Case Set for Trial on August 17
On the night of the IFE lounge arrests the DA told the NYPD that they would not prosecute Tiffany Jimenez due to a lack of evidence that she had engaged in any criminal activity. However, in a highly irregular move, NYPD officers went ahead and wrote her two summons for disorderly conduct despite the DA's decision not to prosecute her on any criminal charges.
In response to hundreds of calls to the Kings County DA’s office on the part of community members, Kings County Assistant DA John Rudikoff called the Audre Lorde Project on July 17th. In a conversation with ALP staff member Trishala Deb he indicated that the DA’s office had declined to prosecute charges against Tiffany, and even went as far to call the charges “baseless”. In light of these statements, we expected that the charges would be dropped when she appeared in court on July 20th. Instead, Judicial Hearing Officer Kay denied Tiffany’s motion to dismiss the charges, and instead put the case over for trial on August 17, 2009 in Kings County Criminal Court SAP 3.
We at the Audre Lorde Project are outraged by the unfounded and clearly retaliatory actions of the 77th Precinct in issuing these summons in disregard of the DA’s finding. Tiffany has vowed to continue to fight the charges saying “I feel persecuted. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m so thankful that the community is still supporting me.” Ejeris Dixon, Program Coordinator of the Audre Lorde Project stated, “The Audre Lorde Project will continue to fight for justice for Tiffany despite Judge Kay’s actions.”
Please continue to check our website for updates on how you can support both Tiffany, Jg, and the fight to end violence against our community!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to join ALP and the S.O.S. Collective’s listserves so that you can get email updates about the case.
How can the DA decline to prosecute but the trial continues?
The DA does not prosecute summons, they are just heard by an administrative judge. Therefore the District Attorney’s office claims that it is now powerless to dismiss the charges against Tiffany. Additionally LGBT Liaison to the Police Commissioner’s Office Tim Duffy claims that the NYPD cannot withdraw the summons once they are issued. As a result, Tiffany’s ordeal continues, as she now has no choice but to stand trial on these trumped up charges. Therefore Tiffany must now continue to defend herself in summons court (SAP3), 120 Schermerhorn Street, on August 17th at 9 am.
The Usual Arrest Process Versus What Happened to Tiffany
Generally, when a person is arrested and taken into NYPD custody, the arrest paperwork is sent from the precinct to the District Attorney’s Early Crime Assessment Bureau for review. If the DA’s office finds the allegations sufficient to sustain charges, an accusatory instrument is drawn up and the person arrested is either brought before the judge for an arraignment at that time or given a Desk Appearance Ticket to appear for arraignment at a later date. If the DA does not find the allegations sufficient to sustain the charges and declines to prosecute them, at that point, the NYPD usually just releases the person arrested without charges.
In this case, NYPD officers of the 77th Precinct decided to go ahead and bring their own charges, without the DA’s involvement, by issuing Tiffany two summons for disorderly conduct.
What initially happened?
In the early morning of Sunday May 17, 2009 several officers from20the 77th Precinct went to the Ife Lounge in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. As some officers began assaulting the promoter of the party, Jeannette Gray, while subjecting her to homophobic slurs, others began to violently push the crowd gathering around Gray. Officers pushed Tiffany Jimenez to the ground as she tried to leave the area with her friends to avoid the commotion, assaulted her, and subjected her to homophobic verbal abuse and harassment. She was then arrested, taken into police custody, and unjustly charged with two counts of disorderly conduct.
In response to this incident the Audre Lorde Project and Make the Road New York organized a protest against the 77th Precinct attended by over 250 community members including Council Member Letitia James. NYPD officers responded by telling members of the press that Tiffany was so intoxicated on the night of the incident that she had to be taken to the hospital. This allegation is blatantly false: Jimenez was never taken for medical treatment of any kind while in police custody. She only sought treatment for the injuries she suffered at the hands of the police several days after she was released.
On July 16th and 17th the Audre Lorde Project and Make the Road New York launched a phone campaign in support of Jimenez. This campaign mobilized hundreds of concerned community members to call the Kings County District Attorney and demand that the charges against Jimenez be dropped.