Background on Charges

Drop The Unjust Charges on Clark & Miles!
Shut Down Rikers Island

On October 23, 2015, as part of #RiseUpOctober, 100 protesters marched to the entrance of Rikers Island, holding portraits of people who had died at Rikers.  They spoke out, sang and danced energetically, and some sat down chanting "Shut It DOWN!" The NYPD had put up barricades across the road leading to Rikers Island prison.  For more than an hour access was blocked. 

Rikers Island is compared to the prison the United States ran in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, the site of scandalous prisoner abuse. This is no exaggeration. Decades of deaths in custody at the hands of guards, brutal and widespread sexual violence, solitary confinement for years, denial of medical care, and abuse of children are routine—a part of the genocide of mass incarceration. Of those imprisoned at Rikers on an average day, some 90 percent are Black or Latino.

Despite years of lawsuits settled against the city, as well as commissions, panels and with even some in the power structure saying Rikers cannot be fixed and should be shut down, thousands disappear into the hell of this prison, making people feel powerless. The righteous demand “Shut Down Rikers” has had significant support. But up until October, no organized group had put out a call to actually stop the machinery delivering prisoners there with nonviolent civil disobedience. 

October 23 was strong and beautiful. One hundred marched to the entrance of Rikers, including some of those family members; co-initiator of Rise Up October, Carl Dix; students from Columbia and New York Universities; war resisters, including the “Raging Grannies;” revolutionaries and the Revolution Club; religious leaders; and a couple who drove from Michigan to join the protest.

Prisoners heard about the protest and cheered it, according to reports from relatives. Finally, someone was doing something tangible in response to their outcries. (See photos/video at A Shout-out to the Courageous Fighters Who Put Their Bodies on the Line to Shut Down Rikers Island Prison.”)

The authorities responded with a show of force. NYPD vehicles massed for arrests. Police dogs -- the 4 legged kind -- increased the tension. “I thought they stopped deploying dogs against people of color in like 1960?” tweeted a videographer.  Sixteen people were arrested, and others forced away from the barricades. But no one left unmoved by the righteousness of the action and the passion of the protest, which was based on the reality of what Rikers means for the people. Confronting the monstrous brutality of Rikers strengthened people’s determination to really STOP it—and the rest of the system’s genocidal program.

Fourteen protesters were released hours later, charged with disorderly conduct. Charges were dismissed against four of them, and 10 were given a 24-hour “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal,” meaning the charges were dismissed—a very good development.

But Clark Kissinger & Miles Solay have been singled out for no other apparent reason.  They face charges serious enough to get a one-year sentence on Rikers Island for nonviolent political protest.  We can’t allow this happen! Sign this message the Queens District Attorney calling on charges to be dropped.

In NYC Tuesday July 12  9:00 am in court. Support Clark Kissinger, manager of Revolution Books, and Miles Solay of the rock band Outernational,  Queens Criminal Court, 125-01 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens Check the court docket for "Clark Kissinger." Facebook Event 

More info from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network  646 709 1961

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