6th Precinct denies gay youth charges of brutality


By Albert Amateau

More than 100 protesters organized by the Audre Lorde Project, a Brooklyn-based advocacy group for lesbian, gay and transgender youth of color, gathered in front of the Sixth Police Precinct last week and charged that precinct police beat two black men on Christopher St. on Nov. 1.

Chanting slogans and carrying signs denouncing what they said was systematic racism and brutality, demonstrators marched on Nov. 29 behind barriers in front of the W. 10th St. police station, with Deputy Inspector Theresa Shortell — the precinct’s commanding officer — and other officers looking on.

Protesters demanded that charges against Shakur Trammel, arrested Nov. 1 at the end of the traditional impromptu Halloween gathering on Christopher St., be dropped. They also called for the dismissal of a police officer identified only as Toccos and demanded to know the names of all officers involved in the Nov. 1 incident.

Detective Mike Singer, community affairs officer of the precinct, said on Dec. 4 that Shortell would not comment on the accusations because they are under investigation by the Police Department and Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Singer, however, confirmed that three people — a man and two women — were arrested during the incident at Christopher and Hudson Sts. Trammel, 23, was charged with second-degree assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct; Elisia Douglas was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct; and Marcella Rivera received a summons for disorderly conduct but was not held, Singer said.

Imani Henry, an organizer with the Audre Lorde Project, said last week that the beating occurred around 4:30 a.m. Henry said three patrol cars and about eight officers were involved in the incident in which Shakur, 5 feet 7 inches and weighing 130 pounds, was handcuffed, punched, kicked and held to the ground in a chokehold with a nightstick by Officer Toccos, who is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 180 pounds.

“We also want the name of a 30-year-old black man who was brutally beaten because he wanted to witness the brutality,” said Henry, who added that Trammel reported seeing several other black men being held bleeding in the station lockup when he arrived there.

But an officer, who declined to identify himself but said he was on duty during the early hours of Nov. 1, told a different story. He said that minimal force was used when the defendants resisted arrest and that Deputy Inspector Shortell was present at the time. The defendants were not put in a patrol car but were walked back to the nearby police station with Shortell walking along with them, the officer said. The two women, sisters, were held in a cell together until their mother arrived, the officer said.

A statement issued by protesters at the Nov. 29 demonstration said that Trammel was attacked after he demanded one officer’s badge number. The statement also said that Trammel had told police when he was brought to the precinct station at 233 W. 10th St. that he was a transsexual male and wanted to be held in a separate cell but the request was ignored.

In a phone interview with The Villager, Henry accused the largely white New York Police Department with systematic racism and youth and gender profiling and he invoked the name of Sean Bell, the unarmed man shot by police in Queens on Nov. 25.