communities, Eyewitness News, Flushing, going viral, Jacques Leandre, police beating, police brutality, press conference, Queens, responsibility, Robert Jackson, stop and frisk, The Huffington Post, viral video, WorldStarHipHop, YouthBuild
On Tuesday, February 12th, Robert Jackson’s attorney, Jacques Leandre, gave a press conference about what happened to Robert. I had written about the incident the day it happened; I had posted the video link on this blog, then hid the post because I was asked to do so. I’ve been writing about the aftermath of the incident, cryptically, ever since, because I wasn’t free to speak about what happened to Robert.
After the press conference, stories about the incident were broadcast on local news in NYC— it even led the 6PM broadcast on WABC Channel 7 Eyewitness News. It made the NY Post and the Daily News. It made The Huffington Post, a national story. There is no longer a need for me to be cryptic about what happened to Robert, as long as I am speaking only for myself (which I have always been), so I unhid my original posts.
Robert’s hearing (for his arrest the day he was beaten) is this Wednesday at the Criminal Court on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. His attorney is going to ask that the charges be dropped. Speaking for myself, I hope Mr. Leandre succeeds. I know Robert well; I tended his wounds, changed his bandages, listened to him talk about what happened to him.
Robert didn’t deserve what happened; no one does. When police abuse their power by grinding the face of a subdued suspect into the pavement, they weaken their standing with people like me, who would normally defend their actions. There was no reason for them to do what they did, to gang up on him, no reason for the fourth cop in the group who, at the 30 second mark on the video, jabs Robert’s midsection with a walkie-talkie and then kicks him. Robert is already subdued by 3 officers, lying on the ground, his arms twisted up behind him. At 43 seconds, the Youth Officer and his female partner enter the scene; not twenty minutes later, the Youth Officer would tell me to my face that he had no idea what happened, because he hadn’t seen anything, because he hadn’t been there. The precinct commander– the white-shirted officer who enters the video at the left at 46 seconds in– would make light of the video “going viral” at the Community Council the night after the press conference. I was there; I heard him.
I am a white, middle-aged, middle class woman who has lived in this same police precinct for 35 years. I never knew things like this happened here; I thought they happened in high-crime districts. The young people I work with who live in the projects tell me this happens all the time. I read the New York Times; I know what the Stop-and-Frisk issues are in New York City. What happened to Robert surpasses Stop-and-Frisk.
It should never have happened.
I hope justice is done on Wednesday. That’s the least that should happen, given that the only thing Robert was really guilty of on January 8th was walking up Northern Boulevard conversing with two friends on a lunch break, while black.
If you would like to express support for Robert Jackson, his attorney has set up a Facebook page. Please visit, and like the page, and share it.
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