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News :: DNC : Environment : Organizing
NYC - Police Raid on IndyMedia Fundraising Event
15 Aug 2004
A multi-agency task force shut down a NYC Indymedia video team benefit late Saturday night, sparking complaints that the action was politically motivated. "I don't think every single department showing up here was a coincidence," said Brandon Jourdan, a video team organizer. "But maybe it was or maybe it was not. People will have to decide for themselves." || NYC IMC Video Team
A multi-agency task force shut down a NYC Indymedia video team benefit late Saturday night, sparking complaints that the action was politically motivated. The benefit was held at Volume, a renovated industrial warehouse, at 99. N. 13th St., Williamsburg.

"I don't think every single department showing up here was a coincidence," said Brandon Jourdan, a video team organizer. "But maybe it was or maybe it was not. People will have to decide for themselves."

The raid occurred just before midnight.

Jourdan, who was dressed in black pajamas with a white skeleton running down his torso, said that the first undercover cop showed up at 5 p.m. three hours before the benefit began and that the space was swarming with police as well as members of the Department of Buildings and the Department of Health.

"It was crazy," he said.

"They came in the middle of the party with flashlights and started pointing at holes in the ceiling and a ramp that they said shouldn't be there," said NYC IMC member Ana Nogueira. "...They could have come and inspected this at any time of day. They could've checked it months ago."

Volume's General Manager Jeffrey Tonnensen said the official reason for the shut down was the lack of an emergency lighting system and a gerryrigged stage mounted on cinderblocks. He was also given a summons for not posting a sign warning pregnant women of the dangers posed by consuming alcohol.

Tonnensen said his space has received close scrutiny from police and building inspectors since it opened on Jan. 30 but that this was the first time that the space had been closed in mid-event.

"If we're going to say this was politically motivated, I would say it's more related to New York's massive attempt to regulate nightlife," he added. "If you can't smoke and drink til 4 a.m. and dance as much as you want to in New York, where the hell are you going to do it?"

Sgt. Curry of the NYPD's Legal Bureau said the task force regularly conducts inspections of nightclubs and that the shutting down of the party was not politically motivated.

"You are not being singled out," he said.

Another officer added, "We're just here to enforce the law and uphold the peace... We don't do things for political reasons here in the City of New York. "

Video team member Erin Siegal said weeks of preparation had gone into the party, which featured a screening of "The Miami Model" (an activist documentary about police repression last November at trade talks in Miami) as well as performances by Kakistocracy, Leftover Crack, Blam, Beatbox Entertainment,DJ Dan Deuce. It had been scheduled to run until 4 a.m. with additional performances by DJ Chrome, DJ Pow Pow and DJ Noskilz. Siegal said the video team had netted $700 after expenses when the raid occurred.

"I think this is going to make us more paranoid in the future," she said. "The what-ifs are going to haunt us."

Siegal said that the video team had planned to use proceeds from the benefit to purchase two or three computers with Final Cut Pro 4, which would enable them to edit video footage more rapidly. The collective currently produces a weekly half-hour television show that airs on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, Brooklyn Community Access Television and nationally on Free Speech Television. It is currently working with several local groups to produce a daily hour-long show during the week of the Republican National Convention.


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