If the wave of protests against systemic racism in policing that took place during the summer of 2020 taught us anything it’s that cops really hate when we protest against them. But one thing they love, apparently, is explicitly demonstrating the exact reasons they get protested against.
On June 14, 2020, Derrick Ingram, co-founder of the nonviolent activist group Warriors In The Garden, was involved in a protest in Manhattan, New York. During the protest, an NYPD officer attempted to prevent Ingram from crossing a police line resulting in an alleged struggle. In a statement to CNN, NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said Ingram allegedly “placed a handheld megaphone directly against the officer’s ear, activated the megaphone and yelled, causing pain and protracted impairment of hearing.”
Now, if that’s true, it is certainly something Ingram shouldn’t have done and should pay the consequences for—but not when those consequences include dozens of cops in riot gear swarming his apartment, pointing sniper rifles at him and lying about having a warrant. Yet, according to a federal lawsuit filed by Ingram on Wednesday, that’s exactly what happened.
But before we get to the lawsuit, let’s talk about what allegedly happened during the raid.
According to a statement by the Warriors In The Garden, on August 7, 2020, more than 30 police vehicles were stationed outside Ingram’s building. Police dogs were on the scene and so were police snipers who had rifles pointed at Ingram’s window, the statement claims. McRorie told CNN the officers were “seeking him for an open complaint report for an assault on a police officer,” but she didn’t comment on whether it was true that they went full Seal Team Six while doing so.
At any rate, Ingram wasn’t arrested that day and instead turned himself in to police the next day.
According to Gothamist, Ingram was initially charged with felony assault for using his bullhorn to shout in the ear of Officer Desirae Lafurno, who reportedly identified Ingram after her boyfriend searched “#Blacklivesmatter” on Instagram and found photos of the 28-year-old. The charge was downgraded to a misdemeanor then ultimately dismissed in May for reasons that are unclear.
Ingram’s lawsuit against the department—which he said is aimed at exposing the NYPD’s campaign of “intimidation, harassment, and manipulation,” and to hold officers accountable for “publicly terrorizing” him—alleges that Detective Andrew Smith, a member of what Gothamist reported to be a “controversial warrant squad,” claimed to have a warrant, but later conceded that he did not. Smith also claimed the army of cops were there, not because of what happened to Lafurno, but because he wanted to talk to Ingram about a separate incident, in which he had accused officers of police brutality in Bayside, Queens.
Gothamist noted that in the video footage of the incident Ingram posted to Instagram, someone from outside the apartment can be heard shouting, “We’re giving you the opportunity to come out and talk to us rather than us breaking your door and forcing our way in. You know we’re not going to go away.”
Seems like cops who had a warrant wouldn’t need to do the whole “Come on out, we just want to talk” thing.
“The NYPD scrambled to justify their siege of Mr. Ingram’s home based on a fabricated complaint against him,” Alyssa Isidoridy, Ingram’s attorney, said in a statement. “But that justification was entirely pretextual. The extraordinary show of force used against Mr. Ingram shows that the siege was retaliation—plain and simple.”