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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Parade Goers Told To March To Jail
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New York City’s Puerto Rican Day Parade has always been swarmed with its fair share of controversy. It turned into a grope-fest in 2000 when some young men became overly aggressive with the women in the crowd, but rather than try to address such issues tactfully, and perhaps arrest the people actually doing the wrong things, the NYPD went out this year and just started arresting everyone. Over 200 people ended up being taken in by the police and Reign, a former Artist of the Week here at Adam’s World, was one of those unfortunate parade goers that ended up locked up for what seemed to be simply showing up.

Reign’s Puerto Rican Day Parade experience never ended up actually involving the parade. According to Reign, after he made his way to NYC from Long Island with a group of friends and started walking up the parade route he immediately saw a group of older men in Puerto Rico t-shirts “pushing some younger dudes around.” Before he and his friends could find out what was going on the older men had Reign and his friends in zip cuffs (which are basically thick cable ties). The men in the t-shirts turned out to be undercover cops and Reign was told he and his friends were going to be charged with Unlawful Assembly and Disorderly Conduct, which came as a surprise to everyone since “Unlawful Assembly” sure sounded like an odd charge for people at a city sanctioned parade.

Due to the high volume of arrests that day Reign ended up having to spend a night in jail before getting to see a lawyer or a judge. When he did finally see a lawyer at 10am the next day he was given some news he didn’t take well. “He told me they were willing to drop the charge of Unlawful Assembly if I pled guilty to Disorderly Conduct.” Reign would have nothing of that, knowing he didn’t do anything wrong he wasn’t about to plead guilty to something just to please the system. To add insult to injury after he pled not guilty and was given an August trial date he found out the property clerk was conveniently off that day. Calling back on the 12th, as he wasn’t about to make the long trip in from Long Island again without knowing his stuff was available to him, he was told he wouldn’t get his things back until the 15th, five full days after the arrest.

The most distressing aspect of all of this for Reign is approaching his son about what happened. Trying to teach a child respect for authority when authority does this to his own family is a tricky matter. Reign admits “I actually was trying to keep him from knowing about it, but he found out from hearing conversations I had with others. I really don't want to him to be influenced by my opinion on things and my likes and dislikes. I've been fucked with by police before so I tend to have a negative outlook on them, but yet in still, I don't want him to feel a certain way because I do. But when shit like this happens, how do I explain it in a truthful yet positive way? The police fucked up, but I feel this is deeper than that because they were given orders from higher places and that is the real root of the problem.”

Reign feels the parade was clearly a target as it’s the largest gathering of Hispanics NYC has, but adds there is larger issue at hand here. “You would think in 2007, in America, people would be acting more precautious and tolerant of other's beliefs and religions, but this just goes to show you that no matter what you have, do, or are in life, you can be discriminated upon and subjected to the mercies of the system, whether you like it or not.”

When Reign’s case goes to trial in August we’ll have the full report for you here at Adam’s World. Currently he can be reached at myspace.com/supremereign and his work can be viewed at DefSounds.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:52 AM  
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