Members of the Stop Mass Incarceration
This 'town hall' featured the very forces who responsible the systematic violence and brutality that is daily life on Rikers Island.
After Rev. Al Sharpton urged the audience to keep calm about this heated issue, and hear all sides, he introduces Norman Seabrook, the fascistic head of the NYC Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA), saying mostly a bunch of nothing.
When Darcel Clark, the new Bronx County District Attorney, got up to speak, she went into a tough on crime and corruption routine, pledging she would keep criminals off the street while finding those responsible for the abuses of inmates. Then it happened.
"You're sitting right next to one of the biggest criminals responsible," interrupted Noche Diaz from the NYC Revolution Club. "[Seabrook and COBA] are the ones responsible… They are the ones that should be brought up on charges and facing punishment and repercussions over what their role has been. And that torture chamber needs to be shut down." Even though the room was stacked with correction officers and their supporters, there was applause from the audience responding to Noche's remarks.
Diaz also called out and indicted Darcel Clark for her role in Khalif Browder's death. As he was forcibly removed, Noche called out, "And you're one of the people responsible for Khalif Browder's death! Who's going to investigate you? Who's going to put you on trial?" Darcel Clark is a former judge who had presided 6 times over the court appearances of Khalif Browder. Khalif was 16 years old when he was accused of stealing a backpack, and he was held in Rikers Island for three years without a trial, because his mother could not put up the bail. Finally after spending 3 years on Rikers, which two years were spent in solitary confinement, and where he sustained beatings from corrections officers, the charges were dropped. After being put through all this torment and torture, shortly after being released, Khalif committed suicide.
Outside members of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network held photo enlargements of those killed on Rikers Island. (See News Coverage: Town Hall On Criminal Justice Reform Hosted Amid Calls to Close Rikers Island)