Justice is Revenge…
On May 26th, NYPD officers Moreno and Mata were acquitted of raping a woman in her East Village apartment. The cops in this city have a long history of acting with total impunity while unleashing their brutality: rape, torture, and murder on the city all without any serious response from the rest of us. We are not naive enough to believe in the “justice” system that the police are a part of, and furthermore, we were not surprised that Moreno and Mata were acquitted despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt. We, however, were and still are filled with rage.
Inspired by both the rowdy end to Friday’s protest of the acquittals, which saw hundreds facing off against the police, briefly blocking the entrance to the Brooklyn bridge, and repeatedly pushing back police attempts to corral protesters onto the sidewalk; we are also extremely encouraged by anti-police actions in Seattle, Oakland, and Denver, and we decided it was time to push back.
Saturday night we converged on the intersection of Bowery and Houston street in Manhattan. The intersection was blocked and held for 15 minutes, fireworks were set off, and hundreds of fliers were thrown into the air while anti-police chants were screamed into the night and dozens more leaflets were distributed to motorists and passersby. Traffic came to a stop as Saturday night revelers gathered to observe the sight of masked people holding a major intersection. Posters bearing photos of Moreno and Mata with “NYPD Rapists” emblazoned on them were simultaneously wheat-pasted on walls throughout the area. Eventually, feeling that our point was made clear, we headed north up Bowery taking the entire street. At this point trash cans and other debris were thrown into the street. A garbage can was also sent through a plate glass window of a Chase Bank before the crowd quickly dispersed into the night. We encountered no police response to our actions and suffered no arrests.
This small, yet successful, action was only a beginning. We have had enough of police terror in this city, the tide is turning.
This action is dedicated, in total solidarity, to Amelia Nicol, currently in jail in Denver, Colorado facing trumped up charges for taking a stand against police terror.
Below is the full text of the flier distributed last night:
Moreno and Mata: Pigs Let Out of Their Sties
We hate to say, that unfortunately, we’re not surprised…
After the rape and torture of Abner Louima; the years Officer Wilfredo Rosario spent soliciting sexual favors with the threat of arrest; the sexual attacks made by Officer Frank Wright; the sodomy of Michael Mineo on a Brooklyn subway platform; the mutilated corpses of young women appearing on the shores of Long Island being linked to current and former cops; as well as the countless incidents of police brutality that don’t make it to the front pages; one can easily recognize a long history of violence, sexual and otherwise, clearly attributed to New York State’s police departments. With this graphic record allowed to speak for itself, the sexual assault committed by Officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata is nothing less than the pitiful behavior that we have come to expect from the NYPD.
In societies such as ours, the most striking expression of the forces of power and domination are the uniformed police on every corner. To uphold their authority, police are allowed exceptional recourse to violence, and earning a badge, in many instances, means acquiring an open license to rape whomever one pleases. The prevalence of sexual violence by police should not be understood in terms of sex, but is instead, a violent and coercive act motivated by the urge for power and domination. It is only in extreme cases, when police violence exceeds the threshold deemed tolerable by public and legal standards, the Blue Shied is then quickly brandished to absolve all culpability. The swift hand of “justice” at best, confines the police to a sentence of cushy deskwork or a paid exile in their suburban homes. More often, they are simply let out of their sties and back into the streets to reconvene their terror. It need be said: that these observations are not appeals for a fair trial by judge and jury, but rather to implicate the judicial system’s role in this broader cycle of State-institutionalized repression, which was constituted by violence, and can only function by perpetuating it. And while the acquittal of Moreno and Mata left many of us with a stinging sensation from a public slap in the face, an adequate condemnation of their actions must also extend to the entire police, judicial and prison system.
It is true that the State and its servile police uphold the patriarchy, which is decisively shaped by other forms of domination. In this contradictory society, where the property relation unquestionably rules, women are deemed both public and private property. In relation to their fathers and husbands, women are still thought of as possessions. Thus the police, designated solely to guard the rights of property, half-heartedly defend the well-being of women, not as living human beings, but in the same way they would protect a proprietor’s car, house, or any other inanimate and purchasable item. If on the other hand, a woman is thought to have no discernible “owner,” then she is considered to be an unclaimed object readily available for use or plunder. With this in mind, we point to the innumerable instances, in which women, most often poor and/or working-class, report having been raped, and the police sardonically reply with the question: “What were you doing walking around in a neighborhood like that, alone?”
The very same State, that condones, justifies, and aptly promotes rape, is given the chance to secure another reprehensible victory, when its said critics fall prey to a limited political vision and confront it with a single issue campaign. We feel the need to reprimand the false opposition, in their various manifestations, for again proving to be astonishingly inept in recent days. On the one hand, we are obliged to mention the noticeable absence of the various anti-police brutality organizations and consider this a clear indication that they have joined the other side. On the other hand, we censure many of the feminist groups in New York City, who talk a big game, always reassuring their comfortable existence within their tiny and insignificant activist circles, yet seem quite happy to give their silent consent to the police’s activity by doing little to nothing in response. To reduce the conduct and subsequent acquittals of Moreno and Mata exclusively to a question of violence against women, or to a question about police violence, leads us to a dead-end, always missing our target, which left unscathed, wins again by default.
When more than half the population of living, breathing human beings is inexorably regarded as things, no amount of legislative reform or conclusive judicial rulings can cure the symptoms afflicting an ailing society. In our present situation, we can therefore only rely on popular justice. A justice, in which, there is no room for judge, jury and trial; instead, there exist only the masses and their enemies with no mediating body in between. Furthermore, the masses, when they perceive somebody to be an enemy, and when they decide to punish this enemy, they do not rely on an abstract universal idea of justice, the farce passed off in a court of law, they rely only on their own experience, that of the injuries they have suffered, that of the way in which they have been wronged, in which they have been oppressed; and finally, their decision is not an authoritative one, that is, they are not backed up by a State apparatus which has the power to enforce their decisions, they purely and simply carry them out.
We vehemently cite Stonewall in 1969, Los Angeles in 1992, Cincinnati in 2001, and Oakland in 2009. For justice to finally become a substantive it requires that it take the form of an angry mob; aroused and incensed in the middle of New York City, carrying with it an unmatched fury as it stampedes down city blocks, to then finally descend upon One Police Plaza with a tremendous impact, unleashing a carnage comparable only to the devastating force of a natural disaster.
Justice is Revenge!
– May 28, 2011