- Texas Police Brutality
- Police Brutality: The Effort to End It and Resulting Actions by Police
- Some Fear Pattern of Police Brutality
- Crime Surge in Giuliani's Police State
- Racist Profiling
- Racial Profiling
- History of Police Brutality
- Autopsy Proves Columbine Victim Slain by Law Enforcement


How would you feel if your son was gunned down in public, his killers exonerated, and his memory maligned by your mayor? Just ask Marie and Andre Dorismond. That is what happened to them.

March 17 will mark the first anniversary of the murder of their son Patrick, a 26-year-old Haitian-American who was shot dead by an undercover New York City police unit after spurning their request for drugs (see Haiti Progres, Vol.18, No. 1, 3/22/2000).

"Nobody knows how much I have suffered," Marie Dorismond told Haiti Progres this week. "It would have to be someone in my shoes, such as the mother of another victim. I can't sleep, I can't eat, I still expect to hear from him at any time."

Last July, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau cleared of all wrongdoing the triggerman, Detective Anthony Vasquez, and two other cops who scuffled with Dorismond and fellow security guard Kevin Kaiser on the corner of 37th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan in the seconds before shot rang out. The fight had started when Dorismond told Det. Anderson Moran to "get out of my face" after the cop asked him for drugs in a sting operation. According to Kaiser, Moran then swung at Dorismond, sparking the fatal brawl.

"The report says quite clearly that the aggressor was Mr. Dorismond," New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said after Morgenthau's report was released (see Haiti Progres, Vol.18, No. 20, 8/2/2000).

"That's a lie they made up to make believe that Patrick was responsible for his own death," Marie Dorismond said of Giuliani's and Morgenthau's cover-up. "It's not true at all. There must be a trial." Giuliani further enraged New Yorkers and the Haitian community by vilifying the victim after his death, illegally opening sealed court documents about Dorismond's juvenile record. "You can't characterize my son as a criminal after you have finished killing him," Marie Dorismond said. "They have tried all kinds of tricks to excuse themselves from blame, but I am no fool. I see how they remove things, discover things, recover things, hide things: I see their games. They can't play with me because I'm not sleeping."

Last June, Giuliani tried to arrange a private meeting to "reconcile" with the Dorismonds, a public relations stunt which backfired. The Dorismonds demanded that they be accompanied by their lawyer, Johnny Cochran, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Haitian community leaders. Giuliani backed out (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 18, No. 13, 6/14/2000).

"I don't need someone to stand before me and say 'I am sorry,'" said Marie Dorismond. "That will not bring my son back. If at the beginning, before [Giuliani] went on television [to slander Patrick], he had come to me and, even with hypocrisy, said "Madam, you are human, your son was killed, I am sorry,' I might have said 'okay'. But it's too late for that now.

Presently, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York is conducting a "review" of Morgenthau's report to see if it will file civil rights charges against the NYPD. But the time to push for federal intervention was during last November's electoral season, said Derrick Sells, a lawyer with Cochran's Manhattan office who is handling the Dorismond case. "Bush is now in office, Hillary's a senator, and Giuliani is basically a lame-duck mayor, so the urgency is gone," Sells said. "I hope they do something, but I'm not holding my breath."

Meanwhile, the city has been trying to stonewall a civil lawsuit for $200 million filed by Cochran's office last October against Giuliani, former Police Commissioner Howard Safir, and the policemen involved in the shooting. The city was supposed to give a response to the complaint within 30 days but has twice asked for deadline extensions. Then in January, lawyers for the city made a motion that Judge Allyne Ross stay the proceedings, saying that the cops had a 5th Amendment right not to incriminate themselves by responding to the complaint. "But the judge agreed with us and ordered the city to file their response" by the end of March, Sells said. "Basically the city is being very obstructionist, and I believe that the city is trying to delay defending this case until the mayor leaves office [next January]. This is an untenable position which is unfair to the memory of Patrick and to the two families he left behind, who are struggling to survive without him." Dorismond had two daughters, Destiny, 2, and Infinity, 6, by two mothers.

There is some good news on the legal front, however. On Mar. 9, Judge John Carter in Brooklyn Criminal Court dismissed all charges against WBAI radio producer Errol Maitland, who was arrested along with 27 other people during the giant demonstration which accompanied Dorismond's funeral last Mar. 25 (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 18, No. 2, 3/29/2000). Maitland was beaten, arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct while covering the confrontation which erupted between police and Dorismond's mourners. Judge Carter finally dismissed the case "in the interests of justice," a magistrate's prerogative when he concludes that charges do not fit a defendant's character.

"To dismiss in the interests of justice is a statement in itself," explained Maitland's lawyer, Michael Warren, "because it defines the person who is charged as being of good character and gives the presumption that the person should not have been charged at all." Several other "Dorismond 28" defendants had charges against them dismissed on the same grounds. "I'm glad it's finally over," said Maitland, who had to appear in court over a half-dozen times. "Your whole life begins to revolve around court dates. Of course, the district attorney was quite disappointed and very upset."

Maitland still has a serious heart condition resulting from the trauma incurred during the beating he endured when arrested. He was hospitalized and handcuffed to his bed for 48 hours. "I am just working now to get my health back," he told Haiti Progres. Next week, Warren said he plans to file a lawsuit on Maitland's behalf against the city for "false arrest, malicious prosecution, emotional stress, and other charges." A few defendants from the Mar. 25 funeral protest still have their trials pending, but most cases have been dismissed. Defendant Mark Dunston's charges were recently downgraded from felony to misdemeanor.

Meanwhile the Dorismonds, who moved to Florida last year, will return to New York this week to attend masses commemorating Patrick Dorismond's death, one at St. Francis Church at 135 West 31st Street (between 6th & 7th Aves.) in Manhattan at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, March 16, and another the same day at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 319 Maple Street (corner Nostrand Avenue) in Brooklyn at 6 p.m.. There are also several protests planned for the weekend.

"I would ask the Haitian community to remain strong with me, in spirit and with prayers, to remain vigilant but calm, without violence," Marie Dorismond said. "Stamping out police brutality begins with finding justice for the murder of Patrick Dorismond as well as Amadou Diallo, Malcolm Ferguson, and dozens of other minority and working-class youths," said Ray Laforest of the Haiti Support Network (HSN), a group which fights police brutality. "Our community rose up against Giuliani and police violence, just as it did after Abner Louima's torture. But our struggle is far from over and the old adage holds true: if there is no justice, there will be no peace."

Copyright (c) 2001 Haiti Progres, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED. Please credit Haiti Progres.

"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES newsweekly. For the complete edition with other news in French and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100, (fax) 718-434-5551 or e-mail at Also visit our website at


TRUE DEMOCRACY     SPRING 2001     Copyright © 2001 by News Sourse, Inc.