NYPD Protesters Mark 20 Years Since Killing of 3 Bronxites
#NYPD #Police Brutality #AnthonyBaez
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 16- Dozens of vocal demonstrators participated in two gatherings marking the 20th anniversary of the death of three young men who died at the hands of police officers.
On December 22, just two days after police officers Wenijan Liu and Rafael Ramos who shot and killed execution-style in Brooklyn, the families and friends of Anthony Baez gathered on the street where he died.
Baez, 29, was killed during a confrontation with two officers along Cameron Place in the Mount Hope section. Baez had been tossing a football with his brother David, when the ball hit a police cruiser. Officer Frank Livoti then put Baez in a choke hold following after confronting the ball players.
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide attributed to a choke-hold. Livoti was eventually convicted of violating Baez' civil rights and served six years in federal prison.
Since her son's death, Iris Baez has been an outspoken leader on police brutality. Shortly after her son's death on December 22, 1994, she quickly began meeting family members of other victims and opening her home for gatherings.
"He was just a party kid," the still distraught mother recalled 20 years later. "He just liked to have a lot of people around him... (and) he knew how to defuse a situation."
A little more than two weeks after Baez' death, Anthony Rosario, 18, and Hilton Vega, 21, were shot and killed on Grand Avenue in Morris Heights on January 12, 1995, in a barrage of 28 shots fired by a pair of detectives. Twenty-two of those shots hit their targets and killed both young men.
Margarita Rosario soon immortalized her son and nephew with murals of the pair on her car with the headline: Killed at the Hands of Police. The car was repeatedly vandalized, so she began work on her Kingsbridge Terrace home.
For the last two decades the home has had the larger-than-life murals of the two men along with the names of others killed by police officers.
During a December 27 vigil for Rosario and Vega they added the name of Mohamhed Bah, who was shot and killed by police in Manhattan in September, 2013. Rosario was joined by Hawa Bah, the victims mother.
Addressing the current rift between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Patrolman's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, Margarita Rosario told the crowd she was furious, "When I hear (Pat) Lynch saying how the mayor is disrespecting the police officers... instead of sympathizing with the families" of police brutality victims.
Jonathan Cain of the Grand Concourse explained his peaceful demonstrations against the NYPD, saying, "Every cop is not guilty for what happened to Eric Garner and Mike Brown. It was the cops involved in these incidents who are the guilty ones."
Protester Quase Beasley added, "We need to start a conversation on how to fix this broken system, because it's not working the way it is." Beasley vowed to continue her peaceful protesting into the New Year.
Detectives James Crowe and Patrick Brosnan were exonerated by a grand jury, but the city settled a wrongful death suit in 2009, paying the Rosario and Vega families $1.1 million.