The Winter issue of NYC News is here!
NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD – NYC CHAPTER ATTORNEYS DEMAND RESTRAINT, JUSTIFICATION IN NYPD USE OF “LRAD” SOUND CANNON
Elena Cohen, Esq.
National Lawyers Guild – NYC Chapter (“NLG-NYC”) President
Gideon Oliver, Esq.
NLG-NYC President Emeritus
Mark Taylor, Esq.
Attorneys associated with the New York City Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (http://www.nlgnyc.org) representing several people injured late last week when NYPD officers deployed a Long Range Acoustic Device (“LRAD”) in Midtown Manhattan delivered a letter to New York Police Commissioner William Bratton today demanding that the NYPD refrain from using the LRAD for crowd control purposes without first conducting thorough, independent testing, and developing appropriate written and public guidelines for training, use, reporting, and oversight requirements regarding the LRAD.
Their clients were participating in, observing, or documenting anti-police brutality protests in the wake of the Staten Island grand jury’s failure to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection with the death of Eric Garner when officers from the Department’s Disorder Control Unit (“DCU”) deployed the LRAD.
According to the DCU, the LRAD can be used for communication or as an “area denial” tool, emitting a piercing sound ranging from a maximum of between 136 to 162 decibels, depending on the model. Under National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health guidelines, exposures to sounds at levels greater than 85 decibels may cause hearing loss. According to DCU documents themselves, in the “dangerous range (above 120 decibels), the device can cause damage to someone’s hearing and may be painful.”
The NYPD has had LRADs since 2004. A 2011 Freedom of Information Law request has shown that as of September 2012 the NYPD had not implemented any training standards or guidelines for use of the LRAD.
Attorneys Gideon Oliver, Elena L. Cohen, and Mark C. Taylor contend that officers utilized the LRAD unconstitutionally and dangerously, without having first conducted appropriate studies, created appropriate policies and oversight mechanisms relating to safety and appropriate use of force, and trained officers in them.
Copies of the letter and other related documents are available upon request.
National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter (NLG-NYC) Condemns Failure to Indict NYPD Officer for Murder of Eric Garner
For Immediate Release
December 3, 2014 – New York – The National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter (NLG-NYC) condemns the failure of a New York grand jury to indict NYPD officer Danny Pantaleo for the murder of Staten Island father and husband Eric Garner. Though Officer Pantaleo was caught on tape using a chokehold on Mr. Garner -a dangerous technique that the NYPD banned in 1993 after numerous people were killed in police custody- the grand jury found that there was no probable cause to charge Pantaleo.
“As a former NYS Supreme Court Judge it is disheartening to know that in our system of justice a man can be strangled in the street and there are no consequences to the perpetrators,” said retired New York judge and NLG-NYC board member Emily Jane Goodman.
The police accosted Mr. Garner because they claimed that he was selling loose cigarettes. Mr. Garner’s death is yet another tragedy that evidences the failure of the neoconservative “broken windows” theory. New York Police Commissioner William Bratton embraces that theory, though it has only resulted in the over-policing of Black and Latino communities, and the incarceration of people in these communities for relatively minor infractions. The Chapter expresses its deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Garner.
The killing of Mr. Garner is no anomaly. The NYPD and police departments around the country routinely terrorize communities of color. The announcement by the grand jury in this case comes only a week after the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case, which sparked protests around the country and around the world. This passionate response is not merely in response to one man murdered, but to a legacy of extrajudicial killing of Black men and women in the United States. In 2012 the advocacy group Malcolm X Grassroots Movement published a report titled Every 28 Hours which documents the almost daily extrajudicial killing of Black people by police, security guards and vigilantes in the United States.
The NLG-NYC calls on the Department of Justice to bring charges against Officer Pantaleo. Further, the NLG-NYC demands that the NYPD respect the rights of people to protest.
The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, is the oldest and largest public interest/human rights bar organization in the United States.