As New York prepares for LGBTQ pride celebrations, a new case of homophobia-driven police brutality has sobered the city.
On the night of May 17, Jeannette Grey and Tiffany Jimenez were both brutally beaten by uniformed NYPD officers outside the IFE Lounge, a nightclub located at 565 Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
The attack mobilized community members across the borough. Hundreds gathered to express support and solidarity in a demonstration held in front of the NYPD’s 77th Precinct on Saturday, June 6.
“I don’t feel safe with the NYPD anymore,” said Tiffany Jimenez tearfully at the rally. “I feel like they’re the ones committing hate crimes against us.”
Grey and Jimenez, both self-described lesbians of color, recalled how they had been subjected to unwarranted brutality outside of the nightclub as homophobic slurs were screamed at them from the officers. They were beaten, they said, with nightsticks and forced to the ground.
“They had the audacity in front of their own sergeant and the rest of their brothers and sisters to say, ‘We are having some dyke pussy in here tonight!’” Grey said of the officers. As she was being beaten, Grey said she thought of Martin Luther King Jr. and willed her body to go slack. “I know wholeheartedly that not all cops engage in this behavior,” she said at the rally. “What we need now is for the good cops to not walk away when they see injustice being done.”
New York City Council member Letitia James attended the rally and promised to demand NYPD to drop all charges against the two women. The case reminds many of last year’s embittered battle of the New Jersey 4.
As Saturday’s demonstrators hoisted rainbow adorned signage and responded in thunderous unison to rallying calls, organizers from GLOBE, Make the Road New York and the Audre Lorde Project exhorted: “There is no need to fear the people that are supposed to protect us. We are not as powerless as we are led to believe.”