April 20, 2007
Contact: Justin Lumumba 347-267-8259
Dr. Suzanne Ross 917-584-2135
COUNCILMAN CHARLES BARRON, 100 BLACKS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, ATTORNEY MICHAEL WARREN, HIP HOP ARTISTS/COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS SPEAK OUT AGAINST POLICE INTIMIDATION OF CLUB WHICH WAS TO HOST A CONCERT IN SUPPORT OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL
On Monday, April 23rd, a press conference will be held on the steps of City Hall at 12 Noon. Participants are: City Councilman Charles Barron; 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care; Attorney Michael Warren; as well Rap Artists/Community Activists A-Alikes, Pat-Riot, and DCQ; and Dr. Suzanne Ross and Justin Lumumba of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition.
This conference has been scheduled in response to the outrageous and illegal police tactics aimed at silencing support for internationally renowned journalist and writer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's Death Row for almost a quarter of a century. The hip hop concert, organized by young supporters of Abu-Jamal, was scheduled to take place on Sunday April 15th at the Remote Lounge, a club on the Bowery between 2nd and 3rd Streets. For a week prior to the scheduled concert, the police pressured the club owner to cancel the event, but the owner stood firm. Then, two nights before the scheduled event, the police barged in on the club, issued 16 citations, involving thousands of dollars in fines, and escalated the threats against the owner. Fearing for his family and himself, the owner at this point cancelled the event. The event was promptly moved to another site and was held with great enthusiasm, but with anger at the police action.
The police blog, NYPD Rant, documents what the police had planned, "The Remote Lounge should be hammered from now until that scum mumia's eyeball are bulging out of his f'ing head..(sic). . . the 9th pct covers it. it's up by 2nd and Bowery the 6th and 5th will get sucked in by boundries. I would hope leaders will put the whole friggin task force in play. Checkpoints on every single roadway (sic) fvck them all they don't comply or want to fight show them you are the boss, a medical treatment, a couple hours in Bellevue then back … " Because the event could not be held at the Remote Lounge, as originally planned, but was moved to a different site, some of the police plans were circumvented. But it is very dangerous when the police, who claim the title of "law enforcement", aim to break the law and attack young people of color simply for exercising their rights to free speech and free assembly as well as the right to dissent.
The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal will be heard on May 17th, 2007 before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Mumia has his first real chance of winning a new trial in that court. The Fraternal Order of Police, the prosecution, and their allies are doing everything possible to undermine that possibility. It is in that context that the attack on the Remote Lounge must be responded to seriously, as it mirrors a long history of similar actions in Philadelphia. In that city, a scheduled event highlighting famed actor Danny Glover for April 24th at the Clef Club, was just moved because of similar police tactics.