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#3022: Dorismond funeral violence a warning signal (fwd)
Posted at 11:29 a.m. EST Monday, March 27, 2000
Haitian activist: Dorismond funeral violence a warning signal
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- (AP) -- The rift between New York City's black
community and its police force is widening dangerously, a Haitian human
rights activist said Monday after violence broke out at the funeral of
Haitian-American Patrick Dorismond in New York. ``The United States is
supposed to be a human rights model, and now it is setting a bad
example. Frustration against racism is growing, and the situation can
degenerate,'' said Pierre Esperance, director in Haiti of the National
Coalition for Haitian Rights. New York police officers shot and killed
Dorismond, the son of renowned Haitian singer Andre Dorismond, during a
scuffle outside a Manhattan bar March 16. Dorismond was unarmed.
On Saturday, following a funeral service for Dorismond in Brooklyn,
police clashed with bottle-throwing mourners at a protest march.
Twenty-three officers were injured and 27 civilians arrested. Those
arrested were arraigned Sunday and most were released on their own
recognizance. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani blamed marchers for the
violence. Critics faulted him for not extending his condolences to the
Dorismond family. ``In the past three years, New York police brutality
against blacks in general has intensified,'' said Esperance, who added
that Haitians were not being singled out for mistreatment. ``Prejudice
against Third World immigrants is unjustifiable. They have contributed
to U.S. economic prosperity just like native-born Americans,'' he said.
As many as 2 million people of Haitian origin live in the United
States, with an estimated 800,000 in the state of New York.
There has been little public reaction to the Dorismond killing in
Haiti, where growing economic difficulties and pre-election turbulence
almost totally absorb the mass media. Esperance did cite the cases of
Haitian-American Abner Louima and Guinean Amadou Diallo. Louima was
brutalized 2 1/2 years ago in a Brooklyn police station. Two officers
were subsequently convicted. In 1999, four police officers shot Diallo
41 times. They were acquitted last month.