On the Attack on Robert Cuffy at the Mass March to Defund the NYPD

July 1, 2020
 
New York City Fight For Our Lives Coalition
New York, NY
Phone: (347) 433-8652
Email: GeneralStrikeNYC2020@gmail.com
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
On the Attack on Robert Cuffy at the Mass March to Defund the NYPD 
Statement of Solidarity, 
Call for Information Accountability and Action 

Foley Square, New York, NY, 8:55 pm –
 
While leading Monday June 29th’s  Mass March to Defund the NYPD & Abolish the Police from Washington Square to Foley Square Robert Cuffy was filming the march, when he was blindsided and tackled by an unidentified man who then slammed Robert into another car, dislocating his shoulder. Prior to this moment Robert was straining his voice by calling out to marchers “We’re going to City Hall!” but he was not able to continue due to the severity of his injuries.
Police nearby observed the assault, and joked with the attacker before walking him to the Foley Square subway station, where they released the attacker without charges. NYPD  didn’t even document the attacker’s identifying information.
Robert is a well-known revolutionary socialist in NYC, and an effective organizer for Black Liberation. He is a member of the DSA Afrosocialist Caucus, a leader of the NYC Fight for Our Lives Coalition (which is part of People’s Strike, a National coalition organized by Cooperation Jackson), and a founder of the Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana. He is also a leader of the DSA Labor Branch. This made him a target.
Robert was put into an ambulance, and was told that he would be taken to New York Presbyterian. Instead, he was driven a few blocks away where Robert waited over an hour inside the ambulance, which did not budge from its location at Spruce and Nassau Streets. Fearing for his own safety, Robert texted marchers to gather at the intersection for support and to enforce transparency. Robert was provided no pain control for his injury. This punitive and callous treatment of Black patients, especially of movement fighters, is all too common.
Robert had every reason to be afraid that medical neglect or overt violence at the hands of police could be life-threatening; from Ferguson to Baltimore to here in New York, incidents like this have ended with the deaths of far too many Black Liberation activists and of other working class people of color. Even when treatment is provided, individual EMTs who are aligned with police will often take activists and other Black patients past the closest hospitals, going out of their way to drop them off at the most overcrowded, underfunded, and dangerous facilities, as a particularly isolating and potentially lethal form of racist abuse and punishment. Robert was lucky to have a caring EMT named Nancy who kept him safe and even got Robert a blanket upon his request after arriving at the hospital
On the short ride to the hospital, his fear, horrifyingly, began to come true; he had been left without a seatbelt and was nearly subjected to a “rough ride” of the kind that notoriously ended the life of Freddie Gray in the back of an ambulance in 2015. Without the use of his arm, Robert (just as Gray, handcuffed) wouldn’t be able to physically protect himself from being slammed into hard, sharp metal surfaces inside the vehicle.
By responding quickly and collectively, activists can protect ourselves and each other from this treatment by disrupting that isolation. When dozens of  supporters mobilized and gathered outside the ambulance, the police were forced to take a statement from Robert, rather than ignore the attack, or worse—spuriously charge Robert, potentially making good on the continued threats spewed by his attacker immediately after the assault. That collective support gave force to Robert’s demand that his seatbelt be buckled.
Too often, and for too long, Black victims of violence have been routinely subjected to exactly this sort of revictimization by cops and vigilantes, even in death. It is impossible to forget that Trayvon Martin was branded a “thug” by his killer, or that Mike Brown, described there as “no angel,” was blamed for his own murder in the press.
The ambulance eventually transported him around the block to the hospital where his partner, mother, and other comrades were waiting for him. NYC Fight For Our Lives Coalition, Peoples Strike, and the DSA are SEEKING FOOTAGE AND DOCUMENTATION of the attack, the attacker, the license plate of his car, cars parked in that location, the ambulance, and its driver/EMT, as well as badge numbers and identification of the police involved. Any information, including witness statements, may be useful
The attack on Robert Cuffy was not an isolated incident. Police and far-right vigilantes are threatening coordinated attacks on protestors, particularly as the calendar nears July 4. As the #GeorgeFloyd Uprising continues to flourish, and as protests and rallies nationwide call to defund, dismantle, and disarm police, law enforcement and their backers have been stoking the fascist fire, encouraging lone-wolf attacks to terrorize supporters of the fight against police brutality.
This is a reminder that the movement will need to increase security measures and step up our game. We have to collectively prevent further attacks and protect ourselves as the movement grows, continues to win reforms, and pick up steam. Go out into the streets with your friends and comrades, use the buddy system, and coordinate security to protect the movement’s leaders as we continue this rebellion. Remember that we are all leaders in the fight to get free.
We call on the NYPD to identify and to immediately fire and hold accountable the officers who not only ignored this attack, but aided the attacker. 
If you have any relevant information, or to connect with and support the work that Robert has dedicated himself to, contact NYC Fight For Our Lives Coalition at: 
 
Phone: (347) 433-8652
Email: GeneralStrikeNYC2020@gmail.com
Twitter: @fight_nyc
Instagram: @fightforourlivesnyc
Hashtags: 
#FireAndThunder
#DefundNYPD
#DefundDisbandDisarm
#AbolishNYPD
#WeKeepUsSafe
#FireFranciscoGarcia
#ChargeVincentD’Andraia
#WeCantBreathe
#NoWorkNoRent
#BlackLivesMatter
#BlackLiberation
#BlackPower
#FightForOurLives
#PeoplesStrike
#GeneralStrike
#FreeThemAll
#StrikeForOurLives
 
Join Us, July 4th: 
Fire and Thunder: Movement for Liberation Broadway Junction, Brooklyn, July 4th @ 4pm
 
Event Intention:
Inspired by Frederick Douglass’ famous speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”, the NYC Fight for Our Lives Coalition is calling a march for freedom on the 4th of July. It will begin with a meditation and community grounding in recognition of the history of the U.S. as a nation founded on the systematic murder abuse and exploitation of Black people.
 
Statement Endorsers in Solidarity:
Organizations
NYC Fight For Our Lives Coalition
Peoples Strike
DSA Afrosocialist Caucus
Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana
Cooperation Jackson
Red Bloom Communist Collective
Amazonians United NYC
Spectre
Emerge Caucus, DSA
DSA Racial Justice Working Group
CounterPower /ContraPoder
Unity & Struggle
May First Movement Technology
Marxist Center
Red Union
Revolutionary Socialist Network
Rank and File Action, (PSC CUNY)
Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE )
Mid-Hudson Valley DSA
Left Voice
Cooperation Northfield
Denver Communists
SVPRESS
New Politics
Venezuelan Workers Solidarity
Solidarity Winnipeg
Queens Club, Communist Party of NY
Black Internationalist Unions (BIUs)
Syria Solidarity New York City
PoliFem
Working Class Heroes Collective
Global Prison Abolitionist Coalition
The Local Fightback Coalition
Solidarity, A Socialist, Feminist, and Anti-Racist Organization
League for the Revolutionary Party
Resistance Studies Initiative
Socialist Resurgence
The Abolition Collective
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Resistance Studies Initiative
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Revive the Peace Movement (RPM)
Locust Review
Social Service Workers Uprising Now
Denver Communists
Communist Party of New York
Twin Cities DSA
Resistance in Brooklyn
The Abolition Collective
NYU Law Prison Reform and Education Project
Macalester College Young Democratic Socialists
SENS-UAW
Sixth Street Community Center
Workers’ Voice / La Voz de l@s Trabajadores
SENS-UAW
 
Public Officials & Candidates 
Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez , Chicago Alderman, Ward 33,  & Chicago DSA
Jabari Brisport, Candidate for State Senate
 
Individuals
Charlie Post
David Roediger
Kate Doyle Griffiths
Eileene  Vicencio
Stuart Chen-Hayes
Mara Phelan
Kit Wainer
Vikramjit Gill
Aaron
Wende Marshall
Eric Tien
Haley Pessin
Jason Schulman
Mike Pappas
Joel Schwartz
David McNally
Julie Harting
Meredith Schafer
Justine Medina
Charles Wynns
Elizabeth Lalasz
Mithra Lehn
Marcela Onyango
Olivia Suter
Sean Petty, RN
Jordy Cummings
Michael Brown
sam salour
Leslie Akst, Ph.D
Zachary Levenson
Octavia Leona Kohner
Ethan Young
Molly Golanka
Peter Solenberger
Aaron Berman
Alyce Currier
John Snowden
Bryan Doniger
Andrew Abreu
lynk bella hues
Nantina Vgontzas
Lee Cyphers
Mae Smith
Rachael Kurland
Max
Rust Gilbert
Emily Cunningham
Joy James
Ting Lau
Anya Snyder
Joy Ming King
Sabrina Koetter
Janine Jones
Roxy Chang
Ted Miin
Richard Owen DeWald
Pamela Cote
Vincent Wong
Ira Pollock
Katherine Yanney
Anthony Alessandrini
Janet Goldner
Amy Wilson
Jamie Partridge
John Hitzfelder
Elizabeth Oh
Linden McEachern
Alex C
Asher Wycoff
Ted Mineo
Michael Truscello
annalea racibarskas
James Young
Paul Werner
Lucy Livingston
Erica Caparelli
Stephanie Flores
Fiona McTeigue
Gabriel Solis
ARTORICAL
Javier Sethness
John Hitzfelder
Juan Garcia
Steve Leigh
Jennifer Siqueira
Danielle Mikos
Samantha Pinsky
Daniel Fischer
Jack Ganley
Liza Featherstone
John Ferretti
Brett Story
Queen Arsem-O’Malley
Camille Brown
Gabriel Berlin
Scott McLemee
Eric M. Fink
Vicki Niu
Susan Daum
Keshet Sivan
Saurav Sarkar
Sina Zekavat
Edward Hon-Sing Wong
Tristan Sloughter
Delaney Lee
Zoe Carey
Blair Rogers
Rafaella Spielberg
Natasha Pasternack
Gretchen Ludwig
Sylvia Gorelick
Eric Josephson
Rosa Zedek
Marc Polite
Emily Weinrebe
Yves Menshikova
Kimberly Wirt, MSW
Michael Z. Letwin
Alexander Billet
Alexandra Poole
Laura Rhymer
Timothy Schermerhorn
Alexandra Poole
Pano Karambelas
Alexander Billet
William Johnson
Jawanza James Williams
Laura Rhymer
Avilda Whittmore
 
To Sign This Statement in Solidarity, click below:
Organizations in Solidarity
Public Officials
Individuals
 
 

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