Fields to take March issues before CCRB
By GLORIA DULAN WILSON
Contrary to claims by many Million Youth March
organizers and participants, not all elected
officials abrogated their responsibilities or concern
for their constituents.
Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, who
was present at Saturday’s march, has launched a call
for an investigation into the way police handled
Saturday’s event calling the NYPD’s actions
"I think that the tactics that were used were
excessive," Fields said. "There was nothing that
suggested that they were warranted. On balance this
must be investigated from this perspective as well."
Fields said she could not ignore the number of people
who have been calling her office and home and
"talking to me in the streets about concerns with
respect to how they were treated. And we’re talking
about how to improve our city.
"They have to address the concerns of all the people
in this city. The spectators who were out there, the
people who live in the area, the people who were just
passing through, were all subjected to a frightening
situation. There is nothing to suggest that kind of
tactic should have used."
The borough president stated that none of the
hostilities predicted by the mayor were in evidence.
There were even pleasant conversations between the
participants and the police and while she condemned
some some of the speeches as "offensive" she noted
that toward the close of the program the atmosphere
began to change considerably.
"As I moved across 118th Street, people were running
toward 7th Avenue. Police across the street in arms
were moving towards them. I immediately asked to see
Police Chief Estavillo. He came and saw it, and he
did, to his credit, moved the police officers back.
And I wanted to know from him, ‘This thing is over
now, what is going on, what is the reason for moving
on these people; what is the plan?’ The plan, he
said, was to get people to leave the street. I agreed
that we had to get people to leave the street, but we
cannot rush them."
Though she was initially against the march and is
still not in favor of Khallid Muhammad as
representative of the best interest of the youth
Borough President C. Virginia Fields and her staff
were present throughout the day observing the events.
States Fields: "We were there from about 11:30 a.m.
until about 7 pm. During that time we walked around
the community, in and out of some of the businesses
around 125th Street, checking with people to see how
things were going. Perkins’ office was a
communication site for us and some of the over 100
observers who were volunteering to be sure that
things were going okay. We had a command station at
118th street. We were in communication throughout the
According to Fields, things were generally peaceful,
with the exception of police trying to block people
from getting to 118th Street. "Then, about 4 p.m., we
saw the two helicopters flying low, and we got a call
from the people at 118th Street saying the police
were there in riot gear, appearing about to storm the
stage. This is what happened simultaneously with the
helicopters flying low over the people," she told the
"I support the mayor’s investigation about the
injured cops. But the investigation must be expanded
to determine the tactics especially the reckless
actions around helicopters flying low, possibly
endangering lives not only of the people who were
there but also police officers. It has to be
addressed, and I will be calling upon the district
attorney tomorrow in an effort to get them to move on
Fields, who marched with Martin Luther King in the
60’s said it was the same atmosphere she experienced
when police dogs menaced and attacked the peaceful
marchers of her day except this time the police were
in riot gear and on horseback.