Last night, Saturday December 15th 2012, at around 5pm in East Harlem (El Barrio), two members of the socio-political Hip Hop fusion band, The Welfare Poets (Michael Pacheco - The Legendary M.I.C. and Keith Hughes - Dahu Alah), along with their film crew Ricky Turner and Wander Acosta (who are also members of the Hip Hop group Lower Class Citizens) were arrested while filming a music video at the NYCHA's James Weldon Johnson Houses by NYPD for criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. Additionally Iz The Truth (Israel Balleto) of Guerrilla Republik (a progressive Hip Hop clothing company and organization in which the Welfare Poets are directly a part of) and Boom Box were also arrested. The Welfare Poets were filming footage for an upcoming music video.
In a case like this, anyone arrested is booked at a precint (in this case, the NYPD Service Area #5) and sent downtown to Manhattan Central Booking to be processed -- for a misdemeanor a normal person would be out in less than 24 hours. Although this might be the case for the two Welfare Poets and the others who were with them, what makes what happened here different is when they were all initially stopped by the cops, the police officers said they would probably be given a summons and released without going to the precinct. Once the cops found out that the collective were part of The Welfare Poets, the officers started claiming that the group was connected to Los Macheteros and how they knew about them (The Welfare Poets) -- how they have has their eyes on the collective for some time. The officers called their sergeant and it was decided to arrest the six and take them to the precinct to be booked and eventually sent downtown for further processing thru central booking where they would face an arraignment judge. At least seven cops came to arrest group.
Los Macheteros (Machete-Wielders) are a clandestine militant organization based on the island of Puerto Rico. They campaign for, and support, the decolonization and independence of Puerto Rico from the United States. In 1983, Los Macheteros were accused of stealing approximately $7 million from a Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Connecticut. The money obtained from this operation was allegedly used to help fund the Puerto Rican independence movement. On September 23rd 2005, the FBI assassinated its leader, Filiberto Ojeda Rios claiming it was an attempt to serve an arrest warrant on him, who the surrounded his house in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico.
We are urging anyone and everyone to first spread the word virtually through all your available means, and then to call down to 100 Center Street, the Manhattan Criminal Court Building and inquire about these brothers. The Welfare Poets are long time community activist and educators in addition to being artists committed to addressing and improving the conditions of oppressed people everywhere. Their unwavering commitment has made them targets over the years to units like the Hip Hop Police and the NYPD in general. Whether at a rally, on death row, in a school or the community in general, The Welfare Poets have been there for all without compromise. In the end, if you can head down to the courthouse in lower Manhattan at 100 Center Street today (now!!!), please do so. If you are a lawyer and know of the work that these brothers (and sisters) do, have done and will continue to do, use whatever means you have to reach out on the behalf of all these individuals. We will not let our community artists be harassed by this repressive police force or any/all repressive forces in this country.
For assistance you can call:
To call the courthouse and inquire on the behalf of all these brother:
To head down there in person right now!!!!
100 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013
Take the No. 4 or 5 train to the Brooklyn Bridge Station; the C, N, R, 6 train to Canal Street; the 1 train to Franklin Street.
Take the 1, 6 or 15 bus line.
Michael Pacheco’s arrest number: 787448
The case#: 2012ny093918
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