NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – Tariq and Evelyn Warren, husband and wife attorneys, are well-known throughout the New York metropolitan area, and the nation, as fighters for the rights of their fellow citizens. So, it is not surprising that they would be concerned upon seeing a young Black man handcuffed, laying on the ground, and allegedly being kicked by the same police officers who handcuffed him.
But what is surprising, is what the Warrens claim happened after they asked the police why they were treating the young man in such a manner.
Standing before press in front of Brooklyn’s 77th Precinct on June 22, the Warrens, with members of the activist community by their side, explained their version of what happened. Actually, it was Brooklyn City Councilman Charles Barron (D-East, NY) who explained what happened, because charges are pending against the two activist attorneys.
“I am standing here with two of the finest people I know,” the councilman stated, before explaining what had happened on the evening of June 21 on a Brooklyn street. “The Warrens observed a young man lying on the ground and he was handcuffed; and they observed officers kicking him. They got out of their car and from a safe distance, they asked the officers to stop. They identified themselves as attorneys; and a sergeant allegedly said to them, I don’t give an ‘f—’ who you are, get back in that ‘f—–g’ car,” Mr. Barron told reporters.
The councilman said the two obeyed the officer and went back to their vehicle. “But, it seems that the sergeant followed them; and started punching Tariq–and then put him under arrest–charging him with obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Evelyn Warren is charged with disorderly conduct, after asking why they were arresting her husband. She, too, was punched by a police officer,” Mr. Barron said.
“We were expressing our first amendment right to speak out against improper police methods. Speaking as a citizen, we have a situation in this society when those people who are to uphold the law, don’t respect the rights of citizens. What we experienced last night happens every day in our communities,” Mr. Warren told reporters.
“We are going to fight this case,” Mr. Warren said.
“I did not do anything to provoke the police to swell my jaw; nor did my husband to cause them to give him a swollen lip,” Ms. Warren stated, adding, “We have a serious problem in this city.”
“You want to know what the officer said to me, when I told him we would tell what they did. He said, ‘It’s your word against ours’,” Ms. Warren said.
On June 24, politicians and activists gathered on the steps of City Hall, claiming that the Warrens’ arrest was straining the relations between police and the Black community. “I am embarrassed by what has happened,” stated Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Man.), and co-chair of the Black/Latino/Asian Caucus. “We will address this with the mayor,” the councilman promised.
Mr. Warren has represented Shiek Abdel Rahman, accused in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; rappers Tupac Shakur and Sean Combs; three of the Central Park 5, young Black men accused in the rape of a White jogger in 1989; and currently representing Black Panther Francisco Torres, who is accused in the 1971 slaying of San Francisco police officer.
Mr. Barron told reporters that the police refused to let him see the young man they had arrested, on a traffic violation. The police commissioner’s office did not return calls by press time.
“The Warrens were released last night because 200 people showed up,” Mr. Barron stated. They have a lot of support in the community, he said.
“That diverse group of people who were here last night–demanding our release–they were Muslims, Whites and Blacks, nationalists, Marxists and militants; and that support is because of the work I have done over the years representing everyone. These people are solidly behind us, and remain solidly behind us until this battle is won,” Mr. Warren told The Final Call.
On June 28, Mr. Warren told The Final Call during a phone interview that the police department had referred their incident to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. “That’s a laugh; they do not have the authority to review our case without us petitioning them to do so,” he stressed. He added that he saw this as an attempt to “ultimately” legitimize the incident.