Friday, August 08, 2014



I should probably change this to prison and cops fridays or something.

This is the story of Denise Steward, a 48 year old black women who was treated by cops, well, in the general fashion cops treat black people.  In this situation, the cops said they were investigating the allegations against of child abuse or such.  So they yanked her  out of her Brownsville home  on July 13 and left her to stand topless in the hallway. Stewart, along with her 20-year-old daughter Diamond Stewart, was charged with assault, acting in a manner injurious to a child, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration.The 12 year old who was allegedly assaulted was taken into police custody, but has been returned to her mother’s care.

Press TV reporting on the incident:

Denise Stewart, who had just taken a shower and was wearing only a towel, was forced out of her apartment by 12 police officers, Press TV's correspondent Susan Modaress reports from New York.

The officers kept the 48-year-old mother half-naked in the hallway until she passed out.

Stewart was in her apartment on July 13 when she heard police pounding on her door and demanding entry.

When she declined to let them in, the police dragged the mother of four out of her apartment into the hallway and forced her against the wall.  

Stewart, who suffers from asthma, was pinned to the wall for over two minutes and was yelling, "oxygen…. get my oxygen." Her son is also heard in the chaotic video saying, "her asthma….her asthma". Stewart fainted and fell to the floor.

“What we see here on streets of New York is where people of color, women and children, are dehumanized, dragged out of their homes, have their homes broken into, or killed in their homes and treated as less than human under the guise of ‘well, we are doing it to prevent crimes and protect the community,’” human rights activist Greg Butterfield told Press TV.

Police said they were following up on a 911 call of a domestic argument in the building but had no specific apartment number. They reported that they heard a commotion coming from Stewart’s apartment and wanted to investigate.

By the way during the "scuffle" neighbors shouted at police that Steward had serious breathing problems.  The cops didn't give it no never mind.

Stewart’s lawyer Amy Rameau released the following statement:

Ms. Stewart is a respected member of her community and she committed absolutely no crime.  These officers conducted themselves in a deplorable manner.  They pepper sprayed her four year old grandson and a male officer punched her twelve year old daughter, the same twelve year old they claim they were there to protect.

What these officers did exemplifies not only a disrespect for women in general but a disrespect for women of color in particular because of a general disrespect for communities of color.   The recent murder of Mr. Eric Garner is but an example of the same disrespect for communities of color.  There has to be some remedy for this kind of police misconduct.  These officers are discriminating against communities of color and they are doing it under color of law

I don't claim to know anything about whether the twelve year old was abused or not.  I do know the mom was.  I do know the cops should be held responsible.  I do know nothing much will happen to them.

Hell, cops strangle black folks to death on the street in NYC and no one files a murder charge against them.  So, I guess this ain't no big deal...not in America...just business as usual...

The following is from Prison Culture.

‘Mistaken Identity,’ The Violent Un-Gendering of Black Women, and the NYPD

Like many others, I saw the video of Denise Stewart’s assault by NYPD cops.

Perhaps unlike others though, I was most interested in the response of those watching rather than in the violence of the cops. I expect police officers to abuse black people so that’s not shocking anymore.
In the first few seconds of the video, a man is heard repeating: “Are you serious? That’s a woman. That’s a female. Where the female cops? That’s a female. That’s a female.” Then someone else (presumably a cop) says: “Shut it up! This has nothing to do with you.”
Clearly, the speaker assumes that a woman should be treated less harshly than Denise Stewart. Yet what kind of treatment at the hands of law enforcement is appropriate for a ‘female’ if she’s black? Black women have never had the benefit of protection by and from the state. As importantly, black women were not and haven’t been spared from brutal treatment. What historian Sarah Haley (2013) has termed “the absence of a normative gendered subject position” for black women explains (in part) how the NYPD can violently drag Denise Stewart out of her apartment half naked and manhandle her. She is ungendered to the cops and as a black person she is unhuman to them.
Ms. Stewart’s lawyer claims that the police knocked on the wrong door that night. But I would contend that under the current regime of racist policing across the country, there is no such thing as ‘mistaken identity’ for black people. We are all suspect and susceptible to police violence at any time, anywhere, for being black. This fact is undeniable. The people in blue are voracious and they crave black bodies. They are insatiable and rapacious. Let’s do away with euphemisms and imprecise language: U.S policing is and has always been inherently anti-black.
The speaker on the video’s question “Where the female cops?” belies how the cops are in our heads. We don’t question their necessity even as they are brutalizing us in the hallways of our apartments. The question should always be “Why are you here?” We must train ourselves to ask it. More black police officers, more women cops will not alter the fact that policing is oppressive.
One reason that the police were in Denise Stewart’s building is that someone called the cops to report a disturbance in another apartment. We have to begin to divest ourselves of the police and start finding ways not to call them. This will not end oppressive policing but it is an important step towards harm reduction. Below is the result of one simple call to the police:
“Denise Stewart was charged with assaulting a police officer, and she and her 20-year-old daughter Diamond Stewart were charged with resisting arrest, criminal possession of a weapon, and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
Stewart’s 24-year-old son Kirkland Stewart was also charged with resisting arrest, and her 12-year-old daughter was charged with assaulting a police officer, criminal mischief, and criminal possession of a weapon.”
The family also claims that a 4 year old child was pepper-sprayed during the incident. There will be no counseling for the members of the Stewart family who have been traumatized by the NYPD. Instead, there will be lawyer fees, countless visits to court, lost wages, nightmares, and zero justice. Most people (except those directly impacted) will or already have forgotten this incident. As I type this, the NYPD is probably terrorizing another black woman as the ghost of Eleanor Bumpurs (who Audre invited us to remember) hovers overhead.
“and I am going to keep writing it down
how they carried her body out of the house
dress torn up around her waist
past tenants and the neighborhood children
a mountain of Black Woman”
Because Audre taught me well, I am going to write down how the NYPD dragged Denise Stewart out of her apartment at almost midnight in a towel that quickly fell off leaving her in her underwear half naked pressed against a wall gasping for breath calling out for oxygen because she suffered from asthma until she crumpled to the floor having fainted but 12 cops didn’t know that and they simply walked around her to go harass and harm her children and her grandchildren….
I’m going to keep writing it down…

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