The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Sergio Crocco, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. The post discusses an incident in which Sergio was harassed by a group of NYPD officers seemingly on a fishing trip hoping to find someone to quickly pad their quota numbers.
He also discusses his reaction to this treatment and how and why he intends to become more active against such rights abuses in the future. If you feel the same way and would like to get more involved in your own area, you can visit the CopBlock Groups Page to connect woth others already active in your community. If there isn’t already a CopBlock Network affiliate where you live you can also Start a Group yourself.
It was a beautiful Saturday night in Gowanis, Brooklyn at the Nihil Gallery, 251 Douglass St. A few friends and I were standing out front of the small art gallery/live music space waiting for the final band to get on stage and enjoying our night peacefully when a police van slowly drove by followed by an unmarked police cruiser. Some of the patrons who had beer cans with them outside were trying to hide them or get rid of them to avoid a summons, and then the unmarked cruiser stopped right in front of the gallery.
I was standing the farthest away from the small crowd with my arms crossed the whole time thinking, “oh boy here we go…someone’s getting a ticket for having an open container out on the street.”
The three thugs open their doors, exit the vehicle and walk through the crowd – straight to me. Thug #1, a heavy-set 5’5″ African American woman stands in front of me and says, “I saw you throw that beer can over there” as she aims her flashlight towards a nearby fence to an empty lot.
I replied, “I didn’t have a can in my hand, I wasn’t drinking anything, I didn’t throw anything.”
Thug #2, a 5’8″ Caucasian male, says in a threatening tone, “Give her your ID, NOW.” So with nothing to hide and without thinking I handed over my ID.
Thug #1 takes my ID and says, “You better be 100% sure you didn’t throw that can.”
I replied, “I’m 1000% percent sure.”
So the three thugs walk back to their cruiser and spend ten minutes looking up my ID, trying to find anything on me. I walk towards the car and stand on the sidewalk watching them, while most of the crowd goes inside or continue with their conversations. Two of my friends stand back towards the building watching the thugs and only one other gallery-attendee stood and watched and supported me.
Then Thug #1 and #2 exit the vehicle and come towards me. Thug #2, in his threatening tone tells me “Come here.” I take two steps off the curb to get closer to the pig, purposely placing myself behind a parked motorcycle and a plastic barrier, giving myself some security from any physical contact. He then asks, “Have you lived on Watchung Ave in Bloomfield, NJ?” although he mispronounces Watchung.
My reply was, “No, I live in Woodland Park.” Of course I did use to live on Watchung Ave., but he pronounced it wrong. So I never did reside at the mispronounced street!
Then he says, “They’re both in Jersey right?” I say, “I guess so.” So, failing at their second attempt, the two thugs get back in the car, Thug #3 sitting in the back seat looking as if she wanted no part in what was going on. They continue trying to find information about me on what seemed to be a smartphone, passing it between the three of them and then finally giving up.
Thug #1 disappointingly exits the vehicle a final time and hands me my ID. She says, “Next time don’t lie to the cops.” I calmly say, “I didn’t.” and walk away into the gallery to get a much needed drink.
This was my first encounter with gestapo-like thug police. I’m what some would consider the “privileged white male” and never thought I would be victim to random police terrorism like this, or at least not til into the nearby future where the pigs openly turn into Nazis and escalate their terrorism amongst any and all.
When they walked up to me, a million things were going through my head, and yes I feared for my life, but I remained somewhat calm and chose not to “run my mouth” like I normally do when I get pulled over for a traffic violation.
One thought was three armed thugs just started bullying me and I might get beaten or shot. I also thought about the contents of my pockets: a vape pen with cannabis oil, and a pocket knife with a 4″ blade. If they were to have searched me I could’ve been arrested, and detained in some discreet location, so I feared that as well.
My actions in cooperating with them were probably wrong, and I didn’t have to give them my ID. But with seconds to react I did what they asked. That was their goal, to get my ID and find a real reason to summons or arrest me. The bullshit about tossing a beer can was their “probable cause.”
This encounter has changed me. Some will say that nothing bad happened, but from the very start something bad happened, my freedom was tossed out the window, I was bullied and terrorized but yes, physically unharmed. I didn’t deserve it and the thousands who have been brutalized, abused, murdered, or just harassed, did not deserve it. The only way this will stop is if we stand united against the fascists.
I was most dissapointed with the crowd who ignored the thugs because they weren’t being harassed. They all should’ve stood out on that curb with me. The strength of unity and support is one of the strongest weapons against police thugs. Imagine the thirty or so crowd standing behind me in silence watching the three thugs.
Imagine anyone else walking or driving down the street stopping to support and unite with me against the fascists. Those thugs would’ve ran off with their tails between their legs, and I’ve seen it happen in some videos CopBlock has posted. The world has seen it happen during some of the most fascist times in history. Unite to fight police terror!
Hopefully I’ll be more prepared next time with recording, gathering the thugs’ info, and standing up for myself or others more intelligently. And thank you CopBlock for being here and doing what you do.
– Sergio Crocco