demonstration took place noontime today at Good Shepherd Plaza with a brief rally

Image Of Roosevelt Island Public Safety Rally Today

 which was soon moved inside to the Good Shepherd Community Center


where a full house crowd heard testimony about instances of Public Safety abusive behavior.


ABC Channel 7 news reported on the protest.



The demonstration began with this outdoor rally



and went inside Good Shepherd. RIRA Public Safety Committee Chair Erin Feeley - Nahem was the first speaker.



Ms. Feeley-Nahme's prepared text is below:
Good Afternoon. I'd like to thank you for coming out in support of this event. My name is Erin Feely-Nahem and as the elected chair of the Roosevelt Island Resident Association 's Public Safety Committee I will be Chairing today's rally.

As the Chair of the RIRA Public Safety Committee it is my responsibility to document and research reports or patterns of Public Safety Officer misconduct, when brought to the committee members' attention by residents of our community. We consider this the most important aspect of the Committee's mission.

Anyone who has lived on this Island for a couple of years is aware of the variety of resident accounts alleging arrogant and unacceptable behavior on the part of various officers under the command of the Director of the Public Safety Department, Keith Guerra. The stories we have brought to the attention of Director Guerra over the years are diversified: blatant rude disrespect and arrogance, profiling and on-going harassment, aggressive and brutal handling of residents during questioning or arrest, along with the more common place violation on a daily basis of our Constitutional Rights. These repeated occurrences, in their various forms, represent a pattern, a culture of abuse and an incompetence that has worsened over time, despite a supposedly open dialogue with Director Guerra.

Director Guerra's arrogant mentality does not allow him to be open to our feedback. He cannot hear our concerns. His leadership and policing strategy continue to be focused on the reinforcement of his "zero tolerance" "maximum enforcement" approach, which our community does not feel is warranted. By exaggerating in conversations, and in meetings, the presence of gang related activity, poorly documented with Face book photos of "posing" individuals, for us, his argument falls short on proof when our community's crime statistics are reviewed.

Yesterday an anonymous counter-campaign of character assassination was launched against Anthony Jones. A primitive flyer, similar to information disseminated by Director Guerra in the past, which encourages fear within the community under the illusion of "gang" activity and danger, was utilized to discredit Anthony Jones. This technique of blaming the victim is common place for Director Guerra; seen in his manipulation of facts in Neal Stueber's case and in many others. The flyer was an obvious attempt to divert our attention away from the brutality of Anthony's encounter with the PSO; the fact that he was beaten within inches of his life, and that his constitutional rights were violated. These are the facts clear and simple. These are the issues that we are protesting today. The "gang" smoke screen isnt going to work this time. We cannot lose sight of our demands. After all, This is Roosevelt Island, not South Central LA, or Tony Sopranoland, in NJ.

We are here today because our patience has worn thin and we are now ready to demand change. Our meetings with Director Guerra and our letters to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) requesting investigations have been in vain, failing to result in change. This lack of change confirms and perpetuates our committee's belief that resident concerns are not falling on deaf ears but instead on ears that support unconditionally the brutality of the PSD and the violation of our rights. The fact that the Director of Public Safety is fully aware of these events, and does nothing to change the pattern, supports our belief that in fact he maliciously encourages these abusive behaviors. The brutality and excessive force, documented by many residents over the years, continues, despite our protests .

We believe that only a public airing of grievances and increased community control can overcome the isolation and intimidation individuals can and do feel in pursuing accountability and a change in law officer's behavior. We believe that Assembly Member Micah Kellner's Bill A00956 is the first step in institutionalizing the type of oversight required toward this end.

For this community Anthony Jones's story has been the catalyst for change. For too long many of us have been intimidated and remained silent, fearful of retaliation or slander. Monica Vega, Anthony's mothers has given us all courage. We are no longer isolated; rather we are building a movement, across race, gender, age, and social class lines. We are no longer in supplicant or pleading mode. WE ARE IN A FIGHTING MODE! We are not pleading or requesting; We are Demanding:
Today and for our future WE DEMAND A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO the VIOLATION OF OUR CONSTTITUTIONAL RIGHTS by the PSD

WE DEMAND OVERSIGHT OF THE PSD, through the passing of the Assembly Bill A00956.

WE DEMAND the removal of the PSD Leadership, Guerra, Bryan and Yee, as well as the REMOVAL of Officer Ralph Torrens, the Officer who brutalized Mr. Jones and who still patrols our children today.
We have put together a powerful and inspiring program. You will hear firsthand accounts, from our friends and neighbors, of the injustices done to them, and you will feel their courage, which has inspired us to bring this action in protest, today.

Let me say at the outset this is a peaceful and legal protest. We have organized our own security made up of community volunteers. We want everyone here to freely express your determination, your love for our youth, our sisters and brothers who have come forward to testify, and, yes, even your ANGER at the longstanding pattern of abuse and injustice we are going to expose and highlight today.... but keep it peaceful. Keep it respectful and dignified in the spirit of our witnesses. Our security -- which is wearing name tags -- will tolerate no illegalities and no disruption. If that is your purpose or intention, then please leave our gathering now.

Thank you so much for coming.
Ms Nahem was followed by Roosevelt Island teenagers and young adults who allege they were victims of Public Safety Department brutality.



Michael Lamanosoff, the attorney for Anthony Jones and his mother Monica Vega, spoke next. Mr. Lamonsoff reported that as of yesterday, the Anthony Jones incident is being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's office and also called for a federal investigation by the US Attorneys office.



Ms Vega then spoke about the incident involving her son Anthony



followed by Adib Mansour and Ike Nahem with their testimony of abusive behavior by Public Safety Officers.



Will have more video from the demonstration soon.

44 comments :

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Westviewer said...

Bur, Hutch, police are not supposed to be the judge, the jury and the adminstrator of punishment for a perceived (or even real) violation. PSD has been out of control and over-reactive for a number of years and that is what the demonstration and program were about.

Hutch said...

I totally agree with the cause but I can't justify being part of the rally. It was more reinforcement to me that I did not attend the rally when the girl who was speaking for the youth is the same girl that stole my wallet and many other people I knew at the age of 12! We actually had to put a warning out to people with young children at the park to watch out for her. Maybe she has changed but the facts still remain that she was doing wrong and her arrests at a young age were justified. I can't speak for all the youth up there but I have had incidents with others standing in the line. Change certainly needs to happen. I will fully support those efforts.

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Frank Farance said...

Hutch, you're RIOC/PSD right? Didn't Rick complain about you before on your posts? You have faulty thinking like others: (incorrectly) we mark people as Good Person or Bad Person, and you've marked some of the people as Bad Persons. But that's not the way it works in this country: it's actions (e.g., Bad Actions) that we mark, not people or their ideas. These people reported Bad Actions of Public Safety, and they want that fixed. And if a person had Bad Actions in the past, that doesn't rationalize bad treatment by Public Safety.

However, something doesn't sound right in your comment: you were 12 years old when a girl that was speaking stole your wallet, and (according to you) she was arrested, but you say "We actually had to put a warning out to people with young children at the park to watch out for her", but that doesn't sound like the statement of a 12 year old: you, as a 12 year old were putting out a statement, and as a 12 year old had the mind to think that young children were at risk? I don't recall seeing any warnings. When/where did this occur?


To me, you sound like the other fakers/posers, because your language is inauthentic.

Hutch said...

No Frank. I am not PSD/RIOC. Please reread the post. I said she was 12 at the time not me. I was an adult at the park with my young child. The toddler park to be exact. I am not labeling bad and good people. I am talking about real actions that were bad. She was infamous on the island as a wallet stealer (I was unaware of this at the time). I also say she may very well have changed her ways. I do believe in forgiveness and that people change. I also do say that I support the cause. I just have a hard time taking stories of harassment from people that I know from personal experience were doing wrong in the first place.
I am someone you know frank and will take the time to pull you aside and explain my point further.

Hutch said...

Just realized my wording does sound like I was saying I was 12. I intended to point out she was 12 at the time. My mistake.

Hutch said...

I do agree with that point and fully support reform and change.

Frank Farance said...

OK, thanks for the clarification.

Frannie Fran said...

She was 12 at the time? Do you realize that your talking about 11 years ago? I know that young lady and she had a rough childhood and she paid her debt to society. Why are you still pointing your finger at mistakes she made as a child?

We want PSD to do their jobs without harassing, jailing or beating any persons on this Island. Please stay focus on the message....

GeorgeProzakis said...

So if you don't want the officers to arrest anyone do you condone criminal acts?. Just asking as your requests sound insane to not arrest residents. Residents commit crimes also and it doesn't matter where you live or work. Crime happens everywhere and can happen at any time. All other opinions is your opinion and I have no comment and I don't know the particulars, only inquiring on your not arresting anyone.

It's not always easy to arrest someone. Not everyone willingly goes to jail.

Just for the record.

Roosevelt Island said...

What they need to do is get rid of the majority of officers prior to Chief Guerra's arrival. Not only are those officers the reason why public safety is a bunch of nonsense, but it also sets the bar for what the public sees. How about you spend the money on giving psychological tests to the officers instead of pissing it away on some new park benches or a lamppost.

Roosevelt Island said...

residents are always quick to call for assistance but then are also quick to blame the department. it is a double edge sword. officers can't win.

bakgwailo said...

I had no trouble understanding...

Frank Farance said...

Officer Prozakis: For Mr. Jones, he was arrested and their were no charges. In the video in the merchant, the one person was arrested (but no charges), and the merchant workers (one who was protecting Public Safety) were gratuitously arrested.

You continue to nebulize comments: of course we want law enforcement, and of course we want criminals apprehended (but apprehended in an appropriate way), and we don't want others harassed.


Sounds like you don't understand much about law enforcement if you don't know how to moderate your own behavior.

Westviewer said...

There is a difference between making an arrest for a suspected crime and harassing and beating people for next to no reason. A trained police officer will often just needs to speak sharply to someone to stop doing...whatever. PSD, instead, arrests and punishes.

Anonymous said...

He was charged. Being denied prosecution is something different.

CheshireKitty said...

PSD intimidation - trying to suppress the truth. Disgusting that Guerra resorts to this time and again.

CheshireKitty said...

But PSD is way out of line in many instances. The other day, at the demonstration, we heard a story about a mom with kids in her car who was ticketed for a U-turn on Main St. Don't ask me how that routine ticket got escalated into an arrest but it did. Even if the driver "questioned" the ticket, that's no excuse to whip out a pair of handcuffs and haul the driver off to jail. Questioning a moving violation ticket isn't putting on "fighting gloves". And it is *way* out of line to do that to a mom with a couple of kids in the car. There is a matter of common sense and discretion, and the PSD blows common interactions way out of proportion, traumatizing ordinary citizens. Was it necessary for PSD to arrest onlookers - the store employees - in the deli. For that matter, the kid that was arrested - what the heck did he do to deserve getting arrested, thrown to the ground, beaten and so forth? All I saw on the videotape was that he had gotten a soda and then was tackled by PSD. He never got a chance to walk to the front of the store and pay for his soda. PSD over-reacted and acted with intentional cruelty in that instance and I'm not even going to the part where they begin arresting on-lookers - the store's employees - which is plain outright crazy. PSD runs amok. Maybe it's due to lack of training, lack of common sense, or that it's a collection of psychos in there. Whatever the problem, there needs to be a serious shake-up. Or maybe have the State Police take over while it's being re-organized. Something needs to be done... right way..

Roosevelt Island said...

The department has aprox 30-35 officers. Psychologically test all of the officers. More than half will fail. Especially those hired prior to Guerra. You can't have idiots performing police duties only if you want them to be security guards when it benefits your island. You are asking for the impossible. You want to have both sides. You know NYPD will not respond to a bs call that psd will respond to within seconds, but at the same time if psd does respond to a police matter and takes appropriate action to which they are allowed to do, you people complain. "not my child" or "not my community" or the ever famous "I'm a resident for 30 years blah blah" is getting old. Instead of complaining, take action yourselves. And yes, there IS a gang problem on the island.

Roosevelt Island said...

stop wasting your time. I'll eat my hat when they actually replace the agency. You guys blow so much hot air on here I can take a balloon to Mars and use the leftover oxygen to live there.

Roosevelt Island said...

He was charged with a crime(s). He was denied prosecution. Those are two different things.

Roosevelt Island said...

Mike, you were indeed good at your job and you were a friendly person while working there. I know that you can call bullshit when you see it, but exposing all the truth on a blog is not going to get you anywhere. These people have corn cobs in their ears.

Roosevelt Island said...

Is this the poster everyone is speaking of? From what I see there is indeed youth that I have seen on the island with Crip style gang hand signs.

Roosevelt Island said...

photo doesn't seem to be posting

Frannie Fran said...

all we are asking is for PSD to do their job properly. you see the video and you still can't believe PSD is doing something wrong. I guess for you to understand they would need for you to beat your a@# and throw

you in jail for nothing so you could get the point.

Frannie Fran said...

they are in a picture with gang signs Mr. Anthony Clemente that does not make them gang members. Give us their back rounds, tell us who they victimized on the Island but if all you have is a picture your argument is weak!

Frannie Fran said...

I chalk it up to youth making bad decisions when taking pictures..

GeorgeProzakis said...

What video I would be very inclined to see it as my hunt for facts seized a week ago. My curiosity senses are tingling.

GeorgeProzakis said...

This was probably the funniest posting I have read. You live in a very isolated world it appears. As a police officer, those youths appear to be gang members and in the police department, after they are identified, they would be marked as gang members. Personally, I don't know their identities nor does it concern me anymore but as the old saying goes " if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck", well you know the rest. I guess what I am saying is maybe perhaps you need to open your eyes a bit and just absorb things instead of using a defense. This is the reason why some neighborhoods are out of control.

Westviewer said...

These are not the people PSD is arresting and beating up.

Frannie Fran said...

Thank you Westviewer! Please understand your talking to a former PSD officer. So if I buy a crown
and say I'm the queen of England does that mean I'm the queen or I'm posing?

Frannie Fran said...

I want people to be arrested for real crimes on the island, not trespassing, lottering, u turns and many other bogus crimes. I also don't want people rights violated. When I first moved to this Island PSD were very pleasant. They would say hello, help with the door, talk to the young people. That's all we want, our island back.

Frannie Fran said...

When you say "put on fighting gloves" what do you mean? if they talk back because that's all it takes for PSD to arrest someone...

Frannie Fran said...

Mr. Clemente go worry about your own neighborhood...

GeorgeProzakis said...

So if it was your kids, it would be acceptable behavior?. Lets get to the point. Regardless if they are killing each other, selling drugs or,whatever, posing with gang signs is unacceptable. If you think it's ok you should be not allowed to reproduce in modern society. This is disturbing to hear. To a normal person those pictures would be shocking and disturbing. To you, it's acceptable?. That's just a messed up way of thinking.

Frannie Fran said...

Go online and look at the rally towards the end a video is played...

GeorgeProzakis said...

Yea! Bad decisions during picture time is making bunny ears, photo bombing a pic, sticking your tongue out, or some other non violent pose. Gang equals violence in society.

Frannie Fran said...

Of course taking pictures like this is not acceptable and I never said it was. You have your mind made up so regardless what I say your going to turn it negative. I feel sorry for closed minded people like yourself because you live in a box and no new thoughts, ideas, or change of opinion is even considered. So sad yes stay away from our land we don't care for your kind....

Frannie Fran said...

So feel afraid seeing pictures like this?

Frannie Fran said...

Of course it's not acceptable. I'm sure their parents or and adult didn't take these pictures. All a patent can do talk to their child and hope they listen. Of course your missing my point because your mind is made up. The mistreatment of the young people on this island deserve what they got, right? Because of pictures like this.....

Westviewer said...

Please.

Frank Farance said...

Director Guerra (aka "L.L.") in his own Gang-Like Behavior; Former RIOC VP of Operations Martinez, also involved.

Mr. Lewis (RIOC Acting President), Mr. Shinozaki (Chair of RIOC Board Operations Committee, which oversees Public Safety):

Mr. Martinez (former RIOC VP of Operations) and Director Guerra are in the same fraternity, I'm guessing Guerra (Spring 1985) did Martinez' (Spring 1986) initiation. Here's Guerra and Martinez on the same *public* discussion forum:

"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBS_OmicronGamma_IONA/message/30" [note: PDF snapshots were in original mail to RIOC, highlighted text follows]

Highlighted-Excerpt>
----
[...]
SPRING 1985
1) Nate Walker nhwalker01
2) Terrence Sylvia terrence.sylvia
3) Rob Mercado
4) W. Keith Guerra wkguerra ********
1) Earl Canteen
SPRING 1986
1) Tim Guerra tguerra14
2) Tyrone Johnson
3) Willie Lopez dabronx1
4) Fernando Martinez fm711 *******
1) Robert Graham

[...]
From: Keith Guerra

Guys,
Please sign your name after your e-mails. If you
don't, we won't know who you are (by your e-mail).
GOMAB
Keith (AKA "L.L."
----


There are a good number of E-mails talking about illegal stuff (prosecutors), people getting hurt (broken limb), and worrying about whether or not to use physical stuff (because the kids' parents are attorneys) ... all about how to treat kids **NOW**, not decades earlier when they were in college. The following is representative discussion:

"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBS_OmicronGamma_IONA/message/223"

Highlighted-Excerpt>

----
Posted By: wkguerra

[...]
Charles, I have the utmost respect for you, Grev, Stan
(Saviofaire) and the brothers of "OG" Chapter that
pledged me, and will have that FOR LIFE! You guys
brought me into an organization that I love....gave me
a part of my life that I cherish to this day. Shit, I
crossed the burning sands with my line brothers IN
YOUR MOTHER'S BASEMENT. That gave me the right to
say, "I PLEDGED Sigma!"

[...]
Kyle has been istrumental in
reviving "OG" Chapter at Iona. He has been met with
much resistance from Administration because of the new
rules of pledging. They're being initiated at the
Frat house in NYC because Iona won't give them
permission to do anything on the yard until they are
recognized.

[...]
Just be advised that
there will not be any physical pledging, because he's
not going to put himself in that situation. (Side
note: One of the crescents has 2 parents that are
lawyers).
----


But it just shows that Guerra is physical in nature, this isn't just something in Public Safety, it's in his person. Martinez was on this list while this discussion was going on. This happened while Guerra was also the RIOC Public Safety Director. Here's the link for the forum, Director Guerra's posts are "wkguerra":

"http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBS_OmicronGamma_IONA/messages/1?l=1"

These are all public forums, I don't understand why Guerra used such poor judgment in his public discussions. Also, look at the language: if you didn't know better, you'd be thinking this were Gang discussions and behavior, i.e., Guerra supports this gang-like activity on his own time.

To Mr. Guerra: don't worry snapshots of the pages have been captured just in case they disappear.

-FF

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