Supporters Demand Drop the Charge on Jamel Mims
NYPD Acting as Prosecutor in “Professional Protester” Case May 11
NYC: Jamel Mims Not Convicted of a Crime
May 11 -- Thanks to all who came to court yesterday with Jamel Mims, including supporters from Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the NYC Revolution Club.
His trial was stopped after the prosecution phase, without a conviction or criminal record, but with Jamel having to do two days picking up litter in the park.
He was tried before a judge on the charge of "climbing a statue"
at Times Square last October 24 at the end of the RiseUpOctober protest. It's a Parks Department statute for which Jamel got a summons, but has the consequences of an unclassified B misdemeanor; a possible $1000 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Five others arrested with Jamel were given ACD's (adjournment contemplating dismissal), but the NYPD had demanded Jamel state that there was probable
cause for him have been ticketed, if he accepted an ACD. Jamel refused that condition in the pretrial phase, and demanded a trial, as is his right.
At several pre-trial appearances, the NYPD was allowed to act as prosecutor.
The Daily News reported in January, “The NYPD has taken on a prosecutorial role in a new effort to fend off lawsuits — a move civil rights advocates consider a conflict of interest and an attempt to chill political protest. NYPD brass told the
Daily News too many cases involving people they consider professional protesters are dismissed in summons court, paving the way for a civil lawsuit and settlement with the city.”
Samuel Cohen, a civil rights attorney who represented Jamel pro-bono, argued to the judge that the NYPD should have no role in trying the case, and at trial, the judge told NYPD legal that they could not ask questions of their only witness, the cop who arrested Jamel. Instead, the judge -- a former prosecutor in Nassau County -- questioned the cop during the trial, and helped him shape his recollection that Jamel had been standing on the "statue."
There was no jury in this case, a judge who stated that anyone holding a bullhorn at a protest had to be prepared for arrest, and a row of NYPD sitting in the front row.
Jamel knew that the risk of being convicted was a criminal record, and a possibly harsh sentence, including some time at Rikers Island.
After hearing Jamel's attorney cross examine the arresting cop, and watching video the NYPD brought as evidence, the judge re-offered an ACD with two days "community service" to Jamel, provided he verbally acknowledge that the NYPD had "probable cause" to write a ticket. So the case ended, without the NYPD having won a conviction.
This victory does not mean justice was served...four appearances, days off work for Jamel and other defendants... Many hours of work for Mr. Cohen in an effort to defend the right to protest... And, still, no police in jail for killing anyone in NYC, which was the point of protesting police terror.