URGENT PETITION: SUPPORT - Sean Bell Arrestees: Send a message of "NOT Guilty" to Judge Larry Stephen
Your message will also go to the media so that they cannot ignore continued
police violence in NYC.
Click the link below to send a message directly to presiding Judge Larry
Stephen, Mayor Bloomberg, Gov Paterson, Senators Clinton and Schumer, the New
York State Legislature, and members of the media!
Sentencing is 2:15pm - Wed, Oct 8, 2008
100 Center Street, 4th Floor, Jury 2 & C,
If you are in
NYC make every effort to attend the sentencing.
Call for a “Not Guilty” verdict
It is outrageous that the police who killed Sean Bell with 50 bullets on Nov
25, 2006 - the morning of his wedding and wounded Trent Benafield and Joseph
Guzman can be found “Not Guilty” of any charge in NYC Criminal
Courts. Yet those who responded to the verdict in wholly justified protests may
be found “Guilty”.
It is a crime that the NYC District Attorney’s office has continued with
this outrageous prosecution.
The arrestees do not deny that they took part in the May 7 well organized,
orderly and cohesive civil disobedience protests to raise an urgent life and
death issue. This is an issue of deep concern to millions of people nationally
who are outraged at unrestrained, unpunished, continuing police violence.
A “Not Guilty” verdict is the only acceptable ending to these
charges on civil rights activists.
Many hundreds of people blocked evening rush hour traffic at bridges and
tunnels including the Triboro, Brooklyn, Queensboro and Manhattan Bridges and
the Holland and Midtown Tunnels. Many Thousands of others surrounded them,
supporting their justified action
The organized protest followed the outrageous “Not Guilty” verdict
for the police who killed Sean Bell. Anger was enormous at the unchecked racist
police violence in Black and Latino communities of NYC.
More than 250 people were arrested at the May 7 protest. Charges were quickly
dropped on the overwhelming majority of arrestees.
However for 7 participants facing sentencing on Wednesday, October 8th ,
charges were not dropped. Those facing sentencing include Rev Al Sharpton - a
key organizer of the May 7th civil disobedience action - and a handful of
others who have participated in civil disobedience actions in the past. Once
charged, these defendants refused to plead ‘guilty’ to any charges
stemming from their justified protests while police who commit murder with 50
bullets are found ‘not guilty’.
International Action Center activists took part in the Civil Disobedience mass
actions at several locations in Manhattan and Sara
Flounders, Co-Director of the International Action Center is also one of the
defendants due to be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon.
The other defendants are: Anthony Estes, formerly a victim of a brutal police
attack, James Patnaude, Donna Gould, Manijeh Saba and Felton Davis.
At their trial of October 6th Attorneys Michael Hardy and Wylie Stecklow
attempted to raise an important political defense of “justified
necessity”. The actions against continuing police killings were justified
and necessary. In summary: the participants acted because there were no
adequate legal means to avoid this harm, and they acted to avoid grave harm not
of their own making and to avert an impending danger of more police
Judge Larry Stephen, formerly of the NYC District Attorney office, refused to
allow this defense of “justified necessity” to be introduced. He
limited the testimony to police descriptions of the street arrests.
Support these justified actions to protest a racist, violent police and
court system. Fill the NY Criminal Court 100 Center Street, Jury 2 & C
Wednesday at 2:15pm.
Sign the message to Judge Larry Stephen.
The text of the online petition message follows:
PETITION TO JUDGE LARRY STEPHEN, with copies to Governor Paterson, Senators
Clinton and Schumer, Mayor Bloomberg, the New York Legislature and members of
Dear Judge Larry Stephen,
I am deeply concerned with the continuing police violence against unarmed and
defenseless people in NYC, especially in communities of color.
I am even more concerned that this uncontrolled police violence has no form of
redress. Every parent worries for the safety of their children. The danger is
imminent and all pervasive, yet it is systematically ignored.
The police must be held accountable to the community for their conduct.
Again and again in mass demonstrations, protests and gatherings concerned
people in New York City and nationally have voiced their protests.
The well organized civil disobedience actions held on May 7, 2008 spoke to the
concerns of millions of people all across the U.S.
There seems to be no other forum left to address these justified
I urge you to find the defendants before your court today ‘Not
Guilty” of the frivolous charges against them. They acted, with great
seriousness and commitment, to bring this emergency to national attention.
They have the support of many tens of thousands of other concerned and
It would be a grievous miscarriage of justice and a serious misuse of the
courts for these defendants to be found guilty of ANY charge while NYC police
are found “Not Guilty” of all charges.
We urge you to act in a way that sends a message to NYC that this serious
problem must be addressed