Revolution #93, June 24, 2007

NYPD Arrests Over 200 at Puerto Rican Day Parade

The New York Police Department callously transformed the 50th annual Puerto Rican Day Parade from a festive day to express Puerto Rican pride and celebrate Puerto Rican culture into a nightmare scene of brutality and mass arrests. On Sunday, June 10, the NYPD arrested 208 people—mainly young Puerto Ricans—supposedly based on reports that the Latin Kings planned to march in the parade, as they have done in past years.

The NYPD charged 132 of the 208 with unlawful assembly—get this: unlawful assembly at an event sanctioned by the NYPD itself—and said that 145 of those arrested were Latin Kings. How did the cops "know" they were members of the Latin Kings? The cops said their “logic” was that some of the clothes they wore were black and gold—the Latin Kings' colors—or they were seen "making hand signs" identified with the Kings.

Many arrested said they were not members of the Latin Kings. And even if some arrested were Latin Kings, so what? Membership in that group is not illegal. The parade's organizers actually ended up helping the police in this attack by asking the NYPD to arrest Latin Kings who might try to join the parade without the organizers' authorization. That, of course, was the green light the NYPD needed to justify their widespread crackdown. But as the chairwoman of the parade organization said a couple of days later: "Something went dreadfully wrong on Sunday. Dozens of peacefully assembled parade goers were arrested, manhandled, denied their rights and forced to endure a night in jail."

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