|The New York Police Department didn’t have a warrant to arrest Derrick “Dwreck” Ingram, a prominent organizer of Black Lives Matter events. So instead, on August 7, they brought dozens of officers, a helicopter, riot gear, and police dogs to his front door, in a five-hour-long siege, attempting to coerce him into leaving his home.|
Make no mistake: this is a clear attempt to intimidate Black Lives Matter protesters and chill free speech. The NYPD aimed to mislead Derrick about his rights, threatened to break down his door, attempted to interrogate him without counsel, and stationed dozens of officers in his hallway, on his fire escape, and in positions in and around nearby buildings. The police left onlyafter Derrick livestreamed the events, a large crowd of protesters gathered, and the media began asking questions.
We MUST speak up for everyone’s right to organize and protest without intimidation. Send a message to New York District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to demand that the investigation into the NYPD’s actions against Derrick Ingram and the right to protest is done in a prompt, impartial, independent, and transparent manner.
This wasn’t simply a case of police misuse of power: it was a signal to all would-be protesters. Derrick is a co-founder of Warriors in the Garden, a collective of activists dedicated to non-violent protest propelling social and legislative change. The group was a prominent organizer of Black Lives Matter protests in New York City following George Floyd’s death, and received wide national and international media coverage.
Amnesty International interviewed Derrick for our June 2020 report, The World is Watching, which documents 125 incidents of human rights abuses by police in the U.S. over the course of one week of Black Lives Matter protests. During the interview, he observed that the police seemed to be seeking ways to disrupt Warriors in the Garden events. “They find ways to intimidate and inconvenience us,” he shared with us.
After being the target of the NYPD’s intimidation tactics, Derrick said, “I have never been as frightened, intimidated, and anxious as I was on that day.” The next day, he went to the local police station accompanied by his attorney and a crowd of supporters and allies. He has been charged with two misdemeanors: an alleged assault on an officer by shouting loudly into a megaphone, and obstruction of government administration during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 14.
Even if it weren’t part of a pattern, we’d need to speak up against this police intimidation. But in the past few months, police violations of human rights are regularly documented and watched by millions. It’s impossible to see the NYPD’s conduct as anything other than retaliation against this prominent protester, and we are gravely concerned about the due process Derrick has been and will be afforded. While the District Attorney of New York has just revealed his office has opened an investigation into his case, he must ensure it is prompt, impartial, independent, and transparent.
Act now: speak up for the right to protest and demand fair and just treatment for Derrick Ingram.
We will continue to speak out in full support of all peaceful protesters in New York, across our country, and around the world.
Thank you for your voice on this important matter.
Amnesty International USA