Skip to comments.Complaints swirl over NYC holding area for arrested protesters
Posted on 09/01/2004 4:26:52 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
NEW YORK (AP) - To the protesters, it's Guantanamo on the Hudson. Police prefer the acronym PASS, though nobody gets one.
Either way, the dilapidated, hulking pier on the Hudson River in Manhattan has become a landmark of sorts in the clash between activists and authorities at the Republican National Convention.
Some protesters have complained bitterly about conditions at the temporary holding area set up at Pier 57 for processing convention-related arrests. One former detainee, Andrew Lynn, claimed he was held there for hours on end in "Guantanamo-style pens" - a reference to the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Police insist their Post Arrest Screening Site allows them to process mass arrests safely and promptly and avoid overwhelming neighborhood stationhouses.
Commissioner Raymond Kelly has dismissed complaints about conditions, including questions about asbestos. Testing Monday night found no problems with air quality, he said.
"There have been some exaggerated claims and outright falsehoods," Kelly said.
NYPD officials declined a second request to allow an Associated Press reporter to tour the site Wednesday, saying officers were too busy processing the nearly 1,000 people arrested the day before.
Among them was an AP photo messenger who was taken in along with a group of protesters when police broke up a demonstration that she and a colleague were covering.
Jeanette Warner was there for several hours. She said conditions were far from inhumane, although the facility was dirty and the experience exhausting.
"It was like a warehouse. It was the best they could do," Warner said. "You didn't want to sit on the floor, that's for sure."
Detainee JoAnn Wypijewski, a 48-year-old freelance magazine writer, said officers manning the makeshift lockup were polite.
"You get the feeling that they're being held prisoner too," Wypijewski said. "It's not a great working environment in there."
Sitting less than 20 blocks south of Madison Square Garden and extending hundreds of feet into the Hudson, Pier 57 once was a terminal for cruise ships. In the 1950s, the city erected a three-story, concrete garage for city buses.
The NYPD recently took over the garage, which closed last year. The department says it cleaned up a section of the interior and built a series of chain-link holding pens in preparation for the convention.
Officers search and interview the detainees at the pier before busing them to a booking facility in lower Manhattan, where they are either given tickets and released or held for a court appearance. Police say protesters typically wait about 90 minutes before being transferred.
While they wait, they are offered milk and sandwiches - bologna, cheese or peanut butter - and each detainee is handed a small paper cup which they can fill with water from coolers inside the pens, Warner said. They are allowed to use portable restrooms alongside the pens.
As they waited Tuesday night, some chanted "This is what a police state looks like," and one woman was put back in handcuffs after she rattled the chain-link fence and jumped against it. For the most part, however, detainees got along well with the officers posted there, Warner said.
Many of those arrested are veterans of other demonstrations where "few got arrested and most got away after breaking the law," Kelly said. "Here, they are being surprised by the fact that the opposite holds true: Most of the lawbreakers will be apprehended and only the law-abiding will get away."
At a news conference Tuesday outside the holding facility, Lynn, civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel and transportation union officials raised concerns about possible asbestos contamination and complained that people were being held too long.
Jay Bermudez, a former shop steward at the bus depot, said, "We've always had a problem here with safety issues." He claimed a fire in 1994 released asbestos into the air.
Lynn, who described himself as an independent videographer, said he was arrested last week at a bike ride protest and held at Pier 57 for 18 hours.
The protesters, Lynn added, were held 40 to a pen and forced to sleep on floors covered with motor oil. Police say they could sit on benches.
Conditions were "absolutely disgusting," Lynn said.
Well. What do they expect from a hell-hole of a country like America?
From the democrats?
Yes I know, I can be evil.
Many of our forefathers died in prison ships anchored in the harbor of New York to create the freedoms these protestors misunderstand & misuse.
I have no room in my heart for these sad little whiners.
Why, my heart just bleeds for them..
Put some panties on their heads and then we'll really hear 'em scream!
They are Kerry Supporters not Protesters.
Proof of DNC involvement.
Then put supporters on their heads.
Uh oh. Guys who use the word "falsehood" instead of the much more succinct and accurate word, "lie", make me nervous.
As I was once told, do you think this is the Holiday Inn ?
Privatized water alert!
In August 1997 a memorial service was held at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, rededicating a monument to the men interred in a vault that lies below it. The monument itself is an impressive tower that stands high above the park with a lighthouse-like beacon on top. The original light was extinguished during World War II as a wartime security measure, and it would not be relit until last Saturday when a new solar-powered eternal beacon was turned on as part of the ceremony. The intention is for the light to shine forever as a symbol that, as the monument's motto promises, "They Shall Not Be Forgotten."
The men honored by the memorial and who lie beneath it are victims of one of the most terrifying acts of inhumanity to have occurred in America. They are the merchant seamen and privateers who served valiantly on the side of the colonials in the Revolution and who died under barbaric circumstances. All were crew members of the thousands of merchant ships which sailed as privateers from the ports of the American colonies to attack and seize British ships. Privately owned and privately armed, these merchant ships made an invaluable contribution to the victory of the colonists in the War of Independence. Their crews were the predecessors of the heroic members of the Merchant Marine who would fight for the United States in future wars.
The privateers carried the newly-created American flag to all the ports of the world, attacking and capturing thousands of His Majesty's vessels whose cargoes were then sold to support the colonial militias in their battle against the British.
Fewer than half of the privateers would survive and return home. Thousands of their courageous seamen were captured by the British and offered their choice of joining the British Navy in the war or going to prison. The overwhelming majority chose to go to jail rather than turn against their friends, families and new nation.
Pitifully few of the captured American seamen survived the conditions of their imprisonment aboard the royal jail vessels which were moored along the Brooklyn waterfront.
In 1780 the British had anchored a flotilla of 12 former men-of-war and hospital ships in Brooklyn's Wallabout Bay. Crowded together in the most unsanitary circumstances, prisoners were given little food, no medical attention and a great deal of abuse and neglect, all as an incentive for them to change their minds and join the King's Navy. Aboard the filthy ships, disease was rampant. The corpses of those who died on the prison vessels in New York Harbor - a total of between 11,500 and 12,500 men - were either rowed to shore and placed in shallow graves or unceremoniously tossed overboard by their British captors.
The worst of these prison ships was the H. M. S. Jersey, a decommissioned warship, on which 1,100 men were crowded together between decks. About a dozen prisoners died each night aboard the Jersey from dysentery, typhoid, smallpox, yellow fever, food poisoning, starvation and torture. When the war ended in 1783, aboard the entire prison fleet there were only 1,400 survivors, all of them ill and emaciated.
After the Revolution ended, the newly-formed U.S. Navy occupied the Brooklyn Navy Yard site on Wallabout Bay. When the Navy began expanding the yard, the remains of thousands of these sailors were found in the muddy bottom as the bay was dredged to build new drydocks. In 1808, as much of the remains as possible were dug up and reburied on the grounds of the nearby John Jackson estate.
Wonderful. Music to my ears.
I say give all those scumbags brooms and make em clean up after their fellow America hating pals.
This is what a Kerry Rent-a-Mob looks like. In jail. Where they belong. Because they broke the law.
My heart bleeds. What do you think the holding pen would have looked like in Saddam's Iraq? Maybe these anti-war maggots should think about that before complaining of motor oil on the floor.
From your link, I'd have to say you & I probably have a common hobby. I have learned more American history from it than I ever did in school.
Well, the DNC convention kept ALL THE PROTESTORS LOCKED UP!!!!
I hope every single one of these jackals ends up on an FBI watch list. These are the real terrorists that are bent on destroying this country from within.
Perhaps NY needs to re-introduce the chain gang.
If you peacefully protest, you don't get a police state.
If you seek to disrupt cities and violate other people's rights, you get a police state.
Cry me a river. What exactly were they expecting, to be put up at the Hilton? Puh-lease!
Put a plank on the end of the pier and make them walk the plank.
Hold em all until the convention is over & then put them on clean up duty, to clean up after all of their fellow travelers.
should have sent them to Arizona, Sherrif Joe would have em wearing pink undies and sleeping in tents in the desert. Or better yet, put em up in a Mosque in Patterson NJ
I live very close to Pier 57. I think I will go deliver rasberry lemonade laced with tabasco sauce at the hottest time of the day tomorrow.
Please FReepmail me if you want on or off my infrequent miscellaneous ping list.
excellent freep idea! we stand outside the pier as they are released, and sell them panties to put on their heads!
"Hey, stand in solidarity with the Abu Graib prisoners!"
There's a Chris Rock routine in here somewhere.
"Hey, stand in solidarity with the Abu Graib prisoners!"
LOL... Great idea, Yehuda! ;-D
If it wasn't for swine like you and your Democrap friends, the warehouse wouldn't be necessary!
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