- Posted August 14, 2013 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Everyday racism: Your stories
The process continues
I am a sixty-six year old Black male crime victim. Stephen Baldwin is a White male actor. My drivers license is valid. Mr. Baldwin's drivers license is invalid. We are Defendants in criminal proceedings charged with the serious offense - AGGRAVATED UNLICENSED OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLE.
Welcome to our worlds.
It was during the night on March 01, 2006. I was sitting in my parked vehicle in Queens County, New York, and I was targeted by a group of White and Asian males.
There were three of them. I was alone. They were motivated by racial animus.
A White member of the group approached me threatening and shouting, "GET OUT, GET OUT, YOU KNOW WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. IT'S BLACK OR WHITE."
He was joined by the others. I was manhandled, restrained, and they threw me in the back of their vehicle.
I passed out.
I regained consciousness when I arrived at the 111 Precinct. The jail cell's window was open but I was not cold. The arresting officer asked if I wanted the window closed. I answered no. He asked if I was ever arrested before. I answered no again. The trembling was not from the weather. I was in shock.
The perpetrators were NYPD officer Park, (badge number 27463) who is Asian, his White partner and John Doe another White male officer.
They arrested me for OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLE WITHOUT SEAT BELT. Officer Park was designated as the arresting officer, similar to the arrest of the "Harlem Black Doll" whistle blower. Attention from the obvious racism was diverted.
They never charged me with the offense, and would never have to appear in Court and would never have to face me.
I was mugged, printed, transported to central booking, processed and released.
On August 23, 2012, Mr. Baldwin was arrested for the serious offense - AGGRAVATED UNLICENSED OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLE, after making an illegal U-turn on West 125th Street in Harlem and a NYPD computer check revealed that his driver's license was suspended. Mr. Baldwin was arrested supported by probable cause to hold. He was transported to the 28th precinct, issued a desk-appearance ticket, and released.
My arrest was without probable cause, and in order to make it legal they fabricated the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, Docket number 2006QN011207, containing statements they knew to be false about the events leading up to the arrest. Specifically that officer Park personally observed me operating my vehicle without a seat belt, even though I was sitting in my parked vehicle when confronted by officer John Doe, I was parked in the same spot when officer Park and his partner arrived on the scene several minutes after the confrontation, and I was still parked in the same spot when officer Park's White partner approached me threatening and shouting, "GET OUT, GET OUT. YOU KNOW WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. IT'S BLACK OR WHITE.
They charged me with; AGGRAVATED UNLICENSED OPERATOR MOTOR VEHICLE; OPERATING MV WITH SUSPENDED REGISTRATION; and OPERATING MOTOR VEHICLE WITHOUT INSURANCE. The charges were supported by inaccurate information generated by the New York Police Department computer system.
A review of the Department of Motor Vehicles record clearly shows, my vehicle was insured, and the summons #4230255433 was answered, contrary to the suspension orders, #CO-510270000, ("NO INSURANCE") and #J255433, (FLD TO ANSWER) generated by the Police Department computer.
The obvious "discrepancies" does not constitute my violation of any Law. I pleaded not guilty. Adequate research confirmed the discrepancies and my innocence. However I was still prosecuted.
Every prosecution, like every arrest, “is a public act that may seriously interfere with the Defendant's liberty, whether he is free on bail or not, and that may disrupt his employment, drain his financial resources, curtail his associations, subject him to public obloquy, and create anxiety in him, his family and his friends.” United States v. Marion, 404 U.S.307, 320 (1971).
On May 03 2007, four hundred and twenty eight days (428) after my arrest and numerous adjournments, the charges were dismissed in absentia. The Court record is sealed. I have an arrest and criminal record, and the perpetrators have been absolved.
On October 01, 2012, thirty nine days (39) after Mr. Baldwin's arrest, the Manhattan District Attorney dropped the AGGRAVATED UNLICENSED OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLE charge against him, he pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle without a license, paid a $75 fine, and there's no criminal record.
Why not me...?
Had the confrontation escalated causing my death, there were no witnesses. I would have been another Black male suspect with a suspended driver's license, who was observed driving an uninsured and unregistered vehicle without a seatbelt, and the perpetrators would still have been absolved.
Lucky to be alive.
Welcome to my world.