My intention was to swim at my break, go home after work, heat up the last of the wonderful soup/stew I made on Sunday, sit and eat dinner with Frank and watch the next episode of Roots:The Next Generation that we got from Netflix. Then, after dinner, I was going to sit at my home computer and write a long, detailed blogpost celebrating the first anniversary of my joining the Y (which was actually yesterday, but I was too sleepy to write it last night).

Instead, I am in my office at the Y. It is 8:46PM. I have been here since 8AM. I have also been to Queens General Hospital and the 109th Precinct today. I am here at my computer waiting until 9PM so I can call Night Arraignments at the Queens Criminal Courthouse.

One of my students was beaten and arrested today. He was handcuffed, bleeding, beaten so badly he could barely stand up. The arresting officers had to hold him up to get him into the back of the police car. He was beaten by two police officers in front of witnesses, down the street from the Y. There is a big patch of blood on the sidewalk outside where this happened.

We are here in the office waiting to see if his arraignment will take place tonight because we want to go to the courthouse to show our support. Things go better for people who have been arrested if they have family and friends waiting for them to be released.

It took us more than an hour to find out what hospital he had been taken to. When we got to the hospital, we found out that he had been released and that the cops had taken him somewhere; we weren’t sure where. The hospital would not give us information on the injuries he sustained. We called the precinct, who wouldn’t give us any information over the phone about where he was; we went down to the precinct– director, counselor, office manager, and five students– and they wouldn’t give us any information because “his mother had been called.”

So here we sit, waiting for 9PM, to see if a young man who has been beaten by police without cause and arrested will have to spend a night in jail. He is a polite, sweet, unassuming, church-going young man with a loving, involved family and a devoted girlfriend. He works hard in school and is looking forward to starting construction training on our worksite. He already has some experience; he does little jobs here and there, and gives the money he earns to his mother for the family. He weighs maybe 140 lbs. soaking wet. He says “Good morning, Miss Claudia” when he pops his head into my office and asks if he can please have a granola bar (I keep a drawer full of them for my kids).

This was not the day I planned. It wasn’t the day my students planned, either.
Say a prayer, please, that my student will be okay. It’s time to call Night Arraignments.


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