NYPD Kills Again!
The Plainclothes Murder of Patrick Dorismond
Revolutionary Worker #1048, March 26, 2000
As we go to press: The NYPD has shot down another unarmed Black man in cold blood.
This time it was in midtown Manhattan, after midnight, early on Thursday morning, March 16. Patrick Dorismond, 25 years old, son of Haitian immigrants, went with a fellow security guard to have some beers after work at the Wakamba Bar. Afterwards, they were waiting outside for a cab.
Within minutes Patrick was dead, shot in the chest by a plainclothes NYPD cop. For nothing.
According to Patrick's friend Kevin Kaiser, a man came up to them and asked if they knew where he could buy marijuana. Patrick told the guy to move on and said he didn't want to talk. The stranger (who was an undercover narcotics cop) persisted. An argument and some kind of scuffle broke out.
Another member of this cop squad, Vasquez, came running up with his gun drawn. He started beating Patrick with the pistol. And then shot him in the chest. The cops reportedly never identified themselves.
Enough! Basta Ya!
This is one more outrage in a long string of police outrages in New York City.
There have been the infamous police murders of Eleanor Bumpers, Nicholas Heyward Jr., Anthony Rosario, Anthony Baez, and many others. There was the brutal police rape of Abner Louima with a broom handle. There were the 41 bullets fired at Amadou Diallo in his own building by the notorious Street Crimes Unit. And then, just a few weeks ago, there was the shameful acquittal of those four cops who murdered Amadou. Finally there was the police execution of Malcolm Ferguson, just days after he joined protests against the Diallo verdict.
Now, the cops have done it again: a plainclothes police unit has executed an unarmed Black man, as he was just standing on the street, breathing while Black.
SOP: The Lies that Follow the Murder
The official response that followed this murder reveals, once again, that the cops have a green light to kill. Defending killer cops and portraying their victims as dangerous criminals is Standard Operating Procedure.
After the killing of Patrick Dorismond, New York City's Mayor Giuliani and police commissioner Safir immediately urged the public to have confidence in the cops and not "jump to conclusions."
The police department and media floated rumors to justify the shooting. The first police reports released said Vasquez shot a robbery suspect. Then they changed their story and claimed Patrick was going for Vasquez's gun. (All while witnesses on the scene say Vasquez was beating Patrick with the pistol when it went off.)
Mayor Giuliani told the New York Post: "There's no question that there was a struggle that took place here. There's no question that the person who was killed has a criminal record." Police Commissioner Howard Safir released Patrick's supposed "criminal record," which consists of two convictions for "disorderly conduct." Is "disorderly conduct" now proof that you are a life-long "perp" deserving street execution?!
Two weeks ago Giuliani justified the police murder of Malcolm Ferguson because Malcolm had previously been arrested for drugs. Now Mayor Giuliani is justifying the murder of a man who apparently refused to have anything to do with drugs!
The cop Vasquez, who has a record of threatening people with his gun and brutalizing his wife, was called a "distinguished undercover officer" by Mayor Giuliani. This killer cop was put on desk duty while his victim, Patrick Dorismond, is being portrayed as a criminal in the media.
As the RW said after the killing of Malcolm Ferguson: "In this system there are two standards. One for the enforcers and one for the people. And that too reveals something about the class nature of this society and its state--about the role of the state as an enforcer for keeping the people in their place."
Over and over again, the cops, the courts and the authorities say that these killer cops are "just doing their job"--and in a sick, twisted way that is exactly true. It is their job. Because repressing, brutalizing, murdering and generally trying to terrorize the oppressed people and all those who would stand up against this system is precisely their job. It is their political role as armed enforcers of the bourgeois state and the capitalist-imperialist system.
These police killings and the firm backing these cops get from the courts and officials shows that this system is utterly unreformable. The people have the right to stand up against it, to organize ourselves, to defend ourselves, and to resist the outrageous attacks and verdicts of the authorities. And, in every way, we need to prepare ourselves and our movement to end this system itself.
"It's war. The Black young brothers out here are not safe. It's disgusting."
Marie Dorismond, Patrick's sister
A memorial with candles, flowers and messages was erected in the lobby of Patrick's building. Patrick Dorismond left behind two daughters--a 1-year-old and a 5-year-old.
Saturday, March 18, 350 people, rallied at the National Action Headquarters in Harlem. Patrick Dorismond's family was joined by other people whose loved ones were murdered by police. Patrick's sister Marie said: "We want justice and we're not going to rest until this is taken care of. This is not just for him but for the whole world. This could happen to everyone."
A press conference outside New York's City Hall was attended by the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Transit Workers Union Local 100, the Irish Genocide and Famine Committee, Refuse & Resist!, 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement, the Latino Officers Association and elected officials. They called for a "black ribbon campaign" in protest of police murder.
That evening, a protest was held where Patrick was murdered. Six hundred people, including anti-police brutality activists, Haitians and African American youth, marched through midtown Manhattan. They took the streets in the crowded shopping district, chanting "NYPD Murders Again!" Many people on the sides and in their cars threw their fists in the air and joined the chant. Police attacked the crowd, arresting at least eight people.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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