You’ve probably heard by now about Felix Rivera-Pitre, an openly gay and HIV-positive member of VOCAL-NY who was sucker punched by a senior NYPD officer on October 14th during an Occupy Wall Street march.
Since then, Felix has been interviewed alongside Rev. Jesse Jackson on Countdown with Keith Olberman, featured on the cover of the NY Daily News and interviewed on the evening news multiple times – all while the NYPD tried to arrest him on unfounded charges that he somehow provoked the attack. Dramatic video from the scene shows otherwise.
Stand with Felix this Monday at 10:30am outside Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office at One Hogan Place (Leonard St and Baxter St at Columbus Park). RSVP via facebook.
We’ll be holding a rally for Felix when he comes out of a meeting with the District Attorney’s office where he’ll learn whether he faces charges – and whether the NYPD officer who punched him will be held accountable.
In their cover story this week, Gay City News provides evidence that suggests Deputy Inspector Johnny “Fists” Cardona had a history of homophobia in the NYPD, while a recent New York Times story revealed that Cardona punched another protestor during an earlier Occupy Wall Street demonstration.
Join us this Monday outside District Attorney Vance’s office at 10:30am to rally for Felix! After a short rally, we’ll march with Felix back to Occupy Wall Street for the first time since he was assaulted and went into hiding. Contact Jeremy via email or (917) 676-8041 for details or RSVP via facebook.
Hundreds of Occupy Wall Street activists joined VOCAL-NY on October 19th in a march to D.A. Vance’s office to call on him to to prevent Felix’s arrest and hold the NYPD accountability for brutality against Occupy Wall Street protestors. Immediately after the march, D.A. Vance began to insist on token accountability measures, but they haven’t gone far enough. We need to keep the pressure on.
Felix was no stranger at Occupy Wall Street or in campaigns for social justice in New York. In an interview with Gothamist, he explained why he became involved: “It’s getting very difficult to take care of myself. After rent, I have to live off $300 a month. It’s tough for people in my health and in my circumstances to get by.”
We need to make it safe for low-income New Yorkers, especially people of color and LGBT people, to continue to participate in Occupy Wall Street, while lifting up the message that we need to close the widening gap between rich and poor and change the priorities of our government.
We hope to see you on Monday!