New York City Update 3/31/00

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Violence broke out last Saturday (3/25) between police and attendees of the funeral of Patrick Dorismond. Dorismond, 26, was shot and killed by a New York City Police officer on March 16 during a marijuana "buy and bust" operation in mid-town. Dorismond was unarmed, was not selling and did not possess any marijuana (see http://www.drcnet.org/wol/130.html#dorismond).

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has continued to take heat this week for his characterization of Dorismond as "not an altar boy," based upon Dorismond's minor criminal record including an arrest, for which no charges were filed, at the age of 13. Protesters and others, including former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, have called for the resignation of Mayor Giuliani and/or Police Commissioner Howard Safir for their release of those juvenile records, which had been sealed by court order.

Meanwhile, on Monday (3/27), a New York City undercover officer, with gun drawn, chased a suspect in a street-level marijuana sale into a schoolyard filled with hundreds of elementary school children. The children screamed and fled and one child fell to the ground and was slightly injured. The officer, along with at least three backup officers, subdued the suspect and placed him under arrest. Parents of the students at Public School 305 in Brooklyn, were outraged.

"The drug dealers have no business being near our school, but the cops had no right to draw their guns," parent Quienna Green told the New York Daily News.

On Tuesday, Mayor Giuliani said that he was "very concerned" about the reports and Wednesday, the officer who initially pursued the suspect was put on a desk job. The NYC Police Department would not release the officer's name due to the fact that he works undercover.

Reports from the scene, however, indicate that other officers involved in the chase also entered the playground with guns drawn. "There were four to five men running in, and every one seemed to have a gun in their hand," school aide Bonita Anderson told the Daily News.

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Issue #131, 3/31/00 ON CAMPUS: HEA Reform Campaign Gains Support | Colombia Package Passes House Through Opposition, Moves to Senate | Interview with Sylvester Salcedo | Senate Passes Civil Forfeiture Reform Bill Unanimously | New York City Update | Amherst Voters Approve Referendum to Deprioritize Marijuana Enforcement | UK: Police Foundation Report Calls for Marijuana Decrim, Lower Penalties for Other Drugs | Newsbriefs | Salon.com on Maine Medical Marijuana, Netherlands Drug Policy | Editorial: War On Us All
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