A First-Hand Glimpse at NYC Jurisprudence / or Oblique Slight Adventures in Civics / or Inconveniences of a Malcontent

by Moses E. Hoskins

An incident occurred during a demonstration at The Trumpty Dumpty Building, aka Faulty Tower, aka Tower of Babble, on 5th Avenue on a Monday night in the summer of 2017, wherein I was forcibly arrested by the NYPD. It was an interesting education for me as I have never been incarcerated before. Eventually, expert legal counsel from The Legal Aid Society was provided. The case is mentioned toward the end of this article in the Daily Newshttp://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/protester-busted-punching-trump-fan-night-rallies-article-1.3415182.

So you know: the short version is (that) “they”/ the cop(s) asked me to move and I just said “no.” It was an isolated incident at the edge of the growing swarm of protesters, about an hour in. I was not released for a full 24 hours after the actual arrest . . . Ridiculously, The Law was disproportionately applied/misappropriated . . .

Physically, the 24 hours in the famous Tombs was probably no worse than waiting through a protracted layover/delay at a shitty airport. I can recall snafus at O’Hare and there was also that time being detained with a group in Tehran for several pre-dawn hours. I have been to India so jail filth and stench were not as off-putting to me as it may have been for someone who had never been to India, and I did a 10-day stint at Vipassana once so ennui was not unbearable, and I don’t mind the company of other riff-raff (approximately 15 gentlemen in the cell when I was added to them around 1:30 am after “processing” since 7:30 that night). And I have endured sleep deprivation before, all part of the job. The worst feature was the ubiquitous overhead lighting but I wrapped my face in my black bandana to Turn Off Those Lights . . .

I was told to return to court October 2nd “or else” (be “brought in” on a bench warrant).

Monday, October 2. Very rinky-dink: The prosecution blocked an ACD (Adjournment to Consider Dismissal) but did propose to reduce any criminal charges to “disorderly conduct” which is merely a “violation” (as per disrupting government procedure or some such claptrap) to which I was expected to admit guilt and then serve one day community service (out of gratitude for leniency?), but the lawyer and I said “no, absolutely not.” She was going to file some sort of position paper or other (I do not know legal terms) and I was to reappear in a month, on November 2.

Scuttlebutt has it The Policy has shifted. “They” are cracking down on demonstrators and so what was once eligible for an ACD is now no longer. I guess political demonstrators are expected to atone for any inconvenience Disruptive Behavior has caused The Social Fabric, etc., yadda, yadda & so forth . . . Really, 24 hours in the slammer is more than adequate compensation for any damage I, one diminutive John Q. Public, have brought upon Sacred Civic Stability . . .

To be fair, originally “They” did agree to call it “done” had I pled guilty as charged to the original several charges with time considered served. But we decided to not do that . . . so now it is one of those principle(s)-of-the-thing situations.

Thursday, November 2.  Delayed/postponed until December 7, awaiting the judge’s decision.

Thursday, December 7. Judge Jabba the Hutt rules against defendant. As it happened I was more or less extorted into pleading “guilty” to “disorderly conduct,” which is classified as not a crime but a “violation” and will not appear on My Permanent Record (like from grade school/ Go Sit in the Hall.) I was ordered to pay $120 for “court costs,” even though it is they/”Them” who caused the trouble. It was either this or end up in an actual trial over misdemeanors and as The System clearly is not trustworthy, possibly not capable, to dispense Justice, it was best to forgo anything further. I’ll not go on about it— scenarios from Daumier, Hogarth, etc. . . .

For what it was/is, although galling, I came out OK. I managed to not vocalize my thoughts or flip The Bird during any appearances before The Bench and so was never additionally charged with contempt of court before it was over and done with. Altogether, for me, this was an existentially enriching experience.

Keep the aspidistra flying. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. Carry on. IWBOSE (ItWillBeOverSoonEnough) / Moses E Hoskins

Photo by Moses Hoskins (Mumbai, 2015)

  1. dennis joyce says:

    Mo, I admire your courage. I hope when it’s my turn to take a stand I can follow your example.


  2. Theresa Brewer says:

    Wow, such BS. “They” have very much the power. Scary when one somehow gets under their microscope…


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