According to Gurley, on Feb. 16, NYPD officers stated he fit the description for a robbery; they brought him to the 73rd Precinct, placed him in a lineup, and then told him he wasn’t the right guy and that he’d be released in 10 minutes. “I know he was a good brother because he always played with Gracey,” 10-year-old Malachi said. “That’s your brother — that’s Akai,” Kenneth corrected her gently. Liang, who is a police officer and is seen as a hard-working immigrant, is able to access narratives which give him a greater proximity to whiteness, such as: being a police officer, patriotism, nationalism, and the idea of America as a “melting pot” where immigrants can participate in the “American Dream.” It should be noted that despite Akai Gurley’s family having also migrated here (from St. Thomas), he and his family are not afforded the same narrative of being hard-working immigrants. Our presence here on these lands – however complicated by our own histories of European colonialism and dispossession, and the violence we experience due to white supremacy and other oppressive power structures – works to ensure the continued occupation of these lands, the ongoing invisibilization and genocide of Indigenous peoples, and the unrelenting attacks on their lifeways. 1. But Gurley quickly proved himself as something more than a good right hook. Al Sharpton brought Gurley’s 2-year-old daughter Akalia to the microphone to speak, but she had nothing to say. As a teen, Gurley had gone to New York on his own, while she’d spent her teenage years in the quiet and more safe Jacksonville. ), It wasn’t until 2010 that the NYPD adopted new guidelines for vertical patrols, prohibiting the practice of immediately arresting people suspected of trespassing. Portrayal of Gurley in this decontextualized, inaccurate, and dehumanizing way strategically and conveniently leaves out crucial historical and present day context of the specific violences enacted against Black people. It can be frightening, for sure.” In the wake of Gurley’s death, Commissioner Bratton said the NYPD would review its policies “to see if there is anything we can learn,” while also reiterating that vertical patrols are “an essential part of policing.” (Gurley’s parents disagree; his stepfather, Kenneth Palmer, said he’d like to see vertical patrols become “extinct.”), Reflecting on these factors, Sylvia Palmer finds herself at odds with the NYPD’s assessment of her son’s death. Torres took pictures, texting them to his boss with the caption: “Fix this, or I'm e-mailing this picture to the Daily News.” In person, he laughed when I brought up that tactic; he’s bright-eyed and warm, easy to talk to but quick to lay it down. On February 17th, 2015, a poorly-designed petition with very little context or factual information was created by a resident of Pasadena, California, identified only as “K.P.” It called upon the White House to intervene in the case and withdraw the charges against Liang, despite the fact that the White House has no authority over the decisions made by state or local prosecutors. Like cops, Rah wears a badge and carries handcuffs, but his shirt is light blue instead of navy, and he doesn’t have a gun. Whether Liang had any prior intent to hurt Gurley or anyone else, and despite being a “rookie,” being “startled,” “making a mistake,” or whatever other arguments Liang’s supporters have used to defend him, nothing can change the results of Liang’s actions: a young man and father had his precious life violently ended, and a family has been left to mourn and pick up the pieces. Gurley declined the offer. They spoke of the quiet baby, the silly, playful child; they talked about a brother who doted on his siblings and a young man who liked to surprise everyone by showing up at the Florida bus terminal unannounced. When Torres worked under the head of the New York City Housing Authority, he went door to door in the projects, asking residents to show him the leaking ceilings, molding walls, and broken heaters and windows. “He actually came through, by himself. At both conscious andunconscious levels, mainstream media continues to perpetuate narratives that reproduce and fortify white supremacy by pitting people of color against one another, and ensuring that non-white groups are not able to effectively work together to attack and unsettle the settler colonial white supremacist nation state. It was impossible to believe. When Sharpton sought involvement in the funeral of Akai Gurley, an African-American shot dead in November by a rookie police officer in the darkened stairwell of a housing project in Brooklyn, New York, Gurley's family told him to stay away. Get help now. By 1778 the Vagrant Act expandedthe power of patrols to stop all white persons who “couldn’t be accounted for” as an effort to derail any actions taken by individual whites that in any way assisted Black people. 'All he is, is an innocent guy walking down the stairs who was killed for no apparent reason at all. Gurley’s younger siblings — two brothers and sister Grace, only 5, whom they called their “miracle baby” — said hello before being ushered upstairs. Redd moved to Texas with his girlfriend, largely because living in East New York had made him so paranoid. Butler ran for help, banging on a neighbor’s door, leaving bloody smears. Liang made four more radio calls in the next two minutes, but he didn’t mention that he’d struck anyone, according to the radio records produced in the statement of facts. He’s the third young, unarmed, black man to be killed in public housing stairwells by a police officer in just as many decades. He grew up in the projects in the Bronx, so improving the city’s public housing is a deeply personal mission. That’s the kinda guy he was.”. Again, by becoming a police officer, Liang vowed to carry out orders and duties such as vertical patrols. Liang’s attorneys are also hopeful about their client's chances. Liang's partner, Officer Shaun Landau, didn't fire. However, those contexts are not well known, and this has created ample room for rampant misinformation and over simplifications regarding the ways that white supremacy and racism impact differently racialized peoples. At Pink Houses, a supervisor had requested a lighting upgrade months before Gurley’s death, but it hadn’t occurred because higher-priority repairs at Pink Houses needed to be dealt with first. Alex-Quan Pham is a Vietnamese queer, gender non-conforming femme warrior. A Black woman acknowledging that race exists and impacts all facets of her life is not racist. They don’t know what to say. Media outlets closely followed Ballinger as she identified his body, released doves with her daughters on the three-month anniversary of Gurley's death, and filed a $50 million wrongful death suit against the city. In contrast, Liang is portrayed very differently; he is always pictured in the media with his mouth closed, not speaking, and wearing a suit. The model minority myth grew in popularity in the 1950s and 60s in a strategic manner which countered growing public unrest regarding “racial disparities” in the US. Zoltan Dobrossy, the other officer present during Gurley’s February arrest, was Hoeflinger’s co-defendant in a civil rights violation case. We need your help to sustain this urgent and vital work through the election and beyond, so please make a monthly or one-time donation today! In the year 2000 Asian-Americans made up just 1.6 percent of the NYPD. “Justice of law is never fair, hold on cause my freedom with y’all is near,” he wrote in a letter dated Nov. 12, 2013, at 4:30 a.m. “My baby girl is growing up an I’m missing major parts of her life,” he wrote, promising, “I will never be away from Akaila that long ever again. “I figured they must’ve had a fight or something,” Gizz recalled. The best criminal justice reporting tagged with "Akai Gurley," curated by The Marshall Project. Many of his complaints included long-winded letters describing the conditions in minute detail, as well as questions (“why is my money being held on for so long until loaded into my account?”) and requests (“terminate spoil food being sold”). America’s existence as a settler colonial nation dependent on systemic anti-Blackness and with a history and legacy of chattel slavery has given rise to very specific and complex race dynamics which are continuously and purposefully obscured, convoluted, and manipulated in order to maintain both white supremacy and colonial occupation. Sometimes they’re glad to see you, sometimes they’re annoyed, and sometimes they’re really pissed. I didn’t make it ’cause I was ambushed by three undercover officers. Recently, Bill Maher, white left-wing liberal and host of the late night television show “Real Time With Bill Maher,” made a ridiculously racist assessment in reference to lash back from Black people about Hollywood’s overwhelming whiteness and anti-Blackness. We have been taught the racist and anti-Black notion that Black people somehow deserve the violences inflicted upon them by white people and white power structures like the institution of the police. "She told us she wanted to say she loved her daddy," Sharpton said. Rashan Lacoste, the officer who entered information on Gurley’s case into the computer, was named twice as Hoeflinger’s co-defendant in civil rights violation cases. Gurley was breathing, but unable to talk. First introduced in The Atlantic in 1982, “broken windows” posits that small civic disturbances — littering, public drinking, vandalism — create a sense of unlawfulness and pave the way for larger crimes. A 57-page document issued by the NY state District Attorney’s office outlines the case and meticulously highlights a series of reckless breaks in protocol engaged in by both Liang and his white partner, Shaun Landau. That was weird to me,” Gizz said, “I coulda been any dude. Al Sharpton brought Gurley's 2-year-old daughter to the microphone. Their court dates ended up on the same day, and Gurley waited for Gizz and Gizz’s friend David “YungStar” Walker outside. In contrast, chattel slavery of Black/African/and African-descended peoples was still legal in 1862, the Emancipation Proclamation was passed in 1863, and the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 legalized racial segregation and paved the way for the notoriously violent, genocidal and anti-Black Jim Crow era.
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