Monday, November 27, 2006

Heil Bloomberg! New York City police state swings into high gear.

As I write this, a public “hearing” into a new Police Department regulation defining a “parade” is going on in New York’s City Hall.

But don’t expect the police high brass or the city’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg (shown at right with a deserved Hitler mustasche) to be listening.

They’ve got their hands full with a police riot that led to a gang of rampaging cops firing 50 shots – most of them into a van full of unarmed passengers, a few into nearby objects. One passenger is dead, killed the night before his wedding.

No no, I’m not claiming Mayor Bloomberg, or his police commissioner Raymond Kelly, actually ordered the shootings. On the contrary, instead of keeping a watchful gaze on the anti-crime operations of a police force noted for shooting first and asking “What the hell are we doing?” second, (remember Amadou Dialo, who committed the fatal crime of waving his wallet?)
they’ve been busy redefining what a parade means.


Apparently, the cops are so bugged by a ragtag group called Time’s Up that holds unruly street demonstrations on bicycles, they’ve decided to outlaw the peaceful congregation of any group of 30 or more people for any reason at all unless the cops give them a permit to "parade." (If the connective logic of this eludes you, you're not alone, but that's the Bloomberg Administration for you.) You say that meanwhile other cops are gunning down unarmed citizens? Never mind that. Let’s fix the unauthorized parade problem.

This is remarkable, because it makes New York City one of the few places in the world where the cops, not a legislative body, write the rules and then enforce them. Well, actually Nazi Germany did that, too.

So the new regulations, theoretically “under consideration” essentially appear to be a done deal. They “would allow the police to arrest any group of 30 or more cyclists or pedestrians for ‘parading without a permit’, even if they are obeying all traffic laws. Groups of as few as 10 cyclists or pedestrianscould also be arrested, if a police officer decides that the cyclists or pedestrians have violated a traffic rule for ‘more than two city blocks’.

Now, there’s not even language in the so called regulation defining what these people have to be doing, aside from walking or riding in a group.


If your kid, for example, is part of a class trip to New York, and there are 31 people in the group, they can be arrested just for being together without a permit. (A good reason why the class might want to visit, say, Montreal instead.)

Angry recreational bicycle riders, who have nothing to do with Time’s Up but who often ride in groups of more than 30 on their way out of the city, could also be arrested just for riding together without a permit.

If ten of you come to New York and you’re crossing the street, and one lags a bit and the light turns red, you all can be arrested under the proposed police regulations.

In other words, the new regulations of Mayor Bloomberg’s NYPD will punish everybody who happens to live in, visit or do business in New York in order to get even with a small band of unruly political demonstrators.

This reminds calls to mind what the Nazis did during WWII. If a Nazi officer was killed by a sniper in a village, they’d grab 50 villagers – involved in the sniping or not – line them up against the wall, and shoot them.


Fortunately, the New York Courts have been shooting down these insane Bloomberg Administration police regulations as fast as the cops can write them and then arrest somebody for violating them.

And the under-the-breath whisper one hears in defense of these Nazi-like edicts is that the law will be enforced selectively. In other words, “we’re only going to arrest people we don’t like.” Which of course, is the very soul of the fascist idea.

Besides, mistakes get made. Do you want to be the one who gets arrested and fingerprinted and spends the night in a crowded prison cell reeking of urine before your case comes up for judicial review? Want to spend the many, many thousands of dollars involved in appealing your case?

There’s no point complaining to Michael Bloomberg. As I said, he’s not listening. He isn’t the slightest bit interested in listening. And he’s too busy right now – trying to wipe up the stuff that hit the fan when his cops went on another rampage – to listen even if he wanted to.

But do us New Yorkers a favor, because we have to live here full time with these police state rules. When you cancel your hotel stay, restaurant reservations or theater tickets in New York, send in a printout or e-mail to the vendor or a cut-and-paste of this article along with your cancellation.

The one thing short of mass minority outrage over a police homicide that seems to get the Mayor’s attention is the possibility that the city is losing business.

Let New York businesses know what this mayor is really costing them.

1 comment:

Serena said...

Jesus Christ! I live in NY and am in Manhattan all the freaking time and I've never heard of this. Thats pretty ubsurd. Seems like an abuse of power if you ask me. :(