HAT TIP: Black Electorate, By Amadi Ajamu, NY INDY MEDIA
A human rights attorney known for handling cases of police brutality became a victim of police abuse last Thursday evening in Brooklyn. Attorney Michael Tarif Warren and his wife Evelyn, who is also an attorney, were driving along Vanderbilt Ave around 6:00 pm, when they witnessed NYPD officers “kicking and stomping” a handcuffed young black man. The Warrens pulled over to help.
Warren, a high profile attorney who has been practicing law for 28 years, said “We saw a young kid being chased by a horde of policemen across a McDonald’s parking lot. They tackled him and immediately put handcuffs on him. Then Sergeant Talvy, who appeared to be in charge, began kicking him in the head and ribs, and stomping him on the neck.” The other police officers followed suit. “They literally gave this kid a beating which was unconscionable.”
“Not only as people of conscience and moral decency, but as lawyers, we said this is outrageous.” They arrived and stood “more than ten feet away,” he said. Mr. Warren told Sergeant Talvy they were lawyers, and told him to stop and just take the young man to the precinct. In response he said, “Talvy shouted, I don’t give a f**k who you are, get the f**k back in your car!”
They returned to their car, and Mr. Warren began to write down the license plate numbers of the police vehicles as they watched them put the bleeding young man in a car. “Then Talvy comes to my car and viciously attacks me, repeatedly punching me through the window. Shouting, ‘Get out of the car!’ He dragged me out of the car, ripping my shirt and pants. My wife, very upset, asked him why are you doing this? He then punched her in the face.” Both were arrested and taken to the 77th precinct charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.
Michael Tarif Warren, has handled many police misconduct cases in the black community, including the shocking police murder of graffiti artist Michael Stewart, and Yvonne Smallwood, who was beaten to death by police in the Bronx. He also handled the case exonerating the five young black teenagers falsely convicted of raping the white bank executive “Central Park Jogger.”
Quickly, word of the Warrens arrest spread, and several hundred people descended on the 77th Precinct demanding his release. Organizations including the December 12th Movement, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, Malcolm X Grassroots, International Action Center, CEMOTAP, the Muslim community, the Haitian community and many others were present and several media outlets were on hand.
NYC Councilman Charles Barron, Attorneys Roger Wareham, Reginald Haley, and Marisa Benton began negotiating their release with Brooklyn’s top brass, including Community Affairs Chief Douglas Zeigler, Brooklyn Borough Commander Chief Gerald Nelson, and 77th Precinct Executive Officer Michael Marino. At approximately 10:30 PM Evelyn Warren was released with a DAT (desk appearance ticket), Michael Warren was released with a DAT at 11:30 PM.
Councilman Barron and other community activists are demanding Talvy be fired and that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hines “drop the charges (against the Warrens) and charge the police.”
Barron further criticized recent NYPD policy of making cops who kill or assault people take Breathalyzer tests for alcohol. “We need to stop the killing. Police who murder and assault us must be charge with crimes and put in jail. That is the only deterrent.”
Evelyn Warren added, “We are professionals, if they do this to us in broad daylight on a crowded street, what do they do in the dark when no one is around? That’s what I’m concerned about. Officer Talvy must go and Police Commissioner Kelly must go, because his policy allows this behavior to continue.”
If charges against them are not dropped, Michael and Evelyn Warren vow to take the case to trial and use it as a community mobilizing and educating tool to fight police brutality.