InPDUM challenges notorious NYPD in struggle for Black Power! Masses mobilize in defense of jailed leadership
Diop Olugbala, International President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement
On that night, just minutes before I was thrown in a jail cell, I had led a contingent of five forces of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) into the “police-community relations” meeting held at the 67th Precinct building of the NYPD, located at the 2800 block of Snyder Ave, in the heart of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY.
The purpose of InPDUM’s attendance at this meeting was to serve the “People’s Subpoena” to the commander of the 67th Precinct Deputy Inspector Kenneth C. Lehr, or a representative, to appear at the pre-trial hearing of InPDUM’s Court for Black Justice and Reparations (CBJR).
Through the CBJR, InPDUM aims to put the NYPD on trial for crimes of colonial genocide being committed against the African community. A video of InPDUM serving the Peoples Subpoena can be found here: http://uhurunews.com/video/play?resource_name=watch-uhuru-movement-serves-nypd-with-people-s-subpoena-to-appear-at-court-for-black-justice-in-new-york
Our task of serving the People’s Subpoena was carefully planned. At the point we left the community-police council meeting, it appeared to have been executed well.
We did what we came to do and we left as a group. However, as we gathered outside of the building to make sure we were all together, four or five police ran up on me from behind, telling me to put my hands behind my back.
Video shows my arrest outside of the courtroom here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=565880906768539&set=vb.100000399044840&type=2&theater
I said “Am I under arrest? What for?” They claimed I had 11 warrants.
At the time, I had no idea what they were talking about. Further, there was no indication that they even know who I was.
The only thing the police who arrested me knew about me was that I just finished criticizing the NYPD in their own building. I never signed any sign-in sheet at the meeting, nor did I state my government name.
They didn’t even ask for my ID prior to placing me in handcuffs. So, it was clear that the attack was purely political, and a response to what had just transpired upstairs.
It should also be noted that, based on U.S. and NY state law, they had no right to detain me, as there was absolutely no probable cause for doing so.
I had done nothing to indicate that I had committed what they would characterize as a crime. Nor was I in the process of committing a crime.
The only crime I committed was my act of political resistance to the NYPD.
In addition, it is important to state that an InPDUM member who was recording the entire statement I made during the “police-community council” meeting was instructed by a cop to “stop recording” as soon as I challenged inspector Lehr to respond to the charges laid out in the Peoples Subpoena and indicate whether or not he would appear at the Court for Black Justice (CBJR).
The denial of our right to videotape the meeting and interaction with Inspector Lehr, as well as the literal arrest of myself in response to my successful attempt to serve the Peoples Subpoena, are evidence of a clear violation on the part of the NYPD on my, the InPDUM’s and the African community as a whole’s right to free speech and freedom of assembly.
World responds to “Free Diop!”
Despite this repression, I am proud to say that my comrades of InPDUM and the African Peoples Socialist Party immediately initiated an international call-in campaign that mobilized the participation of literally hundreds of people from as far as the UK, South Africa, Toronto, across the U.S., Sweden and many other places.
“Free Diop” memes and statuses were posted on Facebook and scores of people were signing on to the defense effort every hour. All of this transpired in only the first few hours of my captivity.
Meanwhile, as the Uhuru Movement was mobilizing, I was sitting in a holding pen in the 67th Precinct. Finally a cop brought me a stack of papers that he called “warrants.”
Apparently the warrants were behind some traffic tickets and hack cab violations I had picked up back in 2005 and 2006, when I used to drive a cab in that same precinct. However, one of the warrants, I was told, was dated back to 1985 (they later disposed of that one before I would reach the judge)!
It was clear that the police were on a witch hunt. They were desperately trying to find something, anything they could jam me up with.
It wouldn’t work, and I believe the cops knew it as much as I knew it. This explains their obviously nervous demeanor every time they came to the cell to communicate with me.
Some would try to disguise their nervousness by making slick, mocking comments every now and then about the political nature of my captivity. One pig asked me “How was the mayoral race in Philly?”
NYPD has no case—legally, politically or historically
Eventually I would be transported, along with about ten other Africans who were in the cell with me, to Central Bookings. There I was introduced to my “public defender” who gave me what he understood to be a summation of my legal situation. He then asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to fight all of the charges.
We have always rejected the NYPD’s claim that somehow any African could possibly owe THEM money. The fact is that the NYPD, along with imperialist white power as a whole, are the ones who have been robbing the African community for the last 500 years. This was the reason we are building the Court for Black Justice and Reparations in the first place!
Even within the framework of the colonial legal system, I knew there was no way the NYPD could prove the allegations made in a seven-year-old summons.
Most importantly, I knew that my brothers and sisters from throughout the world were putting constant pressure on the NYPD and the courts, including the judge, to release me and drop all the lame charges against me.
I knew we couldn’t lose if we fought! This turned out to be the correct call.
All tickets were thrown out except for the one claiming I was driving with a suspended license back in ’06. I go to court around this charge on June 25.
Even as we are forced to defend ourselves from a lame “suspended license” charge, InPDUM intends on staying its course of resistance against the colonial occupying armies such as the NYPD, Stockholm Police, London Police, and U.S and NATO forces in Libya, etc.
This was a determination we made as an organization at our recently held 2013 International Convention, where we adopted the Campaign of Resistance Against Colonial Occupation.
Increased NYPD repression is a response to imperialist crisis
Particularly with regards to my case which emerged out of the politically motivated detainment of myself without any probable cause or investigation of identity, we plan to fight the NYPD and court system to the bitter end.
We have already proven that the pretense under which I was detained was absolutely false. We will continue to expose my arrest as nothing more than an attempt on the part of the NYPD to silence, if not crush, the Movement that is being built to bring an end to the colonial military occupation of the African community by the NYPD.
My arrest occurred in the midst of increasing police repression against the Movement and the African community in NYC. In fact, my arrest was the third of such encounters with the NYPD that have occurred in the last month.
On Wednesday, April 24, in the process of distributing The Burning Spear newspaper and fliers for the CBJR to Africans on the #3 train in Brownsville, BK, two NYPD undercover pigs approached me and comrade Oronde Takuma and forced us off the train physically.
Within seconds, there were five more pigs—two in uniform and three more undercover.
They surrounded us and claimed that they stopped us because we were crossing subway cars illegally. However, the reality is that the undercover pigs never said anything to us until we started criticizing the police for waging a vicious war against the African community and telling people to testify at the Court for Black Justice.
On Saturday, May 4, while hanging up “WANTED” posters of NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, two other InPDUM forces were followed for at least ten blocks by NPYD forces of the 73rd precinct in the Bed Stuy area of Brooklyn.
Ultimately they were given a summons for putting up posters on street poles, even though the same poles were plastered with promo posters for night clubs and fast food joints.
It is clear that the NYPD has found it necessary to intensify its repression of the African community as a means of keeping the lid on what is already an extremely volatile situation.
Tensions are extremely high between the people and the pigs, and it will take the slightest error on the part of the pigs to set the masses into an explosive state of permanent rebellion.
After the police murders of Kimani Grey, Shantel Davis and Ramarley Graham—all of whose killers are walking free and have even received promotions and awards from the NYPD—the masses have had enough.
The state fears InPDUM and other such organizations because of our ability to provide strategic direction and ideological clarity to the resistance of the masses. This is why they are trying to lock me up and take other InPDUM forces off the streets and literally ban the distribution of our literature on the trains or in the streets.
The NYPD’s attacks on the movement and the people are not a sign of strength—they are a sign of weakness.
As Chairman Omali Yeshitela teaches us, these attacks on the world’s oppressed peoples are a response on the part of imperialism to a deep and profound crisis that it is experiencing around the world.
There is nowhere on the planet that one can turn to and not find tumultuous resistance amongst the oppressed and colonized masses. This resistance is the basis of the crisis of a parasitic social system that has, for 500 years at least, fed the white world at the expense of the rest of us.
Victories and progress only possible through organization, forward to Sierra Leone!
Today is a new day. I am proud to say that the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), the organization I have been chosen to lead, is on the forefront of the resistance that is causing much crisis for our oppressors.
I would like to thank all those who participated in the struggle to Free Diop Olugbala, which is keeping me in the streets and capable of continuing to do the work of our liberation.
More than that however, I want to call on everyone who participated in the effort to free me to join the movement to free African people as a nation. I am calling on you all to join the InPDUM.
Those who cannot join as active organizers, I am calling on to support us financially and otherwise.
We are involved in a wide array of serious political work spanning the globe. In fact in June, I, along with a unit of leaders from the African Socialist International, will be travelling to Sierra Leone, West Africa to participate in an important organizing conference where we will strengthen the existing organization of InPDUM and the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) as well as formally establish the African People’s Socialist Party there.
At the same time, Chairman of the APSP, Omali Yeshitela is embarking on a worldwide tour to bring the masses of African people into the revolutionary process.
Throughout Africa, InPDUM and the APSP are building rapidly, thus requiring organizers and resources to be sent to various parts of the continent.
The urgent need for resources is being fulfilled through an intense fundraising campaign known as the “One Africa Tour Fund”. If you can, please donate to this fund by clicking here:http://asiuhuru.org/donate/
And again, join the InPDUM at inpdum.org
Touch One! Touch All!
Build the Court for Black Justice and Reparations!
All Power to People! Black Power to the African Community!