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7351: This Week in Haiti 18:52 3/14/2001 (fwd)

"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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                           HAITI PROGRES
              "Le journal qui offre une alternative"

                      * THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

                        March 14 - 21, 2001
                          Vol. 18, No. 52


How would you feel if your son was gunned down in public, his
killers exonerated, and his memory maligned by your mayor? Just
ask Marie and André Dorismond. That is what happened to them.

March 17 will mark the first anniversary of the murder of their
son Patrick, a 26-year-old Haitian-American who was shot dead by
an undercover New York City police unit after spurning their
request for drugs (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 18, No. 1, 3/22/2000).

"Nobody knows how much I have suffered," Marie Dorismond told
Haïti Progrès this week. "It would have to be someone in my
shoes, such as the mother of another victim. I can't sleep, I
can't eat, I still expect to hear from him at any time."

Last July, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau cleared
of all wrongdoing the triggerman, Detective Anthony Vasquez, and
two other cops who scuffled with Dorismond and fellow security
guard Kevin Kaiser on the corner of 37th Street and 8th Avenue in
Manhattan in the seconds before shot rang out. The fight had
started when Dorismond told Det. Anderson Moran to "get out of my
face" after the cop asked him for drugs in a sting operation.
According to Kaiser, Moran then swung at Dorismond, sparking the
fatal brawl.

"The report says quite clearly that the aggressor was Mr.
Dorismond," New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said after
Morgenthau's report was released (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 18, No.
20, 8/2/2000).

"That's a lie they made up to make believe that Patrick was
responsible for his own death," Marie Dorismond said of
Giuliani's and Morgenthau's cover-up. "It's not true at all.
There must be a trial."

Giuliani further enraged New Yorkers and the Haitian community by
vilifying the victim after his death, illegally opening sealed
court documents about Dorismond's juvenile record. "You can't
characterize my son as a criminal after you have finished killing
him," Marie Dorismond said. "They have tried all kinds of tricks
to excuse themselves from blame, but I am no fool. I see how they
remove things, discover things, recover things, hide things: I
see their games. They can't play with me because I'm not

Last June, Giuliani tried to arrange a private meeting to
"reconcile" with the Dorismonds, a public relations stunt which
backfired. The Dorismonds demanded that they be accompanied by
their lawyer, Johnny Cochran, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Haitian
community leaders. Giuliani backed out (see Haïti Progrès, Vol.
18, No. 13, 6/14/2000).

"I don't need someone to stand before me and say 'I am sorry,'"
said Marie Dorismond. "That will not bring my son back. If at the
beginning, before [Giuliani] went on television [to slander
Patrick], he had come to me and, even with hypocrisy, said
"Madam, you are human, your son was killed, I am sorry,' I might
have said 'okay'. But it's too late for that now."

Presently, the U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District
of New York is conducting a "review" of Morgenthau's report to
see if it will file civil rights charges against the NYPD. But
the time to push for federal intervention was during last
November's electoral season, said Derrick Sells, a lawyer with
Cochran's Manhattan office who is handling the Dorismond case.
"Bush is now in office, Hillary's a senator, and Giuliani is
basically a lame-duck mayor, so the urgency is gone," Sells said.
"I hope they do something, but I'm not holding my breath."

Meanwhile, the city has been trying to stonewall a civil lawsuit
for $200 million filed by Cochran's office last October against
Giuliani, former Police Commissioner Howard Safir, and the
policemen involved in the shooting. The city was supposed to give
a response to the complaint within 30 days but has twice asked
for deadline extensions. Then in January, lawyers for the city
made a motion that Judge Allyne Ross stay the proceedings, saying
that the cops had a 5th Amendment right not to incriminate
themselves by responding to the complaint. "But the judge agreed
with us and ordered the city to file their response" by the end
of March, Sells said. "Basically the city is being very
obstructionist, and I believe that the city is trying to delay
defending this case until the mayor leaves office [next January].
This is an untenable position which is unfair to the memory of
Patrick and to the two families he left behind, who are
struggling to survive without him." Dorismond had two daughters,
Destiny, 2, and Infinity, 6, by two mothers.

There is some good news on the legal front, however. On Mar. 9,
Judge John Carter in Brooklyn Criminal Court dismissed all
charges against WBAI radio producer Errol Maitland, who was
arrested along with 27 other people during the giant
demonstration which accompanied Dorismond's funeral last Mar. 25
(see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 18, No. 2, 3/29/2000). Maitland was
beaten, arrested, and charged with disorderly conduct while
covering the confrontation which erupted between police and
Dorismond's mourners. Judge Carter finally dismissed the case "in
the interests of justice," a magistrate's prerogative when he
concludes that charges do not fit a defendant's character.

"To dismiss in the interests of justice is a statement in
itself," explained Maitland's lawyer, Michael Warren, "because it
defines the person who is charged as being of good character and
gives the presumption that the person should not have been
charged at all." Several other "Dorismond 28" defendants had
charges against them dismissed on the same grounds.

"I'm glad it's finally over," said Maitland, who had to appear in
court over a half-dozen times. "Your whole life begins to revolve
around court dates. Of course, the district attorney was quite
disappointed and very upset."

Maitland still has a serious heart condition resulting from the
trauma incurred during the beating he endured when arrested. He
was hospitalized and handcuffed to his bed for 48 hours. "I am
just working now to get my health back," he told Haïti Progrès.
Next week, Warren said he plans to file a lawsuit on Maitland's
behalf against the city for "false arrest, malicious prosecution,
emotional stress, and other charges."

A few defendants from the Mar. 25 funeral protest still have
their trials pending, but most cases have been dismissed.
Defendant Mark Dunston's charges were recently downgraded from
felony to misdemeanor.

Meanwhile the Dorismonds, who moved to Florida last year, will
return to New York this week to attend masses commemorating
Patrick Dorismond's death, one at St. Francis Church at 135 West
31st Street (between 6th & 7th Aves.) in Manhattan at 1:15 p.m. on
Friday, March 16, and another the same day at St. Francis of
Assisi Church, 319 Maple Street (corner Nostrand Avenue) in
Brooklyn at 6 p.m.. There are also several protests planned for
the weekend.

"I would ask the Haitian community to remain strong with me, in
spirit and with prayers, to remain vigilant but calm, without
violence," Marie Dorismond said.

"Stamping out police brutality begins with finding justice for
the murder of Patrick Dorismond as well as Amadou Diallo, Malcolm
Ferguson, and dozens of other minority and working-class youths,"
said Ray Laforest of the Haiti Support Network (HSN), a group
which fights police brutality. "Our community rose up against
Giuliani and police violence, just as it did after Abner Louima's
torture. But our struggle is far from over and the old adage
holds true: if there is no justice, there will be no peace."

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