Sunday, September 07, 2008


The "Donut Social ", 4 Arrests in Tompkins Square Park and a Protest Right Outside of the 9th Precinct ...

A Department of Environmental Protection sound meter that was used to measure sound levels at the "Donut Social" concert

This day started early in federal court with a hearing before judge Lynch who did little but help work a deal with the city --a deal that Mr . Penley and Mr. Wade found unacceptable and thus protested--to increase the sound permit level from 7o dB at 20 ft . to 70 dB at 50 ft . Not a sufficient increase to make a concert possible .

While any political protest at reasonable sound levels must be allowed where ever , perhaps a very loud concert with extreme sound levels should not be held on a residential street . Perhaps the burden placed on residential neighborhoods is too great . Last Thursday though the NFL Kick-Off concert blasted sound at a much higher level than that requested by Mr. Penley and Mr. Wade right across the street from some very expensive residential occupancies in Columbus Circle . Why is it that yesterday and today the Howl festival was at times well beyond the levels allowed for the 20th anniversary concert in the same city park situation .Clearly there is no consistant set of rules governing performance sound levels in this city . This is sloppy law , in fact it is law that permits prejudicial descisions to be made without consequences by city officials , including personnel of NYPD , the agency that grants most sound permits .

Judge Lynch noted that Mr. Penley and Mr. Wade did have a case of selective harassment with some merit against the City of New York . We hope that perhaps someone will pursue this issue in court and force a recognition of due process , equal protection and of course first ammendment rights in this permitting process in New York City .

The measuring process that occured at the "Donut Social"was not without some questionable procedures . NYPD and the DEP both had useable instruments but they were not exactly the right instruments to use for an exhaustive analysis of this particular situation nor were they used in a manner that provided unequivocal measurement values . Whether they could stand an evidentury test in court is unclear ; we suspect that they could easily be challenged . What is the standard for the test personnel , reason to know or possession of a professional engineering license ?Explaining and supporting these claims here requires an extensive technical dissertation on sound and the measurement of sound sources and fields in complex urban environments .We are not going to do that here ; that is another story for another time .

In summary for us the highlights of this evening were : the defiant turning on of the amplified sound for a song-and-a-half and the fans jubilant response , the arrest of a man for throwing donuts at cops with the ensuing melee , and the irony of the protestors in the end protesting in exactly the location that the protest organizers wanted in the first place , in front of the 9th precinct headquarters .

See the previous post for more on this matter :

Political speech was not what the crowd wanted as Mr. Penley learns above . Below some light-up and talk among themselves while waiting for the sounds that they came to hear.

Acoustic music live was not what they wanted , even from "Leftover Crack " lead singer Scott Sturgeon , pictured below .
The crowd did warm to a chant though of "jump , jump ,jump" led by Sturgeon while pointing to some cops observing on the roof of Village Veiw appartments .

A bit later Sturgeon illuminated by a bizarre combination of discharge lamp and natural sky-light stepped in among his fans to play acoustic guitar and sing .

The evening really began though when Sturgeon and his band-mates stepped-up defiantly, electric guitars in hand and sang with real amplification "One Dead Cop" to which most in the crowd knew all the words . Of course the electrics were pumping -out sound at a level well above the allowed 70 dB at 50 ft .
This , of course is what everyone had come for .

The Dept. of Environmental protection and NYPD both measured sound levels with their own separate instruments .They gave the concert organizers 2 warnings that they were beyond the allowed sound levels . At the second warning the manager of Sturgeon's group cut the power so as not to receive a ticket and also possibly have their equipment seized . This was effectively the end of the concert : without amplified sound there simply could not be a concert with music that could be satisfactorily heard and felt .

Sturgeon holds his acoustic guitar as a gun saying "this machine is for killing cops ".

Sturgeon , donuts in hand , harangued the cops with vulgar and hateful invective which probably angered some of the people that can make things happen .

Above donuts are hurled in the direction of cops . Below one spent toroidal missile rests at its terminus in the middle of 5th street .

The concert ends 30 minute before the permit is expired simply because it is impossible to have a concert with the sound level limited to 70dB at 50 ft.

9th precinct commander Deputy Inspector DeQuatro and Lt. Albano of the NYPD legal Dept. confer after the concert on the evening's matters at hand .

Several of the fans of Scott Sturgeon walked to Tompkins Square Park after the concert for more of Sturgeion's singing .Such a gathering and such singing is entirely lawful in TSP .
Earlier the 9th precinct had decided to arrest Sturgeon for tossing donuts at them at the concert claiming that per the Penal Code such an action constituted harrasment of a police officer . They waited for an hour to arrest Sturgeon apparently because they felt that it would be easier and less risky than doing so at the concert with a crowd that might protest such an arrest .
Arresting Sturgeon-- charges were harrasment of a police officer , disorderly conduct and resisting arrest--in TSP was not so difficult , there was little resistance , but the unexpected consequences of the arrest were for a while somewhat chaotic .
After Sturgeons arrest some present decided to attempt to prevent the police RMP containing Sturgeon from leaving the park . Police cars were damaged ,broken mirrors etc . Bottles were thrown and trash recepticles were upset and emptied . People climbed on top of police cars with some standing or lying down in front of the police vehicles . For a few minutes the situation was quite eye-ball-to-eye-ball and nose-to-nose physical but police eventually gained control with minimal use of force . 3 additional arrests were made before the brief melee ended .

According to witnesses this young man who had thrown some of Howl's seating around earlier was tazered in the process of being subdued .

After all the chaos the protestors all sat down in front of the cops and their RMPs and protested ,pleading their case .

After a few minutes the protestors decided to go back to the 9th precinct to protest the arrests of their friends and also to demand their freinds release . They marched down the middle of ave A and also the down middle of 5th street .

Commander DeQuatro spoke with Jerry Wade pointing out that if the protestors did not clear the street in front of the precinct that they would all be arrested .
Mr. Wade passed-on the warning to the protestors .

The street was cleared , barricades set-up forming a protest pen , ironically just exactly where the protest organizers had originally requested , in front of the 9th precinct headquarters .
From this point on the evening amounted to little more than a baby-sitting operation as the protestor protested in their pen ..

The tazed arrestee takes the perp-walk at the 9th precinct .

One last arrest was made of a woman who refused to move from the steps behind her . She was quickly subdued and escorted next door to the 9th precinct for incarceration .

The 9th precinct garbage was removed by sanitation Dept. from the midst of the protest pen .

A representative of the National Lawyers Guild informed the protestors of the names of the arrestees and their charges.

The protest went on past midnight .

Great coverage -- performance art at it's finest--
Looking at all these photos I get the impression that the end of the protest coincided with the last LIRR train to Levittown. I yearn for the first cold rain of November and its effect on these migratory hippies :)
I get the feeling these incarcerations will produce very few "letter from Birmingham Jail"s, but plenty of "Dad, drive into the city with my bail" phone calls :)
I feel sorry for the 9th Precinct and if you are accurate that this guy pointed his gun and yelled kill cops -- I can't express in words how repugnant and unacceptable I find this.

I don't support harassment but the NYPD are extremely brave, have to deal with so much behavior fueled by drunkards, drug addicts who are clueless, they have no idea what it is like to deal with their behavior until they sober up -- if ever, drug dealers, murders, etc.

Really makes me feel more sympathetic to the police and again I don't condone any harassment but this protest back fired.
guitar not gun still extremely repugnant
In light of the looks on the faces of the 4 teenage girls in the lower right hand corner, your photo labeled
"Sturgeon holds his acoustic guitar as a gun saying "this machine is for killing cops "."
should read:
"Why guys learn how to play guitar"
. i am a fan of this band.

keeping that in mind, absent in the dialogue about these arrests is how privilege operate in this situation. although stza as well as others were targeted in this situation, the fact that police criminalization operates more as an outright reality within communities of color, remains the reality.

however, this "political" arrest, detracts away from the many politics that stza and his various bands preach. how come his lawyer was able to make a statement? what happened to the others that were arrested? did they provide a lawyer for him? i mean, shit, it was said "you won't let them get me, right?"

i am in no way, shape, or form an advocate for police violence or criminalization in any form. however, i think the fact that the centralization of this situation erases the actual realities that occur in prison, on death row, and in the ghetto, which this man/band "preaches against" should be brought to the forefront.

if this really advocated for what they said, perhaps a mention of how this form of harassment is not daily would be mentioned. i think an anti oppression training is due. violence does not solve violence.

this situation does, suck though.

in solidarity,
FUCK THE POLICE! Stza stopped playing through an amp when they warned him. They're just a bunch of softies who dont like it when people call them out on being assholes. We can take care of our own communities, we dont need power hungry cops to look after us. Free Sturg! Respect the CRACK ROCK STEADY BEAT!!
we all need to get our cop killin machines out!!!
In reference to those offended/disgusted by Sturgeon's quasi-threat toward the officers - you should hear the shit that cops have said to me. Much more blatant threats against my person, and also my family and friends, far beyond a thrown donut or utilization of a guitar in a paraphrase of Guthrie, and in response to much less volatile behavior on my part than the police actions serving as the basis for protests such as these.

I used to draw a distinction between "good" and "bad" cops, but gave up long ago, because various incidents have shown me that the oppressive and bigoted attitudes attributed to "bad" cops is almost universal within most departments. As for supposed police "bravery," yeah, tasering the unarmed (or chair-armed, I suppose) is certainly an act of extreme heroism. The risks associated with the job are well-known, and should be considered during an officer's enrollment in the police. They certainly do not justify this bullshit. My job's dangerous, too, so where's my power to do as I please without fear of consequence?
I agree. "Good" cops and "Bad" cops ended long ago. Cops are there for a reason. Their job is to protect the well being of the people and to protect their rights. It's just ironic that ever cop i see here in Salt Lake City seems to be here just for the beer, and the chance to beat up some drunkards. We dont like cops because cops dont do their jobs. We have to be polite to them because of fear. Fear that they might just kick out asses. We have to be cautious when we talk to them because they might just arrest you. I seriously think many might have had problems in highschool or childhood, because it doesnt take a masters degree to become one of New York City's finest.
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