TRUE DEMOCRACY SPRING 2001 TABLE OF CONTENTS
- PATRICK DORISMOND and ERROL MAITLAND
- 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
ONE YEAR LATER:
STILL NO JUSTICE FOR PATRICK DORISMOND
BUT CASE AGAINST ERROL MAITLAND DISMISSED
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,
"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
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
"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
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