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What Law Did We Break?

Matt Williams for The Intercept


How the NYPD Weaponized a Curfew Against Protesters and Residents

HUSAN BLUE, his family, and his neighbors were having a cookout on the patio outside their apartment in Crown Heights. It was a warm summer night in Brooklyn. Little kids were running around and playing. People were talking and celebrating. Blue’s dad had just had a birthday, and a couple of the neighbors had new babies on the way. “It was a calm night,” Blue told me. “There was a lot of things to be happy about.” Around 11:30p.m., Blue made a run to the corner store. When the 30-year-old came back, a small army of police officers in riot gear were gathered outside his building. They were dressed, in Blue’s words, “for war.”

Blue asked his family and friends what was going on, and quickly learned that the police had ordered them to go inside. New York City was three days into a newly imposed curfew, the first in 75 years, announced in a joint statement by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a measure to restore order amid the protests and looting that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin. Blue had done his research, and he was fairly certain that the curfew, which was focused on public areas, did not apply to private property. Nonetheless, there was nothing to be gained in testing the New York Police Department. “Let’s clean up,” he said. “No need to get hostile.”

The officers piled on, driving their knees into Blue’s torso. They yanked his arms behind his back and zip-tied his wrists together. Blue had shoulder surgery just four days prior, his stitches were still in. The pain was excruciating.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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