Is This a Chokehold? You Tell Us

Categories: NYPD, Occupy

Credit: Timothy Fadek
Is this a chokehold? Or are things not always as simple as they look at a glance?

Our cover story this week examines the ongoing debate in New York City about the use of chokeholds by the NYPD, through the story of Angel Martinez, a young man from Brooklyn who says he was choked during an arrest in 2012.

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Richard Rosario Appeal Nears Final Stage

Categories: Justice

Richard Rosario and his daughter, Amanda.
Richard Rosario's legal fight to prove his innocence is winding toward its flash point. The case, which we detailed in a June feature story, now centers on whether the emergence of multiple new alibi witnesses has produced enough evidence of possible innocence for a judge to vacate Rosario's 1998 murder conviction or call for a new trial.

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British Journalist Flooded With Hate Mail After Ridiculous Screed About the NYC Subway

Thumbnail image for g train.jpg
Even this could be worse. Somehow.
The subway is just not that bad. For all our complaining about the fickle ways of the G train, our homicidal feelings during the absurdly lengthy wait for a C around 5 p.m., or the whole-body despair we experience when J mysteriously skips our stop during the height of morning rush hour, the subway is still fast, cheap, easy to navigate, and open 24-7. Which is why it's only right that visiting Guardian journalist Bim Adewunmi has been roundly mocked for a laughably wrong piece she wrote yesterday calling our subway system "patently ridiculous" and "the work of a sadist, cooked up in a fever dream and delivered with a flourish and an unhinged grin."

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New Yorkers Trapped by Hurricane Odile in Mexico Describe Ineffectual U.S. Response

Categories: Vacation

Mark Brinda
Mark Brinda lives in Brooklyn, but he goes on a fishing trip in Cabo San Lucas every year in September. September is the month when his 82-year-old great-uncle, a farmer from South Dakota, has a lull in his harvest schedule long enough to allow a vacation like the one they took with Mark's father, brother, and two friends last week. The only difference this year was that their trip happened to coincide with one of the strongest hurricanes in Cabo's history.

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'I Was Choked by the NYPD': New York's Chokehold Problem Isn't Going Away

Categories: Longform, NYPD

As far as Angel Martinez was concerned, the police officer at the front desk that night wasn't much more than an inconvenience. Sure, he'd refused to take Martinez's complaint. He was even a little rude about it. But for Martinez, after a night in Queens central booking, with his face battered and welts blooming all over his body, that officer was an afterthought.

Martinez was more concerned about the other two cops. The ones he says kicked his ass for no good reason. The ones who'd approached him and started patting him down without a word of explanation. The ones who slammed his face into a parked car, then onto the sidewalk, when he objected. The ones who ruined the new plaid button-down he'd bought for a job interview earlier that day — torn it to shreds.

Those officers, Martinez has alleged in a complaint with the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), punched him in the ribs, handcuffed him — and punched him one more time, for good measure. They were the ones he was concerned with. Especially Officer Frank Calafiore — who Martinez says kept an arm wrapped around his throat almost from the moment the encounter began.

He still isn't exactly sure of the legal definition, but it sure felt like a chokehold.

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New York City's Landlord Loan Program Is a Mess, According to This Damning Audit

Categories: Landlords

Credit: State Comptroller Report
Some landlords receiving government loans haven't been holding up their end of the bargain.
While the branding needs a little work, the "Article 8-A" loan program, run by New York City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), is the kind of government program that seems like a pretty sensible idea.

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Flood Wall Street Ends in Pepper Spray and Mass Arrests, Including a Polar Bear

Photo by C.S. Muncy. A slideshow of the protest can be viewed here.
One of the arrested people was dressed like a polar bear, or perhaps was a polar bear.
By the end of last night's Flood Wall Street demonstration in the Financial District, police had arrested 104 people, including one dressed as a polar bear, and pepper-sprayed a few more. The arrests were more or less expected -- the organizers of the protest had said well in advance that they were planning to commit civil disobedience by staging a sit-in on Wall Street, which they did, first in the area around the Wall Street Bull and then near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

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'Climate Change Is Class War': Flood Wall Street Takes Over Financial District

Photo by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice
In a harder-edged follow-up to yesterday's massive People's Climate March, a couple thousand people took part in "Flood Wall Street" today; dressed in blue, they marched from Battery Park to the Financial District, staging a sit-in in the area around the Wall Street Bull. As of 2:30 p.m., two people had been arrested. The organizers tweeted that they weren't planning on moving any time soon:

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Times Reveals Even More Corruption at Rikers

Categories: Rikers Island

In August, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report calling the conditions at Rikers Island unconstitutional. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that the federal government would sue the city unless the city agreed to a list of sufficient reforms by a certain deadline.

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Reverend Billy Arrested After Trying to Stop Removal of 130-Year-Old 'Bendy Tree'

Image via Facebook
Reverend Billy stands atop a Parks Department truck during the demolition.
Activist preacher and frequently arrested person Reverend Billy Talen took another trip to the Tombs this weekend, this time for trying to halt the removal of a 130-year-old, much-beloved, very crooked tree in Tompkins Square Park. As East Village blog EV Grieve was first to report, the tree, known affectionately as "Bendy Tree," was condemned by an arborist with the city Parks Department, found to be "structurally unsound" and a danger to the public.

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25 Signs That It's Fall in New York

Categories: Lists

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc
Here are a few street-level signs that summer's over in New York.

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Rice, Peterson NFL Scandals Really About Liberals' Plan to Pussify America, Say Rightbloggers

[Roy Edroso dissects the right-wing blogosphere in this weekly feature]

The NFL hasn't been having a great time of it lately, PR-wise (though its TV viewership numbers seem not to have suffered): Now even non-fans know that Baltimore Raven Ray Rice was seen cold-cocking his fiancee and Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson allegedly beat his kid hard enough with a switch to raise welts.

As often happens when celebrities get negative publicity, we have heard opinions from several parties not intimate with these cases. Rightbloggers used the controversies to promote their pet cultural theories: For example, that it's really liberals, not football players, who beat up women, and that the NFL, which is liberal like all corporations, is being Rice-baited into paying off feminists and sissies who, like liberal sportswriters, just want to ruin America's Game for conservatives.

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People's Climate March Set for Sunday in New York City

Categories: Climate Crisis

The People's Climate March, scheduled to take place in Manhattan on Sunday, could be the biggest demonstration calling attention to climate change to date. At least, that's what activists like Bill McKibben, who urged supporters to converge on New York this coming weekend in a lengthy Rolling Stone piece published this summer, are hoping.

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Andrew Cuomo Is a Unicorn-Killing Santa Imprisoner, According to New Astorino Ad

Screenshot via.
It's looking like the war between Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Republican challenger, Rob Astorino, is going to be fought, for now at least, on the battleground of profoundly stupid ads. Following a Democratic ad razzing Astorino for being a Dolphins fan, Astorino has fired back with one accusing Cuomo of being a "unicorn killer" and someone who locks up Santa in the chimney.

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18 Things to Do Instead of Watching the NFL This Weekend

Categories: Lists, NFL, Sports

Photo Credit: Tojosan via Compfight cc
For reasons we won't rehash here, you might be tired of the NFL and its players already. Not to mention the media. As such, you could be wondering how you're going to fill all those hours this weekend. Here are a few suggestions.

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De Blasio Sends Help to Immigration Court; Cuomo Signs Bill to Prosecute Shady 'Notarios'

Categories: Immigration

Tessa Stuart
Left to right: Cyrus Vance, Cesar A. Perales, Phyllis Coven, Marcos Crespo, Jorge Montalvo, and Kevin Sullivan
An estimated 10,000 undocumented and unaccompanied children caught at the U.S-Mexico border in the last 11 months will be fast-tracked through deportation hearings at New York's federal immigration court over the course of the next year. To each new child who appears in court for the first time, a judge repeats the same refrain: Here is a list of lawyers who offer free or very low cost legal assistance -- do not go to a notario for help.

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Finally, a Movie with Liam Neeson That's as Good as Liam Neeson

Categories: Film and TV

Photo by Atsushi Nishijima - © 2014 - Universal Pictures
Neeson in A Walk Among the Tombstones.
Special guest Inkoo Kang, film critic at TheWrap and news editor at Indiewire's Women and Hollywood blog, joins Alan Scherstuhl of the Village Voice and Amy Nicholson of the LAWeekly to discuss a variety of topics on this very big podcast, including: The Maze Runner, what it's like interviewing director Steve McQueen, Amy's highlights from the Toronto Film Festival, Kevin Smith's Tusk, and Matthew Crawley, err, Dan Stevens's role in two movies out now -- A Walk Among the Tombstones and The Guest. Alan makes an anti-recommendation for Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt? and Inkoo heartily endorses season 2 of Masters of Sex on Showtime.

Phew! Listen to it all below, and don't forget to...

New York Jazz Greats Ask City Council to Help Them Win Fair Pay [Video]

Photo by NYC City Council Staff Photographer William Alatriste via Flickr
Jimmy Owens performs for the City Council members.
Many of New York's great jazz musicians are aging into poverty, strained by a lifetime of working in clubs that deny them any benefits, healthcare, or pensions. That was the testimony before a City Council joint committee yesterday from the members of Justice for Jazz Artists , a campaign created to urge the city's legendary jazz clubs, including Blue Note, Iridium, and Village Vanguard, to pay into a pension fund for musicians. One jazz artist, 70-year-old Jimmy Owens, who's been playing trumpet and flugelhorn in New York for the past 60 years, closed his testimony with a heartbreaking and beautiful rendition of "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen."

"This is a spiritual that I play quite often at many of my friends' funerals," he told the joint committee, rising from his seat, flugelhorn in hand.

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Court Rules That Two Men Were Wrongly Convicted of 1992 Brooklyn Kidnapping

Categories: Courts, Justice

Wikimedia Commons
In the early hours of January 1, 1992, 16-year-old Jennifer Negron was kidnapped and killed and left outside on an East New York street corner. Detectives found a headband inside a car nearby. A witness said she saw a man forcing Negron into that car and another man in the driver's seat. The witness identified Everton Wagstaffe, then 23, and Reginald Connor, then 24, as those men. They maintained their innocence from the start. A judge dismissed the murder charge against them for lack of evidence, but they were convicted of kidnapping in 1993. They were sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

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Michael 'I'll Throw You Off This F*#@king Balcony' Grimm Might Not Be Done Yet

Credit: Official photo
Michael Grimm is fightin' the good fight, or something.
New York 1 is reporting that Michael Grimm, the congressman from Staten Island, is in an extremely tight race to retain his seat.

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