While over a half a century ago, New York City’s Stonewall Inn was the birthplace of a movement, a recent demonstration at the very same location showcased one very distinct and haunting fact; there is so much more work to do. The rally, held to shine a desperately needed spotlight on black transgender youth, turned violent, with NYPD attacking the primarily LGBTQ protesters, beating them with batons and arresting a number of them (according to GCN).
Last month saw the deaths of both Tony McDate (shot by police in Tallahassee, FL) & Nina Pop (stabbed in her Missouri apartment). The five o’clock event at Stonewall was a protest to highlight both of these as well as cases all over the country of black transgender murders by police officers and victims of deadly violence. Decrim NY, the organization that aims to completely decriminalize sex work in New York City are being credited with helping to organize the event.
An 8 PM curfew that evening on June 2nd (the second consistent night of having a curfew imposed), which made the crowd uneasy. The crowd at Stonewall began marching from the famed establishment along the west side of Manhattan and arrests started occurring. Notable names grabbed by the NYPD were activist & ACT UP member Jason Rosenberg and nightlife performer Marti Gould Cummings, who is seeking a seat on the Manhattan City Council next year.
View this post on Instagram
Last night I joined thousands of protesters to demand justice for George Floyd & all the black lives who have been lost because of police violence. At 8:15pm the NYPD began to use batons & violent force to arrest peaceful protestors, myself being one of them. The Mayor, The Police Commissioner, & the NYPD must be help accountable for the violence they inflict upon people participating in civil disobedience. #blacklivesmatter
Rosenberg posted a post-release video on Twitter, where he appears bloodied and battered, but speaks in detail about the events of the evening. He describes the participants walking peacefully with their arms locked in solidarity & police stormed through, attacking with batons and closed fist punches, resulting in Rosenberg requiring a trip to the emergency room.
— Jason Rosenberg (@mynameisjro) June 3, 2020
Cummings posted live updates to their Facebook page upon release from custody the next morning (below) and shockingly indicated that even the most basic rights were either not honored or not provided at all. Cummings indicated in their posts that they were denied a phone call and never told or read their Miranda rights, and in a flagrant violation of current policies, they indicated clearly that “most cops [were] not wearing masks”.
Marti exclusively shared with Instinct:
“The actions of the mayor, commissioner Shea, and the NYPD show what side of history they are on. Police brutality and violence against communities of color has gone on long enough. Their actions against peaceful protest demanding justice for the murders of innocent Black people have gone on long enough. We were beaten, arrested, denied being read our rights, access to lawyer, access to phone call. Access to water and medical care was only given when loudly demanded and even then at a limited capacity often with police turning the other way. Enough is enough.”
After contacting me, Cummings was diagnosed with a concussion but still took the time to post this very helpful information for the times we are living in:
“Stay safe friends & if you get arrested tonight & see this please stay calm, focus, breathe. Listen to every word being said in the jail. Observe everything. Take mental pictures. DEMAND – medical att when needed, water, a phone call & ur rights dont say anything w/o a lawyer”
View this post on Instagram
If everyone who has reached out through text, comment, or dm to me about my arrest made a $20 donation to @theokraproject we could raise over $20k – let’s support black Transgender people. Pledge to donate and pass it on https://www.theokraproject.com/ and follow the incredible founder @thefreeactorvist