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#3057: This Week in Haiti 18:1 3/22/00 (fwd)
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
newsweekly. For information on other news in French and Creole,
please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100, (fax)
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
March 22 - 29, 2000
Vol. 18, No. 1
PATRICK DORISMOND: ANOTHER VICTIM OF GIULIANI'S NYPD
"Our best organizers in the South," the reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. once said, "are the police themselves."
One could not but remember those words in witnessing the brutal
killing by plainclothes policemen of yet another unarmed young
black man - this time Haitian-American - in the streets of New
York on Mar. 17, the third such killing in the past 13 months.
More shocking still was the response of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
and his police commissioner Howard Safir ("a trained seal" in the
words of New York Times columnist Bob Herbert). Rather than
expressing remorse or repentance, they have launched a vicious
offensive, trying to portray the victim as a criminal.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Patrick Dorismond, who
had just turned 26 on Feb. 28, was a security guard with the 34th
St. Partnership, a commercial association in midtown Manhattan.
After working his shift from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., he had gone with
fellow guard Kevin Kaiser to the Wakamba Cocktail Lounge, at the
corner 37th Street and 8th Avenue, to have a few beers. Patrick
was very happy, and when another guard asked him why, he replied:
"Tomorrow is payday."
When Dorismond and Kaiser emerged from the bar around 12:30 a.m.,
they were approached by a man who asked them if they had any
marijuana for sale. "Get out of my face," Patrick told the man,
according to Kaiser.
But the man persisted, witnesses say, and, within seconds, a
brawl was taking place.
It turns out that the would-be drug buyer was, in fact, Detective
Anderson Moran of the New York Police Department (NYPD). Moran
summoned his two back-up cops, called "ghosts." One of them,
Detective Anthony Vasquez, shot Patrick Dorismond in the chest.
"The last memory I have of this man is him rolling on the ground,
gasping for air, with blood coming out of his mouth," Kaiser told
The police version of the incident, not surprisingly, differs
from that of all the other witnesses. The NYPD says that Patrick
Dorismond attacked Det. Moran and that Det. Vasquez's gun went
off accidentally when the victim "lunged for it."
"I don't have to ask the police what happened. I know what
happened. They murdered him," declared a life-long friend of
Dorismond at a Mar. 18 demonstration of about 700 people held in
front of the shooting site. "Patrick was the kind of individual
who, unless you put your hands on him, wouldn't touch you. So all
this nonsense that you are hearing that he lunged at the police
and they said 'he's going to get my gun,' that's a damn lie."
Not coincidentally, the shooting comes just one month after the
acquittal of 4 policemen for the "accidental" shooting with 41
bullets of African immigrant Amadou Diallo (see Haïti Progrès,
Vol. 17, No. 50, 1 mars 2000). Just days after that verdict,
another unarmed black man, Malcolm Ferguson, was shot dead in the
head by police just blocks from where Diallo had been slain.
Ironically, Ferguson had been arrested for protesting the police
murder of Diallo just days before. Like Dorismond, Ferguson was
portrayed by the police as a dangerous criminal, even though he
was unarmed when killed.
"There is a kind of death squad government that now exists in New
York City," said Larry Holmes of Millions for Mumia and the
International Action Center (IAC). "Forty thousand police
function as an occupation army in the Black and Latino
communities, and they have been given permission to become judge,
jury, and executioner."
The "buy-and-bust" team of cops that shot Dorismond were part of
Operation Condor, which was launched on Jan. 17 by Safir. "Each
team must have at least five arrests per tour of duty," a
narcotics division cop told the New York Daily News. "When teams
are short five arrests, the commanders are telling the sergeant
that they owe them bodies."
The cops who approached Patrick Dorismond had made only eight
arrests that evening. Were they pushing matters to meet their
Safir denies there is a quota, but the week before Dorismond's
shooting, he boasted to the City Council that Operation Condor
had made 18,000 arrests. That kind of figure is what impresses
the conservative voters whom Giuliani is courting in his
Republican bid for the New York State Senate seat.
But arrests have been arbitrary and abusive, as the case of
Dorismond shows. "He's the first black man in history who died
for saying 'just say no to drugs,'" said Lt. Eric Adams, head of
the organization 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement.
The most revealing and disgusting feature of this whole episode
is the smear campaign being mounted by Giuliani and Safir against
the dead man. Giuliani and Safir point to two arrests of
Dorismond on charges of attempted robbery, and possession of a
gun. What they don't say is that "disorderly conduct," which is
hardly a criminal offense, is the only thing Dorismond was ever
"The idea that the police chief would demonize the victim by
putting out information is tantamount to calling a rape victim a
whore without having any evidence to support it," said New York
State representative Charles Rangel.
But Giuliani's basest maneuver came when he opened case files
from 1989 which were sealed by a court. At the time, Dorismond
was an adolescent of only 13. "If we want to look at criminal
records, at 15 I was arrested," Lt. Adams declared. "Does that
make me a person who shouldn't be allowed to walk the city? When
did it become that because of an activity at 13, 14, or 15 years
old, this should cause you to be shot? For a man to justify that,
that is sick."
The Haitian community and others are certainly sick of it and
have responded with numerous actions, both planned and
spontaneous. Along with the IAC, the Haiti Support Network (HSN),
the Haitian Assembly to Defend the Rights of Immigrants (RADDI),
Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees, and Haïti Progrès launched
the call for the Mar. 18 emergency demonstration which wound
through midtown, snarling traffic. The demonstration grew as
friendly passers-by joined the procession. The demonstrators
confronted the police for almost one hour at Herald Square, where
eight protestors were arrested.
Meanwhile in Brooklyn, a coalition of Haitian community groups
marched up Flatbush Avenue and held a vigil in front of the
Dorismond family's building late in the evening of Mar. 17. A
dramatic and dynamic community meeting of close to 200 people was
held at St. Francis Church on Nostrand Avenue on Mar. 19 to
discuss the community's response to Giuliani's offensive. Finally
on Mar. 20, grassroots organizations formed the Haitian Coalition
for Justice, which has called for mass assemblies in front of the
Andrew Torregrossa Funeral Home at 2265 Flatbush Avenue from 5
p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fri., Mar. 24, during the wake, and along
Church Avenue between Flatbush and Rogers on Sat., Mar. 25 at
9:30 a.m., during the funeral.
The family remains strong despite the crush of media and well-
wishers. "I feel very sad and very tired now," Patrick's father,
André Dorismond told Haïti Progrès. The apartment was hot and
jam-packed with people. "It is going to be all that I can do to
make it through the funeral."
"He was a great guy and a good friend," said Tom Delmas, 23, who
stood with four young friends like slouching sentries in the
lobby of the building, where there was a home-made shrine of
hand-written messages, candles, flowers, newspaper clippings, a
photo, and the Haitian bicolor. "It is terrible what happened to
him, and it could happen to any one of us."
"Basically, the mayor is running legal lynchings in this city,"
said Michael Ratner, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional
Many Democratic Party politicians, such as the reverend Al
Sharpton and Rangel, have proposed that the federal government
intervene and take over the NYPD. Meanwhile, the Haitian
community has stressed the need for community control of the
But mostly, the Haitian community is calling for Giuliani's
immediate ouster, before his term ends in 2001. In Haitian
community meetings and on radio airwaves, there are calls for
"rache manyòk" or uprooting. They want him evicted from his
mayor's seat so he will never hold a Senate seat. Rage is pushing
the community toward once again flooding across the Brooklyn
Bridge and paralyzing Wall Street, as it has done on several
occasions in the past decade.
Also, with the Diallo verdict, the Haitian community has much
less faith in the NY justice system. They are also leery of the
promises of Democratic Party politicians to clean the NYPD's
"The different communities which have been a victim of Giuliani's
policies should all get together and put Giuliani on trial," said
Lionel Legros of the Haitian Hour Information Center (SELA) at
the Mar. 25 demonstration. "The Africans, the Dominicans, the
Puerto Ricans, the Haitians, and the progressive whites should
get together and condemn Giuliani so that he can go into the
garbage of history."
Many Haitians and other minorities groups are realizing that the
lives of their young men are in danger as long as the police is
whipped into its fascist frenzy by the Giuliani administration.
"These folks get up on the TV and they talk about young black
men," said a life-long friend of Patrick Dorismond who only
identified himself as Philip. "How do you expect us to take care
of our families when you keep on locking us up and murdering us
like dogs in the goddamn streets? I think they should put young
black men on the list of endangered species too."
WHO WAS PATRICK DORISMOND?
Patrick was born at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn on Feb. 28,
1974 to André Dorismond, the well-known lead singer for the
groups of both Nemours Jean-Baptiste, briefly, and of Webert
Sicot, respectively the founders of Haitian compas music and
Patrick grew up mostly in the building at 558 Parkside Avenue in
East Flatbush, where his parents still live. He attended the
Immaculate Heart of Mary grammar school and the Bishop Loughlin
His mother, Marie Rose Dorismond, is the cousin of Sò Anne
(Annette Auguste), the well-known singer and activist in the
Lavalas Family party.
Patrick, the youngest in his family, had three brothers - Pierre
Antoine, Charles, and Johnnie - and a sister, Marie Andrée. His
brother Charles is also a well-known musical artist known as
"Bigga Haitian," considered by many to be the first Haitian
Patrick leaves behind two daughters, Destiny, 1, and Infinity, 5,
and his fiancée, Karen Sturkey, 22, with whom he lived on East
92nd Street in Brooklyn.
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Please credit Haiti Progres.