Cops Use of Police Dog

 

I videotaped the funeral of Nathaniel Cobb (Newburgh) who had a dog set on him by police then handcuffed, beaten, tazered and put in a police garage with temperatures of over 100. He died later in the hospital. Every Knee-grow leader that spoke at the funeral  told the youth it was not the time to be political.
 
2 Months before Lillie Howard’s grand son was shot in the head and killed by police. Lillie ran for Mayor and won the Democratic primary. Democrats outnumber RepubliKKKans 3-1. Lillie lost. Voting machines were taken out of the polling places before the voting was over.Machines failed. Mike Sussman is challenging the election. In black districts our folk were challenged and turned away. The RepubliKKKan mayor (Valentine) won by a narrow margin. The city council are all democrats. Not one of the Democratic state or county officials supported Lilly including Maurice Hinchey(Congressman).
 
2 months ago I went to the Newburgh Jail with Don Debar from WBAI to ask about a young man that was found hanged in his cell. All cells were supposed to be monitored by cameras. We got no answer and were told to leave and contact a lieutenant in charge of media. 
 
In Ossining we had similar police dog incidents and  a hanging in cell that was supposed to have cameras.
Lillie has called for a Town Hall meeting when she was on Kiss 98.7fm and they agreed but never called her back and we have been trying to contact Mtume who was the host.
 
Newburgh is going thru the gentrification process and there are plans to move the MLK statue and street named after him from the river front that once was inhabited by our folk.  Sundiata Sadiq, Ossining.
 
 
Greetings from New York.
 
I am a producer for Pacifica Radio station WBAI in NYC and a resident of the Hudson Valley. Among other things, I cover Hudson Valley news and events for the morning drive-time program Wakeup Call. In the process of doing so, I have become familiar with the political landscape of the City of Newburgh, NY, which is a majority ‘minority’ community of approximately 27,000 people in Orange County, NY (see some demographic information here http://archive.recordonline.com/news/special_reports/newburgh/ ).
 
There has been a history of racist violence by police, sanctioned by the political establishment, in the city. The political scene has been compared to that of Mississippi of the early 1960s by a number of respected journalists, including the former editor of the local daily Times Herald-Record (see, e.g., http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070115/NEWS/70115667/-1/NEWS271991 for article entitled “NEWBURGH ELECTION JUST LIKE MISSISSIPPI 1965” and http://www.newburghrevealed.org/historyworkfare.htm for, among other things, a model program which imposed draconian conditions on the recipients of public assistance.”
 
More recently, there has been a spate of police killings and suspicious deaths in police custody involving the Newburgh police department (see, e.g., http://www.regionalroundup.org ) which have gone completely unchecked. Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney termed these killings ‘murder’ in a recent public discussion at nearby SUNY New Paltz. Ms McKinney also detailed the theft of the last past mayoral election from Democratic candidate Lillie Howard at this meeting.
 
Today, there is an article in the Times Herald-Record detailing an aggressive push by Curtis Sliwa to bring the Guardian Angels to Newburgh (see http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080210/NEWS/802100325 ). Sliwa’s group has already found acceptance in the nearby City of Middletown, as specified therein.
 
Yesterday, the Times Herald-Record detailed another incident of police brutality which took place last week (see below – for some reason, they pulled this story after running it on their front page!).
 
There is much more, but I don’t want to turn this email into a novella. It should be clear what is happening here, a mere 1 hour ride from NYC.
 
I spoke with Ms Howard this morning and she would like to discuss the present situation with you as soon as possible. She is attempting to force a Federal and state investigation of the city police and Orange County District Attorney’s office. She can be reached at 845 563-0284 or via [email protected]
 
DDeBar
87 Ferris Place
Ossining, NY 10562
914 945-0815
[email protected]
 
Visit the Regional Roundup website
Tri-state community news and information at www.regionalroundup.org
Listen to WBAI – 99.5 FM in New York City
Peace and Justice Radio
On the Web at www.wbai.org
 
 

CITY OF NEWBURGH — City police drove to 14 City Terrace one afternoon last week after a woman warned a 911 dispatcher that someone was going to die.

Officers found no weapons, and no one was fighting when they pulled up. That quickly changed. Stories of what happened next vary here and there, but police and witnesses agreed on several details:

The first is that City of Newburgh police Officers Robert Vasta and Andres Arestin questioned a group of young men surrounding a maroon car until 23-year-old Tiffany Lewis came outside, pointed at one of the young men and told the cops he was the guy. Vasta and Arestin told her to get back.

That’s about the time 19-year-old Odessa Davis, a friend of the young men, showed up. Davis and Lewis exchanged words, and the fighting began.

The two women walked up the street throwing punches. When they kept at it, Vasta released a police dog. The dog seized Lewis by her right arm and tore her sweatshirt and skin. Officers charged both women with disorderly conduct. Lewis is also charged with resisting arrest.

The debate focuses on who was wrong and how much force two male officers needed to stop two women fighting.

A week later, more than 20 stitches bound Lewis’s bruised skin together. She was the one who called police that day. City Terrace is a hangout for one of Newburgh’s younger gangs, the Ashy Bandits, and Lewis had argued with one of them that day. A couple of Ashies tried to force their way into an apartment where Lewis’ cousin, Robyn Smith, lived, she said.

“I called the police for help,” Lewis said.

Junior Forde, 46, of Beacon had gone around the corner before the fighting began. When he returned, he said, he saw the women begin to fight. He says he never heard officers tell the women to stop.

“They just wanted to let this dog out and treat them like animals,” Forde said.

In his report, Vasta wrote Lewis started the fight and he warned her and Davis to stop three times before unleashing the dog. Of five witnesses interviewed, one remembered hearing Vasta warn the women, but he said it was only once and low.

“I wouldn’t have heard them if I was fighting,” said the man, who identified himself as Ted.

Lewis wonders why Vasta didn’t try to separate them or mace them.

“I shouldn’t have been fighting in front of the police, but you have to turn the dog on me?” Lewis said.

Similar questions have been asked of Vasta before. He’s named in a federal lawsuit alleging police brutality stemming from an incident in March 2005. More recently, a grand jury decided last month there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him in the death of Nathaniel Cobbs, 25, who was arrested high on PCP last summer and later died at the Newburgh campus of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.

As for last week’s incident, Lt. Charles Broe said Wednesday there could be several ways to interpret it. That block of City Terrace is notoriously anti-cop, he said, and the officers may not have wanted to turn their backs on the young men around the maroon car, especially if a crowd was forming. Asked to elaborate yesterday, Broe declined to say more except, “We’re definitely reviewing it.”

[email protected]

Subject: Newburgh, NY
Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2008 1:15:23 PM
Cc: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
From: Don DeBar <[email protected]>
—– Forwarded Message —-

 

Posted in Criminal Justice