Defiant Community Activists Refuse Plea Deals, Demand Charges Be Dropped
Two outspoken community activists who fight against alleged police misconduct were back in court on charges they harassed police. You first saw a video of their confrontation on 57th street with cops on NY1. Criminal Justice Reporter Dean Meminger says the activists are demanding that all charges be dropped.
This confrontation landed Joseph Jazz Hayden in handcuffs a month ago.
The Harlem activist was still talking tough Wednesday after a brief court hearing.
"I have no respect for them," said Hayden. "I have absolutely no respect for people, bullies, because that is all they are."
Hayden and fellow activist Five Mualimm-Ak were arrested after Hayden videotaped officers dealing with an emotionally disturbed man. When officer Ahmed Abdalla asked Hayden to move back, the two got into the confrontation.
Hayden is charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, harassment and obstructing governmental administration.
His lawyer says the charges are nonsense on the part of police and prosecutors.
"They said by simply standing on the street there could be an inference that he was tending to cause public inconvenience and alarm, by taking out his camera," said Robert Boyle, Hayden's attorney.
"You are allowed to videotape the actions of the police," Boyle said.
Five Mualimm-Ak, a member of Mayor Bill de Blasio's task force on behavioral health, appeared in court as well. Cops say he tried to prevent Jazz Hayden from getting arrested. He says the charges should be dropped.
"Stop wasting vital city resources and funds to prosecute those who literally work with the city to make better change," Mualimm-Ak said.
The activists and their attorneys say they don't plan to plead guilty to any charges and they say they will go to trial if that's what the NYPD and Manhattan office want to do.
"He is not guilty of the charges," said Gideon Oliver, lawyer for Mualimm-Ak. "The prosecutor today offered misdemeanor plea and three days of community service. If they want to see Five's community service, they can come and see the work he does every single day."
In June, they'll find out if the judge tosses the case out or moves forward with it.