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?