Walter Newsome. Photo: Twitter
[Speaking Truth To Empower]
Last Friday, a Black Civil Rights leader filed a $5 million law suit against the New York Police Department (NYPD) for the brutal beating he apparently received during a police brutality protest organized after the unjustified Sacramento Police killing of Stephon Clark last March.
As is the normal practice, police officials and prominent politicians are again supporting criminal cop corruption—by remaining silent—while police continue to perpetrate atrocities against African-Americans.
Walter Newsome’s lawsuit against the NYPD stems from the beating—caught on video—he was subjected to during the protest which occurred after the killing of 22-year-old Clark.
Clark was shot dead by two Sacramento Police Department officers, in his grandparent’s backyard, on March 12. Like so many other Black Americans murdered by police, he was shot down while unarmed.
Newsome, 41, and other activists, organized a New York City protest in the wake of Clark’s unjustified killing. Newsome may’ve been attacked, in part, because of a sign he was carrying. The sign read: “Blue Klux Klan.” Newsome was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration.
Newsome recounted what he says was an unwarranted attack by NYPD officers. He said the incident started after he was repeatedly bumped with a bike by an officer; he said the officer then attacked him after he told him to stop.
“When I told him to stop pushing me, that’s when I was arrested,” Newsome said. “They have absolute power. They can arrest us whenever they want.”
“I was hit several times with a metal mountain bike, pushed into my chest, pushed into my neck, and hit in my groin with it,” Newsome said while announcing his lawsuit Friday. “I was punched in my head several times. I was slammed to the ground. A bike was thrown on top of me. From what I saw later in video, there was an officer who had his knee on the back of my skull.”
Newsome also told the New York Daily News NYPD officers were “celebrating” after beating and arresting him. “I’m screaming and they’re celebrating,” Newsome, 41, told the Daily News. “It felt like 50 cops were on top of me. At one point I was laying there with my arms in front of me—and they were still on top of me, pulling my shoulder back. They threw a bike down on top of me.”
Black Lives Matter activist, Nupol Kiazolu, witnessed the brutal beating. I thought they were going to kill him, they way that they were handling him,” said Kiazolu. “They were beating him, treating him like an animal, and I was just freaking out.”
Newsome’s lawsuit alleges the NYPD “illegally and without a proper warrant or cause, did … falsely arrest and imprison [Newsome],” a notice of claim read. “[He] was grabbed and had his arms twisted, kicked, pushed, slammed to the ground, pushed into and hit with a bicycle … [and] falsely imprisoned.”
The NYPD has said nothing about this lawsuit. Newsome’s lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, asked an important question: “Does the NYPD target leaders at civil rights demonstrations for arrest?”
The answer seems clearly in the affirmative. For some time, politicians who say nothing about racial policing, even in the most egregious circumstances, have been very willing to criticize those protesting police prejudice and violence to win political points.
For example, the discredited former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and current Trump mouthpiece said Black Lives Matter is “inherently racist.” This coming from the serial spousal-abuser and the man who encouraged “one of the biggest riots,” as the late Nat Hentoff characterized it, by police in American history. Giuliani joined a racist protest by off duty police against mayor Dinkins during which the mayor was called a “nigger” by the police officers.
Another discredited politician, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, made the slanderous claim that Black Lives Mater was “calling for the murder of police officers.” It’s truly instructive when Christie, a former federal prosecutor, mouths such a brazen lie with absolutely no evidence to back-up this inflammatory accusation. Is there any wonder, with prosecutors like this, why so many Black-Americans find themselves caught-up in the mass incarceration justice system?
North Carolina Senator Dan Bishop made the irrational statement that BLM was no different from the alt-right racist neo-Nazis who murdered Heather Heyer, on August 12, in Charlottesville. He called “both violent, racist movements.” Bishop failed to show one single example of violence committed by BLM.
After the unfortunate murders of Officer Rafael Ramos and Officer Wenjian Liu, by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a mentally unstable Black man, then NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton made the fraudulent statement that the murders were a “direct spinoff” of the police protests. Somehow, in the twisted mind of Bratton, these murders weren’t the “direct spinoff,” or, “blowback” of the deadly violence American police officers routinely inflict on Black America.
Two Black former soldiers Sgt. Gavin Long, and Army veteran Micah Johnson, who killed eight police officers, in Louisiana, and Texas, respectively, during the summer of 2016 claimed they were retaliating against police brutality.
The danger of rhetoric, like Bratton’s “direct spinoff” comment, is it gives the greenlight to police abusers, like the NYPD cop who is seen punching—on video—Mr. Newsome in the face, for no justifiable reason. When these clear acts of unlawful violence are never denounced by politicians are they not indirectly, and irresponsibly, encouraging people to take matters into their own hands?
Many hypocritical Republicans also supported Republican Marty Lamb’s GOP proposal to label Black Lives Matter as a hate group, like the neo-Nazis and KKK.
We should keep this in mind: while people like Giuliani, Christie, Bishop and Lamb are busy making mendacious assertions about BLM, they say nothing about the racist police brutality that is taking the lives of innocent Blacks—and ruining families. Congressional action, including by Democrats, has been virtually non-existent.
Therefore, police violence—and murder—continues, with their silent blessings. Mr. Newsome’s lawsuit may very well lead to him getting a monetary settlement. The video clearly shows him being attacked and punched. However, it is highly unlikely that any of these criminal cops will face assault charges—as they should.
The ugly little secret is: police aren’t the only ones covering up their crimes. Prosecutors, and other “officers of the court,” are also engaged in. Prosecutors and judges help to legally legitimize the criminal cop culture that leads to scores of dead Blacks in America.
Consider 96-year-old radical maverick Brooklyn Judge Jack Weinstein’s recent criticism of the Supreme Court’s expansion of the legal doctrine known as: “qualified immunity,” which he says protects “all but the plainly incompetent.” Tamir Rice’s killer, Officer Timothy Loehmann, was clearly incompetent.
However, more importantly, Judge Weinstein said this about the Supreme Court’s decision to expand this protection used by police: “The Supreme Court’s recent emphasis on shielding public officials and federal and local law enforcement means many individuals who suffer a constitutional deprivation will have no redress.”
Judge Weinstein’s criticisms of the Supreme Court’s expansion of this immunity was also the subject of a Supreme Court dissent by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in April 2017.
Justice Sotomayor chastised The Court for its “failure to correct the error made by the courts below” which “leaves in place a judgment that accepts the word of one party over the word of another.” She then lamented the “disturbing trend regarding the use of this court’s resources,” apparently referencing how courts regularly intervene to protect police and “wrongly afford officers the benefit of qualified immunity.”
Black America should understand this doctrine for what it is: a mechanism to protect police, prosecutors and officials who violate the rights of Blacks, and other poor people.
In fact, we must ask ourselves this question: doesn’t this law fly in the face of the notion that “no one is above the law,” since it is specific designed to exonerate government officials—like those police who attacked Mr. Newsome?”