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#3012: Trouble Came At Hands of a Few (fwd)


Trouble Came At Hands of a Few 
Daily News Staff Writers
Original Publication Date: 03/27/2000

A small group of demonstrators helped turn the funeral of Patrick
Dorismond into a bottle-throwing melee, police officials and witnesses
said yesterday."This came as a result of an unprovoked attack by some of
the people at the funeral," said Chief of Department Joseph Dunn,   who
raced to the scene after seeing the disturbances on monitors at 1 Police
Plaza. Witnesses said the situation began to deteriorate even before
Dorismond's coffin reached Holy Cross Catholic Church in Flatbush,
Brooklyn. The witnesses and New York Civil  Liberties Union chief Norman
Siegel, a longtime NYPD critic, said a series of apparent police
miscalculations didn't help the situation. It was at the corner of
Flatbush and Nostrand Aves. that the carefully laid funeral plans
hammered out by Haitian community leaders and police brass began to
unravel.  The hearse had been moving slowly up Flatbush Ave.
from         the funeral home, escorted by about 300 community affairs 
cops wearing light blue jackets, when a small group of demonstrators
stepped into the cops' path about 11:30 a.m.  "Murderers!" a woman
screamed. "Get out of our funeral!" As Haitian community leaders pleaded
with the protesters to let them pass, the cops suddenly moved away from
the hearse. "It doesn't look good for them" to be by the hearse,
Siegel   said during Saturday's funeral procession. From that point on,
the blue-jacketed cops found themselves  walking in front of the hearse,
leading the funeral procession up Flatbush Ave. As the crowd
accompanying the hearse grew larger, some began heckling the officers
while Haitian community leaders  wearing red baseball caps tried to calm
everyone. When the hearse turned right onto Church Ave., the mourners
were confronted by uniformed cops who tried to steer them  behind steel
barricades.  "Take these barriers down!" the crowd chanted. "Take these 
barriers down!" One officer, realizing the crowd was too big to be
contained by the barricades, pulled one back, witnesses said. But
instead  of waiting for the others to be removed, some in the crowd   
began pushing them over. When Dorismond's coffin was removed from the
hearse, some demonstrators tore the Haitian and American flags from the
coffin and set the U.S. flag ablaze. Cops didn't stop them.Siegel said
many complained that a sound system had not been set up so that they
could follow the service, and some grew angry when they spotted cops
taking photos from a roof.Others became agitated at reports cops in riot
gear were  massing nearby.When the funeral Mass ended at 2 p.m.,
Dorismond's coffin was taken out of the church by a side entrance to a
hearse waiting on Veronica Place. Meanwhile, cops began dispersing      
the crowd waiting on Church Ave.It was then, witnesses said, that the
bottles began raining  down on police. "It was peaceful until they
started throwing bottles," said Grace McAllister, who lives nearby. "The
ones that were out there were troublemakers. Most of the decent        
people walked away and went home."Witnesses said the police officers
tried to protect themselves as the debris rained down on them and
appeared to be  uncertain about what to do next. When cops in riot gear
came to the scene, the crowd got angrier and surged forward. "You had no
choice but to clear the streets," said a police commander at the scene.
"The crowd was throwing stuff. It  was nasty."