Last updated: November 16, 2003 9:09PM

8 People Arrested at Benefit for Activist People of Color

by the queer anti-gentrification group called FIERCE

Brooklyn, NY: People attending a fundraising event in Brooklyn were
shocked early this morning by unprovoked and violent assault at the hands
of the NYPD.

Up to 100 people attending a fundraiser for activists of
color were indiscriminately sprayed with chemical agents, beaten with
nightsticks, and harassed by a throng of police officers. Witnesses say
there was no cause for the assaults and the subsequent arrests following
the melee.

Approximately 21 marked police vehicles arrived at The Critical Resistance
office 968 Atlantic Avenue, the location of the fundraising event, at
around 2AM, to investigate an officer‚s report of someone standing outside
the party allegedly holding an „open container.‰ Within minutes, the
police unleashed their wave of violence onto the crowd, provoking
onlookers and beating down attendees who were not resisting their orders.
Over 20 people were experiencing effects of the pepper spray that was
erratically sprayed into the air by the officers. The officers were also
attempting to take the event sign-in sheet.

All tenants of the private, residential building were present at the
event, did not request police assistance, and no one in the building
placed a complaint with the precinct or the emergency response system.
Witnesses report that no warrant was presented upon police entrance.
Organizers responded peacefully to police threats and physical
provocation, and cooperated with police.

"I was stunned at the severity of the attack, and I am genuinely concerned
for the safety and well-being of those who were unfairly detained and
arrested," said a witness at the scene of the incident.

Legal council at the scene confirmed that at least 8 arrests were made.
Preliminary charges include assault, inciting a riot, and resisting
arrest. The 77th Precinct, which is where the arrestees were initially
held, has been unwilling to provide even the smallest information about
the status of those arrested. EMS visited the precinct to attend to those
who sustained serious injuries, which include bruised ribs, a spinal
injury, and severe blows to the head.

Among the arrested was a transgendered activist who remains in police custody.

Critical Resistance is a national grassroots group that focuses on prisons
and police brutality, and challenges the belief that policing,
surveillance, imprisonment, and similar forms of control make our
communities safer.