The stories from New York’s “Tombs” – how the police bully arrested protesters

Approximately a fifth of all the demonstrators arrested in the US are New Yorkers. However, neither the status of one of the largest megacities in the world, nor the mayor-liberal can protect people from the appalling conditions in which they are held by the police.

The stories from New York's "Tombs" - how the police bully arrested protesters

This is reported by The Guardian.

To date, the NYPD is in no hurry to disclose information about the arrests. Only lawyers and human rights defenders, who are in touch with the arrested, are able to find out what’s going on in the cells. People are being held in what are known as the Tombs – premises under the Manhattan courthouse – and often overcharged.

Lawyer Rigodis Appling, assessing the conditions in these “Tombs”, said: “Dirt will be an understatement”.  Human rights defender Portia Shaf’he Venable, in turn, compared police treatment of detainees with terrorism.

People are detained mainly for hooliganism and violating the curfew that has now been abolished. Many detainees are denied the right to make a phone call, so their loved ones remain in the dark. Despite the coronavirus epidemic, police officers do not wear medical masks, and people are kept in cells that are not designed for distance.

“We have heard from our clients who have been arrested that the conditions in the cells in which they are held, in many cases for 10-20 hours, are deplorable. Especially after some major demonstrations and mass arrests, the cells are crowded, dirty, unsanitary and unsafe”, – says Cory Stouton, head of the Legal Aid Society’s special litigation division.

It is also noteworthy that many people are detained for 48 hours, although it has so far been considered illegal. Before that, a person could only be arrested for 24 hours before being charged.

“People are scared”, –  says Wenabel. – “And if there was any confidence, if there used to be any confidence in the NYPD, they successfully reduced it. It’s gone. And you can hear it in the voice of every mother who calls the hotline.”

As News Front previously reported, in late May, a Minneapolis police officer killed African-American George Floyd. The man was detained on suspicion of forging a $20 check. During his arrest, the policeman began pressing Floyd’s neck with his knee. He said he had nothing to breathe, but the policeman wouldn’t listen. As a result, the detainee died. It triggered a riot that spread rapidly across the country.


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