Just got out of a 40 hour jail sentence for splitting a NYC Metro turnstile fare and had to write this, especially in light of Obama’s latest fight to finally kill Habeas Corpus – the very reason for our country’s founding. It’s my 6th time being incarcerated this year. Having spent 11+ days total in jail, I’ve finally managed to digest some of the disgusting reality of America’s so called “justice” system. It almost doesn’t matter what Obama does with his freak monster NDAA Section 1030 creation. Weather he vetoes it to boost popularity or just goes for the jugular and let’s it pass, America already indefinitely detains its citizens. Not only that, an elite class of criminals are printing their own unlimited impunity passes through their private Federal Reserve (or what I like to call the Never Ending Roller Coaster for Market Stability).
It doesn’t matter if saving $1.25 is necessary for surviving this constructed economic crisis, or if the NYPD stole and destroyed everything you owned for peacefully assembling to fix said crisis… It doesn’t matter if the officer didn’t witness you sharing a fare. Or if you’ve defacto paid for infinite subway rides through local transportation taxes and inflated past fares that keep the average MTA annual salary above $100,000. You’re going to jail.
This time around I was jailed as a regular Joe. No Occupy friends to chant “WE ARE THE 99%” to pass time. I only had meditations, prayers, and words to share with other inmates. Our cell was filled beyond capacity with 40 of us crammed into a space like this.One man perched himself over the toilet stall. The floor was riddled with stale bread skins and leaking milk boxes. The stale stench of Central Bookings was covered for a short while by some kids who rolled a blunt just below the gaze of the single surveillance camera – or “eye in da sky” as we put it.
80% of us were Black, 10% of us were Hispanic, almost no white people. A quarter of us were arrested for Metro jumping or something like that. Another quarter were arrested for no reason at all, basically racial profiling (one of my friends was arrested for going to a public bathroom and having an old warrant … he’s still in jail). Another quarter were arrested for carrying personal bags of weed, which is not an arrestable offence in NYC. One man I spoke with was in the jail for over three days for idling his car on his way to work. He had an old warrant for an open container in 2006. Many inmates were clearly entrapped with undercover drug deals… Besides the remaining drug addicts, chronically homeless and one single disgusting rapist, only four teenage kids actually did commit a real crime by stealing a few laptops and some electronics.
“You Occupy guys don’t get it. The police have been beating people forever. That’s what they do. Now you finally know what they’re really like.” My friend who was stopped for going to a public bathroom told me the story of his brother – one that is infamous throughout Brooklyn. A gang of police publicly bludgeoned him 15 feet outside his house for refusing to be unlawfully searched. During the long beating they tazed him for 3 minutes straight. His face was unrecognizable by the end and the cops shot and killed two of his dogs in the process. One of the dog attacked the cops trying save his owner, the other broke through its fence to do the same.
I felt waves of almost unbearable frustration throughout the 40 hour jail stay. Most of the other men let their frustration out. We felt gutted and abused. Arbitrarily shipped from one crap hole to another. The moving just gave police an excuse to scream at us and act tough. Which was hard to stomach knowing that most half of us were ten times the men of the most crewel cops. I asked everyone in my cell if these bull shit sentences and jailing were getting worse. Yes, they said. The whole thing is getting worse. The cops find or create a weak spot on your record. Something lame like idling your car, having an open container, and then crack you open spending all their energy cleaving through your life. Milking you, your family and friends to meet a quota. It’s not about justice, or protecting anyone. It’s about money and abusing authority. And in that equation, you’re going to jail for as long as the system wants. In my case, I could face 1 year in Rikers if caught doing anything from exercising my first amendment in a manner that the NYPD doesn’t like, to going to a public bathroom at the wrong time.
That is unless you’re one of the criminal elites. You can completely skip the jail house circus of hell, probably because you made it. News flash: the latest bail out is now totaled at $29,000,000,000,000. Far from $1.25. But has a single person served time? That’s double our national annual productivity. That’s our annual education funding thirty times over. The only man to serve any time for anything related the Global Financial Crisis is Bernard Madoff. He now lives at Butner Federal Correction Complex or the “Crown Jewl” of the Federal Prison System. He defrauded his clients some $65,000,000,000. This country club “prison” that doesn’t serve its inmates cardboard sandwiches for lunch. No it provides the geriatric inmates cancer treatment programs. Perhaps us non-billionaires should up our law breaking from turnstile-sharing to destroying the global economy. Then we might actually get the medical care we’re most likely jumping turnstiles to afford.
The most troubling part of my latest NYC jail experience had nothing to do with these statistics and facts. It involved watching those four kids charged with grand larceny get completely screwed by the judge. Three of the teenage boys were sent to Rikers. One of them was asked to post $15,000 bail for a freaking misdemeanor. The last one remaining stood next to me watching his two brothers and friend being hauled off to the island prison so infamous for adolescent abuse. With tears filling his eyes he yelled “I’ll get you guys out! I promise!”. It choked me up, watching him frantically call out to his remaining family being carted off – beating the jail bars as the cops sat filing papers. His mother died that year. His brothers and friend were caught. Surviving this broken global machine that runs off the poor’s blood, by putting their hands in it’s cogs. Putting my hand to my heart as he calmed himself I and nodded to him and let him know, he is the reason I am fighting Wall Street.
Split a Metro fair to save $1.25 and spend 40 hours in jail. The other person who helps split it will be fined 100$ on top of that. It doesn’t matter if they can’t even afford books for school. Finish the 40 hours, get to be sent to Rikers for a year if you commit ANY CRIME in the eyes of the police. The following are crimes in their eyes: fighting for your country, peacefully assembling, standing in the sidewalk, going to a public bathroom, not having a state ID, or being Black. But if you rape our country of $29,000,000,000,000? The cops will beat the living fuck out of people FOR YOU.
Welcome to America – Land of the Indefinitely Detained, Home of the Criminal Elite… Occupy Forever, Occupy Everywhere until we revive our her spirit and dream… And until these sons of bitches rot in Rikers we will not find real change. Perhaps then, the NYPD might overcome the bad rap of being Banker cronies and community terrorists. Perhaps then, the NYPD can reclaim the heroism as displayed during 9-11. Perhaps then, the NYPD can look themselves in the mirror and say they are arresting criminals. Every single officer I’ve asked tells me they dream about throwing bankers into Rikers. What’s keeping the American Dream from becoming a reality?
I wish there was a way to change legislation that we dont suffer at the unlimited power of the police state, but unfortunately i doubt it will ever happen. Whats worse is that you can be jailed for a number of years for fighting with a cop no matter if they are wrong or not. Not to sound funny but around 20 years ago, Tupac Shakur witnessed two cops drunkenly assaulting a black couple for no reason with stolen weapons. Tupac shot both cops (non fatally) in an attempt to stop the attack. He was never charged with assault against a cop. The judge told the cops that they got what they deserved. In this day and age, you would be locked up for the rest of your life for doing something like that even if to stop an unwarranted attack by police. Im getting real tired of being peaceful.
WICKED STORY!!!! That definitely illustrates how bad things have become! If you so much as looked at a cop the wrong way now you could get beat, or have a gun planted on you and be framed for assaulting an officer… or practically get arrested by Tom Cruise, from some hovercraft heli-transporter, for THINKING ABOUT LOOKING AT A COP THE WRONG WAY.
Tupac lives. He’s probably in a spaceship somewhere as my girlfriend says. Probably because aliens saw what a BAMF he was and figured he deserved chilling on a free ride throughout the universe to come back when shit cooled down on this nuts planet.
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You forgot to mention the reason why you were arrested… you had an open warrant? What was that for? Why didn’t you take care of it? I know the MTA is corrupt, but stealing is stealing. Drink one less beer on a night out, and have enough for the subway ride. I don’t have a lot of money either, but I pay for my use of public services.
You’re absolutely right. I had a bench warrant for a glitch in the NYPD system for hopping the baggage carol in JFK, my first creative direct action. I’ve payed the fine but the fine keeps changing and the warrant reappears. I would love to pay for my MTA right now if I could. 1. All my money and possessions have been destroyed by the NYPD (I literally own nothing I’m wearing now save my heirloom jewelry). 2. My debit card has been deactivated twice with no explanation. The TD bank tellers cannot explain why or even how it’s happening (they just keep printing more debit cards and that night I had no working debit card). 3. Even if I had money, there was no teller in the station. 4. I was rushing to a devotional 5. I don’t believe that justifies being incarcerated for 40 hours, to receive a $100 on top of that… and being threatened 1 year maximum sentence to Rikers if I do anything deemed arrestable by NYPD standards. With NDAA 1031 I can’t even imagine how this kind of screwed up system will work… honestly as I’ve experienced it, had I not had Occupy family to assist me, I would be just like the growing homeless population in our country. I appreciate the honest questions, but it’s a little closed to the point of the article in pointing out how few true crimes are filling our system and the fact that ZERO actual criminals of our day are behind bars.