New York Police officers in riot gear and backed up by helicopters and police vans surrounded the home of a prominent Black Lives Matter protester Friday morning, tried to get him to come out of his apartment, and finally left empty-handed after a crowd gathered because the protester began streaming the incident on Instagram Live.
A spokesperson for the NYPD, Jessica McRorie, later said the NYPD had been “attempting to make an apprehension for an assault on a police officer.” She declined to say more, saying the investigation was “active and ongoing.”
But the explanation left many unconvinced, especially because of the bizarre way the incident unfolded, with officers at first telling the protester, Derrick Ingram, that they had a warrant, and then, when he asked to see it, backtracking on that and saying they were working on a warrant, according to Kiara Williams, who, along with Ingram is a member of the protest group Warriors of the Garden. BuzzFeed News profiled the group in June.
“This is very clearly a political decision by the NYPD to harass peaceful protesters without a legal means to do so,” said Atusa Mozaffari, a lawyer for the Legal Aid Society who was present at the scene, though is not counsel for Ingram. “This is exactly what everyone in New York City should be worried about.”
“This was an attempt to silence our movement. This militarized police response endangers the safety of residents in Hell’s Kitchen and across NYC,” Ingram said in a statement on Friday evening. “Officers used threats and intimidation tactics on a young man with no criminal history,” the statement added.
NYPD officers arrived at Ingram’s apartment around 7 a.m.
“There’s no reason for us to come in there — open the door and come out,” an officer told Ingram.
“Derrick, you’re the one making this difficult, we’re just trying to get you to come outside. You’re the one being hostile.”
“I’m not being hostile, I’m calm,” Ingram answered, as hundreds of his followers watched.
The video echoed police encounters with Black men that have ended violently.
Ingram, who is Black, held his head in his hands, and paced back and forth in his apartment, visibly nervous.
Under New York law, police officers can only enter a person’s home under prescribed circumstances.
“The police can enter your home without your permission if they have a warrant or if it is an emergency. If the police say they have a warrant, ask to see it,” said Katie Chmielewski, a communications associate for the New York Civil Liberties Union.
But when Ingram asked to see a warrant, officers did not produce one. By late morning, he appeared increasingly shaken as he continued to film. At one point, he put on some music to try to keep calm. At another, he swung the camera around to show that there were officers in the building across from him, and that he could see their holsters. Other officers were trying to climb the fire escape, said an onlooker. Ingram fielded calls from lawyers trying to advise him, as the booming police knocks continued.
By noon — about five hours into the standoff — the street in Hell’s Kitchen where Ingram lives was blocked off at both ends. Several NYPD vehicles from the emergency services unit were parked outside the building, along with unmarked police cars. Officers from the Strategic Response Group and the Technical Assistance Response Unit were also present as a helicopter whirred overhead. Multiple observers told BuzzFeed News they had seen more than 30 police officers throughout the morning.
“We’re from emergency services,” one of the officers told Ingram from behind his apartment door, as they continued to knock over and over again.
“What emergency?” Ingram asked. “I don’t know what the emergency is.”
“We came immediately when we heard about it because we knew it could happen to one of us,” said Frantzy Luzincourt, the cofounder of Strategy for Black Lives, another protest group that’s worked with Warriors in the Garden. “This is next level and it’s scary for organizers. Are they going to show up at my house next? Or his?” he said, pointing to a friend.
Chi Ossé, another member of Warriors in the Garden who is also running for city council next year, chanted “Where’s the warrant?” over a megaphone. “This is nothing more than domestic terrorism,” he told a crowd of people who had gathered in a park that overlooked Ingram’s street.
Please notice how the police lied and made up shit, the police are openly dishonest so why do we trust their reports and court testimony. The police are too militarized and too powerful. They work to suppress not to protect. The US has become a police state with the police used by the upper class to keep the lower working class in line and laboring to make the upper class more money. In many places it is becoming clear that police unions and higher up members of police departments not only do not obey civilian elected leaders but openly challenge them and simply counteract their orders. I read of police threatening elected leaders. We now know this is going on so we must work hard on changing it. Hugs