2000-05-06 / Columnists

From The G-Man

G-Man Earns His Stripes

Hey people! I would like to start by extending my deepest gratitude to Mr. Steve Wolf, vice president of Chase Manhattan Bank in Far Rockaway. He also serves as the president of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce. I met with him this week to discuss the $900,000 grant that was awarded to the Rockaway area, and he took the time to fill me in on how this money will be dispersed.

A portion of the money, totaling $300,000, is to be allocated toward the Hope VI project, which is targeted to help those in poorer communities. The other $600,000 has been placed under the control of Columbia University, in order to conduct various studies on how the money can best be spent in Rockaway.

Many in the Rockaway area, myself included, believed that the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation was handling all of the grant money, but they do not have access to any of the appropriated funds at this time. They are awaiting correspondence from the people at the university, and RDRC is just as anxious to know how the money will be used as other area residents are.

Another thing that Mr. Wolf conveyed, about RDRC, is how they have gone from a state of financial crisis to economic balance since Curtis Archer and his team took over. As a result, many small but significant programs have been birthed, and all types of people have been able to benefit from them. I could elaborate more, but I would like for the readers to take it upon themselves to find more about them. "RDRC does a lot of little things in the community that many people aren’t aware of, and it’s a shame. If they took the time to go up there and meet the members, and ask questions, they would have a much better understanding of what they do," states Mr. Wolf. So, congratulations to the RDRC members, and Mr. Archer in particular, for a job well done.

As indicated in the above headline, yours truly has experienced one hell of a battle. In months passed, I have been approached by a number of people wondering why I have been so silent on Diallo and Dorismond. Well, the truth of the matter is, I could not comment at that time because I was going through battles with the New York City Criminal Court System. You see folks, I got busted for protesting and disorderly conduct the day after the Diallo verdict. That was the day when New York City had basically been shut down by massive protests. The way the media covered it, you’d think there was only angry Black folks out there. I’m here to tell you there were all types out there! I was arrested with whites, Blacks, Asians, Italians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites, lawyers, architects, doctors, you name it! I shared a cell with all of them.

I couldn’t say, or print, anything at that time that might have appeared to be anti-Giuliani or anti-police. To do so would’ve jeopardized my case and the cases of others that were arrested. I had to keep my mouth shut and endure a lot of crap from the District Attorney’s office. When all was said and done, after going back and forth to court for 3 months, I got slapped with an "ACD"(Adjournment Contemplating Dismissal); which basically says if I don’t have problems with the law for the next six months, it will be dismissed and the records will be sealed. This is done in effort to stop people from protesting during any given period, but I will say this. I would do it all over again if I had to.

If you ask me, the whole damn thing should’ve been dismissed a few weeks after the arrest! The last time I checked, protesting was a constitutional right for all. We were taken through the system as though we had committed a major felony! We were subjected to searches, mug shots and fingerprints, and I’m still angry with that. Unlike the first Diallo protest with Sharpton, Sarandon and Siegel, our cases were not dismissed, and we were made to spend a night in jail. The Sharpton protestors were out in five to six hours!

We were orderly and peaceful as well, but the outcome was dramatically different. In order to deal with the anger, I constructed a 10 page report; documenting the events from the time I was arrested, until the time I was released. Let me tell you folks; there were some startling situations I encountered while going through the system. It was at this point that I decided I had a responsibility, as a columnist, to make people aware of my findings. I wanted to expose the report to a national audience. I was scared, and I didn’t know whom to trust with the information, but I made the decision to go to the office of Congressman Gregory Meeks. I wanted to expose the report to a national audience. I felt it was that important. Unfortunately, my report was not taken seriously, and I don’t blame Meeks because he may not have even seen the report.

I went through Meeks’ community liaison, Edward Williams, who was more than willing to help me. It was Meeks’ executive assistant "Patrick" who took the position of, "How can he prove any of this?" Duh! Hello, I’m putting my ass on the line here and the reputation of the paper I write for! Someone might want to put a bullet in me for putting out such a report, and that’s all you can say? I could say a lot more about this guy, but I’m going to shut up at this point. The whole purpose of me trying to submit my report was buttressed only by my need to make a difference and improve the tense relations between the NYPD and certain groups. Thanks for your help pal!

Finally, I ran into a former columnist for The Wave, and he proceeded to tell me that I should be careful of who I pick my battles with. He seemed to be implying that I make certain people uncomfortable, and that I may pay a price for doing so. Hey dude, check this out. I’m not here to be a little pantsie-antsie, spineless, cowardly columnist. That won’t do squat for the community or this area! My goal is to shake up the Rockaway peninsula and get people fired up to make changes. If I piss someone off enough to want to hurt or kill me, so what! I’m going to die one day anyway, so I may as well go out fighting for what I believe in. Make sure you go back and let your people know that.

I’m truly offended by your approach and your attitude. "If you think you’re gonna change the system in Rockaway, c’mon!" That was your comment.

I’m not trying to change the system, pal! I’m just trying to tweak it a little. Like the saying goes, "I’d rather be a free man in my grave, than living as a puppet or a slave." Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a taste for some pig feet!

See you next week everybody!

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