Radical media, politics and culture.

Long Island Activist Going to Trial, Seeks Court Support

Anonymous Comrade writes: Please forward far and wide
to all activist lists and support groups. I need your help! Andy's court date had been moved because of expected attendance!

Activist Andy Stepanian is asking for court support for December 11-14th, 2001, at 8:30 am at Nassau Courthouse, Old Country Road, Mineola (Long Island) (directions below).

Update from Andy:

"I was informed at my last court appearence that the trial wich had originally been set to begin November 26th had now been pushed back to December 10th, for reasons not fully explained... Both my lawyer and I surmise that the mass attendance of supporters pushed the courts to move the date back in hopes less people would attend my trial. There also apears to be some light at the end of this tunnel, and I ask everybody to please help me reach some justice in this case. Please be sure to attend my court dates, December 11th-14th (do not attend the 10th, that day is jury selection and an overwhelming attendance will hinder and agrivate the judge in his selection process.) I love each and every one of you people, you activists are my brothers and sisters in struggle.

Love and Liberation

Andy Stepanian"

Statement from Andy

Dear Friends:

As many of you know I have been in and out of legal trouble because of my involvement in the Animal Defense League Ð LongIsland and my actions as an activist. I served 3 months in jail at the beginning of this year and have been arrested 14 times by overzealous law enforcement who have labeled me a key organizer of activism on Long Island. I have been issued additional charges that carry a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison and I am writing this to beg you to help me in any way you see fit.

On December 12th of 2000 Daniel Scarengella and I were leaving a protest at Barbatsulli Bros. Furs in Garden City LI.Iimmediately after, my car was pulled over by detectives in an unmarked car. Daniel, who was driving my car, was arrested and the officers demanded to impound my car. I was told to take my schoolbag, surrender my keys and walk away from the scene by my car westbound on 10th St. in Garden City. When I questioned the arrest of Daniel, I too was arrested, charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration. When at the police precinct I was questioned and denied the presence of my attorney, fellow activists who came to the precinct were told I was not arrested and to leave the precinct, and I was beaten by officers during 3 instances. The beatings stemmed from one detective's assumptions that I was a homosexual. He commented on certain items and accessories (rainbow necklace, and pokemon school binder) I had on me and the sexuality of myself and Daniel. In response to the detective's anti-gay hate rethoric I commented in rebutal to the detective and was subsequently hit. I sustained beatings 2 more times while at the precinct, the worst resulted in the splitting of my right eyebrow, I bled profusely from the small wound above my eye and was later hospitalized; all my other injuries were minor. I was treated by Winthop Hospital Doctors and then released to be booked at the Nassau County Detention Center. There I was jailed until court in the morning.

In court the following morning I was informed I was being charged with assault on a police officer in the second degree. In addition to my obstruction charge, my bail was $2,500 and was paid by fellow activists within 2 days. In June of this year a Grand Jury was called to investigate the police's claim that I somehow assaulted them, I took the stand (an action not commonly taken) to dispute any claims that police may have made against me. Later in June the Grand Jury indicted me on the charge of assault in the second degree, and I have still have yet been given the claims made by the officers.

I have refused to even have talks about any plea bargains from the Nassau District Attorney's Office based on the simple fact that I am not only innocent in this case but I was victimized and beaten. Due to my refusal to accept any plea bargains I will be taking this case to a jury trail beginning on December 10th and running until at least December 14th. It is here that I ask you for help. I am facing a maximum sentence of 11 years imprisonment, I need all the court support I can get. Please make up flyers with the following info! Please attend any and all of the courtdates during that week, and please help me in any way you can legally! If and when you attend my court dates please be respectful, dress well and be prepared to be searched by law enforcement as you enter the courthouse.

Winning this case is exceptionally important me for so many reasons. I have seen and felt what it is like to have your freedoms and life taken away and that plagues me every day, but bothers me most is that one day these rouge officers may in fact kill a homosexual whom they arrest or beat an arrestee into a coma because of their hate and bigotry. I cannot have the thought of another individual in the future enduring a beating at the hands of these officers on my conscience. It is for these reasons that I will fight this case tooth and nail so that an eventual justice may be served, and it is for all those reasons that I beg for your help!

Love and Liberation

Andy Stepanian

Be sure to attend each and every court date December 11thÐ14th!

Most important dates will be December 11th abd December 14th!

Meet on north steps of the Courthouse on Old Country Road and County Seat Drive at 8:30 sharp! (Activists and supporters will walk in as a group at 9am sharp! Do not be late!)

Directions by car:

Take The Long Island Expressway to Exit 37 (Willis Ave. South)

Follow Willis Ave. South towards Minneola Ñ 5 miles

Willis Ave will end at Old Country Road

Directly In Front of You Will Be The Courthouse
Parking can be found on Courthouse south side

Meet on north steps at 8:30am!

Directions by train:

From NYC's Penn Station
Take the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to the Mineola stop

Then walk south on Minneola Ave 1/2 block,

Make a left onto Old Country Road

Walk 3 blocks east along Old Country Road

Courthouse will be on your right just after County Seat Dr.

Meet on north steps at 8:30am!

"Never have so many been held incommunicado by so few. More and more have the right to hear and see, but fewer and fewer have the privilege of informing, giving their opinion and creating. The dictatorship of the single word and the single image, much more devastating than that of the single party, is imposing a life whose exemplary citizen is a docile consumer and passive spectator built on the assembly line following the North American model of commercial television." Ñ Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan writer, author of The Open Veins of Latin America andMemory of Fire.