After NYPD Brutality, Groups Rally For Prison Justice

10Feb12

February 20th is a national day of action. Graphic by Occupy Oakland

Bronx resident Ramarley Graham was killed by the NYPD last Thursday after they suspected the 18-year-old of possessing a small amount of marijuana, pursued him into his home, and shot him.  Graham was unarmed.

The same day, several NYPD officers beat 19-year-old Jateik Reed with batons, also suspecting Reed of possessing a small amount of marijuana.  The incident was captured on a cell phone video that has since gone viral.

These brutal events come a week after a report by the Drug Policy Alliance found more people were arrested for carrying small amounts of marijuana in 2011 than in 2010, despite a September 2011 memo by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly reiterating that possession of 25 grams or less of the substance is legal so long as it is not in public view.  The report also found that while the majority of drug users and sellers in the state are white, 90 percent of people locked up in New York prisons for drug offenses are, like Graham and Reed, Black or Latino.

Violently targeting a racially skewed demographic of drug users is not only reprehensible, it is a waste of economic resources. Milk Not Jails is working with activists and community organizations around the state to encourage alternatives to our current criminal justice system.  A healthy economy would not depend on criminalizing harmless people.

Join Milk Not Jails and dozens of other organizations in a national occupy day in support of prisoners February 20th. If you’re in New York, join us at the Lincoln Correctional Facility in Harlem at 2pm.  Click here for more details about the New York event, and click here for information about events nationwide.



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