Approximately 150 white off-duty patrolmen and detectives, and civilians attacked and beat a small group of Black Panthers and white sympathizers in the Brooklyn Criminal Court Wednesday, Sept. 4th. The attackers, many shouting “White Power” and wearing George Wallace for President buttons, were responding to a pamphlet distributed by the Law Enforcement Group of New York which urged “all patrolmen and loyal Americans” to “stand up and be counted in court.”
Later, Robert Raggi, chairman of LEG, denied that his group had urged or condoned the action, denouncing the attack as “racist.” He defended the patrolmen however, claiming recent attacks and harassment of Brooklyn police as motivation “strong enough in some minds to warrant reactions of this type.” Lt. George Aponte of the Brooklyn Panthers, one of those attacked in the courtroom, told an uneasy group of followers and reporters that “we are going to take our cause to the street. I don’t believe we can get justice anywhere.”
The attack was the strongest evidence to date of a new militancy on the part of patrolmen. LEG, a direct outgrowth of this “New Right” movement, was founded earlier this year to abolish the Civilian Complaint Review Board and to remove civilian workers from precinct houses. The Review Board is the only viable civilian control over police actions in the city today. “We want police affairs handled by police; we know our job and do it as long as we aren’t interfered with,” said Raggi. The militants are chiefly young patrolmen in their twenties reacting to what they see as intolerable conditions. Their support for Wallace is linked to his campaign promise of law and order and a strong police system.”
The Panthers appeared in court after unsuccessfully seeking reduction of bail for three young blacks held on a charge of assaulting police. Bail for George Correa, Daryl Baines, and John Martinez amounts to $32,500 for the three. They have been bound over for trial following a preliminary hearing.