On June 28, 2011 friends, family and fans of hip hop artists, Pete Rock and Smif & Wessun gathered to celebrate the release of a new collaborative project titled Monumental. According to reports, the sold-out event, held at Tammany Hall in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, was peaceful on the inside and outside. Earlier in the evening, a minor altercation ensued but was handled promptly and peacefully by the nenue’s security. Approximately 1/2 hour later nearly 20 police arrived on the scene. Since there were no incidents or disturbances at that time, they met up with officers who were exiting the venue. As the officers gathered, it is reported they began to put on gloves and more officers arrived. En masse, these officers entered the venue and began macing and assaulting guests, artists, as well as family members of the featured artists.
Mayhem erupted as the officers forcefully began ushering people out of the venue. Outside of the venue even more officers awaited and aggressively pushed, beat, maced, and verbally assaulted guests as they were being forced out. Several people were beaten and had to be taken to local hospitals. At least 5 were arrested and held and are now being called, The Monuental 5.
Several eyewitness accounts, cell phone videos and photos show groups of officers beating civilians with wands and fists. In some cases even women. By all accounts, the incident was completely unprovoked and any resistance was due to the excessive force used by police to break up an otherwise peaceful event.
An official protest was mounted and held in NY on July 5 and civil leaders are pressing forward to seek restitution for the injustices that occurred as well as to build defense funds for the 5 individuals who were arrested. More details as well as videos of the assault, information on how you can be involved and more can be found via this website created to keep the public informed about this unfortunate incident.