Club Rendez-Vous, located on Flatbush between Farragut and Glenwood, was one of the few places to go see live Haitian compas music.
The Brooklyn neighborhood is home to one of the largest concentration of Haitians in the United States. The arrival of boatloads of undocumented Haitians on the shores of the United States created a refugee crisis throughout the s and early s. Unlike their Cuban counterparts, Haitian requests for political asylum were met with the highest rejection rate of any immigrant group. The refugees were routinely detained and deported by immigration authorities.
Their successful slave revolt irrevocably disputed ideologies of Black inferiority and severely ruptured the European worldview that could hardly fathom the possibility of a Black republic. To compensate for these incongruences in the European colonial imagination, the United States constructed Haitians as menacing threats.
Almost years later, U. Americans were warned that Haitians would infect them with disease, take their jobs, and "Im white and hookup a haitian man to testify against hillary" their social welfare resources. As a result of such ominous projections, among those seeking asylum in the United States, Haitians became the only national group required to take HIV tests. After being categorized as a high-risk group by the CDC and the FDA, Haitians living in the United States faced discrimination, which included losing work, being evicted, and experiencing racially motivated attacks.
Defiant of such stigmatizations, Haitians engaged in individual, collective, and political modes of resistance. Through public protests, cultural performances, religious organizations, and voudou rituals, Haitians consistently contested the U.
Cultural practices, music, and Afro-Christian religious rituals have been central to the development of Haitian collective resistance and democracy. Rara street festivals in Haiti bring rural peasant classes and the urban poor together at crossroads, bridges, and cemeteries to perform rituals for Afro-Haitian deities. The cast of characters who have a hand in the six-week-long event includes the captains, priests, queens, sorcerers, musicians, and armies of Rara members as well as the spirits of Afro-Haitian religion, the zonbi recently deadJesus, Judas, and Jews.
The Haitian diaspora has recreated aspects of these musical and religious rituals in the United States. After the democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted by a military coup inRara musicians and their followers played for weeks at the United Nations and in rallies on Capitol Hill, protesting the attack on Haitian democracy.
Their rituals challenged logics that justified police violence and harassment against Black people in general and Haitians in particular. In doing so, Rara participants in Prospect Park reclaimed spaces, places, and politics in order to assert the dignity and value of Haitian immigrants and other oppressed communities. Residents experienced significant shifts in policing once Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was elected in Giuliani largely reversed the governing approaches favored by David Dinkins, an African American mayor who had openly criticized police violence and instituted policies that Im white and hookup a haitian man to testify against hillary greater accountability.
Only a few months into his term, Giuliani issued Police Strategy No. Hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-abatement bribes were given to multinational corporations to move into the city or to stay. Everyday workers, on the other hand, confronted soaring unemployment rates up to 10 percent.
Giuliani skillfully used such social anxieties to pass increasingly punitive policing measures that protected the property interests of the wealthiest neighborhoods and corporations while further disenfranchising the most impoverished populations. Constraints on police power were dismantled for the sake of reestablishing law and order. As the culprits were criminalized, they became threats to those who had the power to commodify and control public space.
The presence of the impoverished people, not their actions, was redefined as criminal. The police will again be given discretion, trained properly, commanded properly, managed properly to stop that kind of behavior.
The aggressive Welfare to Work Program cut off thousands of public assistance recipients. The city replaced thousands of full-time workers with workfare recipients, whose payments translated into below-minimum-wage levels.
As Allen Feldman argues:. This externalization of discipline can be measured in a wide variety of phenomena, including the development of what Mike Davis terms scan-scapes and social control districts and the emergence of the militarized, high technology office building and shopping mall and what are locally termed by the New York City police as safety corridorswhich are, in effect, sites of police colonization in inner-city neighborhoods.
Gounis also has noted the establishment of privatized and volunteer vigilante police forces that patrol such areas as Times Square, Grand Central Station, and the West Village.
These operations, unlike past selective raids and arrests in drug operations, involved complex mechanisms of spatial and bodily control: Like African Americans, Haitians and other Black immigrants were constantly imagined as criminals and often presumed as such by the police.
A year-old Guyanese musician keenly summarized such normalized policing projections as follows:. I would ask them why they are harassing me, but I know that they need very little motivation to shoot me. Giuliani has showed us over and over again that police have the right to shoot black men in open daylight for no reason and that they can get away with it. These shifts in the political geography of New York City had significant effects on the ways that police officers performed their duties and the ways that they understood the limits of their power.
But such punitive methods encouraged NYPD officers to feel as though their power should not be challenged. Louima and Nicholas were about to go home when a fight broke out between two women.
Louima and Nicholas got out of their car to see what was going on. As more people spilled out in front of the club, the police arrived. The cops attempted to disperse the crowd using increasingly forceful tactics and demeaning words.
Turetzky threatened to kick a pregnant woman in the stomach. They talked back and some of them threw bottles. The crowd grew increasingly agitated, letting the police know that they would not tolerate being disrespected.
By virtue of their numbers, Haitians dominated the space. A drunk Haitian man by the name of John Rejouis was verbally confronting Volpe, insisting he had rights. Attempting to prove his authority, Rejouis showed Volpe a badge, indicating that he was a New York City prison guard. In response, Volpe slapped his hand, knocking the badge and Rejouis to the ground. Seeing this exchange, Louima confronted Volpe regarding his treatment of Rejouis.
Volpe began pushing Louima away, and tensions rose as Louima refused to budge.
Louima was hit and knocked to the ground. Nicholas took off running. Mistakenly thinking that Louima was the one who struck him and that Louima was the one who took off running, Volpe joined the chase.
Patrick Antoine, another Haitian immigrant, was walking in the neighborhood unaware of what was happening at Club Rendez-Vous. As other officers caught up to Volpe, they started beating and kicking Antoine. The officers placed Antoine under arrest, charging him with felony assault, obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.
Louima arrived at the 70th Precinct around 4 a. He had been beaten twice in the patrol car before arriving at the precinct. Schwarz and Wiese presented Louima to Sergeant Jeffrey Fallon at the front desk and began filling out paperwork. Volpe arrived at the precinct shortly after Schwarz and Wiese and saw Louima at the front desk.
He placed the bottom of the stick behind a locker and placed the upper half behind the garbage can in the precinct bathroom. A moment of planning and premeditation? Imagining—so far in fantasy only—what he would do with the upper half of the broomstick, Volpe asked Officer Mark Schofield, who was standing near the front desk, for a pair of gloves.
Schofield offered Volpe a pair of leather gloves. At some point Volpe put the gloves on. They were grabbing my wallet. They found some money and took it out. Volpe and the other officer punched him in the head and body. The accomplice grabbed Louima by the handcuffs and lifted him from the ground. Louima, however, remembered the feces-covered stick, which he believed was a toilet plunger, being rammed into his mouth.
With Louima crying in pain, Volpe lifted him to his feet and took him to the same holding cell where Antoine was also being held. Before putting him in the cell, Volpe told Louima that if he told anybody what had happened, Volpe would kill him. Volpe returned the leather gloves he had borrowed to Officer Schofield, who protested that they were soiled.