by Carl Dix
The judge who handed down the sentences in the Queens’ Stop & Frisk case got personal. I got a $250 fine, 5 days court observation and $120 court costs. Morgan Rhodewalt got the fine, 5 days community service and court costs. Jamel Mims got 5 days community service and court costs. And Bob Parsons got court costs. 1st off, we shoulda gotten off with time served—no fines and no community service. Stop & Frisk is wrong, and we were right to protest it!
In handing down these sentences, the judge said, ‘The jury saw thru Dix’s arrogance, and Rhodewalt’s false statements.’ Of course, the jury hadn’t said any of this. The judge was really spitting his own venom at us, and he followed that up by giving Morgan and me extra punishment.
Why did the judge say I was arrogant? Because he feels it was arrogant of me to decide Stop & Frisk was racist, illegal and illegitimate and to call on people to join a campaign of civil disobedience to stop it! And to come into his court and say that what we did was the right thing to do. He probably thought my statement before sentencing was also “arrogant.” I noted that “Ray Kelly told 3 Black legislators he wanted every Black and Latino youth to be afraid they might be stopped & frisked every morning when they leave their house.” I added, “This was wrong, and we were right to stand up and say NO MORE to this outrage.”
Morgan’s “false statement” was about his complaint to the Civilian Complaint Review Board over the police having tightened his handcuffs so tight he lost use of his thumbs for several weeks. Before the trial, the prosecution argued, unsuccessfully, that this complaint amounted to a confession of guilt in this case. But the jury never saw this statement, so it’s ludicrous to say they saw thru his false statements. (There’s something to learn from this. The complaint to the CCRB didn’t in any way deter cops from making handcuffs too tight on people they arrest, but it did serve to give the government an added way to target the defense in this charged political case.)
There’s another wrinkle to the judge sentencing me to court observation. He said he did this in consideration of my physical condition. Rev. Steven Phelps, the Senior Minister at the Riverside Church had offered that we could do any community service we were sentenced to could be done thru ministries at their church. If the only issue was coming up with community service that fit my physical condition, the Riverside Church’s offer would’ve fit the bill. The judge was essentially saying that he was going to take this arrogant Black man and make him sit in his court room, under his thumb, and maybe teach him some humility.
That won’t happen! Stop & Frisk is still wrong. Mass Incarceration is still racist and illegitimate. It is right to stand up and say NO MORE to this slow genocide strangling inner city Black and Latino communities across the country! Watching this judge operate in court for a week won’t change any of that.