Monday, October 05, 2009

Police Brutality - New York's Finest!

Now I can add arrested in Grand Central Station to my resume.

UPDATE, APRIL 2010: Both disorderly conduct charges against me have been dismissed!

UPDATE October: thanks for all the response here, and also for the blogs who have linked here. From what it seems now: turns out this was not the NYPD. It was the MTA police department. Who knew, the MTA had a police force? I'm being helped by Erik at the office of speaker Christine Quinn. One of the main reasons I spoke up is because other people have spoken up in the past, so for future reference--if something like this happens to you in NYC, please contact:

Erik Bottcher
LGBT Community Liaison
HIV/AIDS Community Liaison
Speaker Christine C. Quinn
New York City Council
(212) 788-5646

Also the Gay & Lesbian anti-violence project: (212) 714-1184
Also the NYCLU, which advocates for your civil rights in NY.

On Friday night, I was walking back to the subway with my friend Stace, about 1:30 in the morning after a friend's birthday party at the Grace Hotel. We cut through the giant main room of Grand Central, and it was really empty so I did a cartwheel. The police called me over, and gave me a ticket for "disorderly conduct". A cartwheel! Are you gonna give every 9 year-old who does a cartwheel a ticket?

It was so unbelievable, and I let them know it. But when they were done issuing me the citation, I start walkinig toward my friend Stace who was waiting nearby. Facing him, not the cops, I utter an expletive about the cops, and next thing I know I'm being tackled by several policemen from behind.

The cops wrench my wrist back, handcuff me, and one of them has my head and is pounding it into the cold hard cement. I was not resisting, I was not fighting. I didn't even see them coming. They were simply going to teach this faggot a lesson! While my brains are being dashed, all I can think (besides, this shouldn't be happening!) was that this kind of injury is exactly how Natasha Richardson died. And here's the thing about having your arms behind your back and your head being smashed repeatedly into the floor of Grand Central Station by the very people who are supposed to protect you: the only thing you can try to do is move your neck from side to side -- so that the blunt force will cause more trauma to your head, than to your face. I blacked out.

Next thing I know I'm in a jail cell in my underwear. Why was I in my underwear? Why wasn't I fingerprinted, booked, or charged? My clothes are outside of this cell and I'm in there thinking if the cops can get away with this, they could make me disappear into one of those CIA web of prisons. I thought I was more in the Ukraine, than the USA. And worse, if I were a black person? I might have been shot.

In the past, I've called the NYPD a couple of times for help, and here's what happened: Once, outside my apartment on Avenue D, I was rushed by a gang of about 5 men trying to get into the building and, I presumed, rob me silly. I managed to get between the two entry doors to my building, put my back against the second door and smash the first door closed on the gangbangers, smashing one of their hands in the process. When the police came after I dialed 911, they told me these kids didn't want to rob me, they probably just wanted to "get onto my roof". That's what the NYPD told me! At the very moment they told me this, another guy walks by and says he was robbed by a gang of 5 guys at the entry of his building, and he described them to the police as I just had. So I ask the officer, "You still really think they were just trying to get to my roof?" And the officer says, non-chalant, "When they couldn't get onto your roof, they decided to go do something else."

Another time I called the NYPD after getting beaten in the West Village. When the cops arrived, they said no arrests could be made--no report filed, because my injuries would have had to have been much more serious. "We're talking lying unconscious in the street," one of them told me.

When there is no arrest made, when there is no report filed...there was no attempted robbery, there was no beating. No "incident" means it did not happen. Which means that NYC is so safe. Which means more tourists. Which means more happy re-elected mayor, more dollars.

But heaven help you if you do a cartwheel in Grand Central Station!

They let me out of jail at around 3:30 in the morning. I had two summons for disorderly conduct and a piece of paper saying I needed hospital treatment but refused. I learn later that my friend Stace was told by the cops to "get lost, or you're going in too" when he saw them take me down.

Once I'm out, I'm hysterically on the phone to Bam. There are cuts to my face, bruising on both sides of my head, ears, and wrist, and though I'm sure there must be good cops out there, the men who tackled and beat me down are the worst kind of thugs.

I can't help but think what they did to me was illegal. That maybe I still retain rights against such excessive force? And that every inch of Grand Central Station is covered by surveillance cameras.


Anonymous said...

Jesse- what an awful story, I can't believe this actually happened in NYC 2009. You should get on the phone with the local ACLU, they might be able to help you. And take photos of the cuts and bruises, they will come in handy. Good luck. . .

Anonymous said...

Terrible story. If, upon sober reflection, you really believe you were a victim of police brutality, you should go to the media and push them to get the surveillance tapes and show them. Oh, and make sure Towleroad and Queerty hear about this. Best of luck. I'm sorry to to learn this is your *third* bad encounter with the cops.

S said...

At least you can use this medium (and twitter, facebook, etc.) to get the story out there; many victims are silenced.

Hopefully people will read this and take some action.

Auntie M said...

Ow. Oh, man. I'm so sorry to hear this. Don't let this go. Get some legal advice. All I can do to help is make a contribution.

Tony said...

Oh Jesse -

So sorry that happened to you. It made my stomach turn and blood boil. Ditto the advice above: get a lawyer - or at least contact Lamda Legal there in NYC. And definitely alert Towleroad and Queerty.
Hang in there. Hugs.

Tré Xavier said...

The policemen's motto is "To Protect And To Serve". Jesse, what happened to you speaks volumes about how too many officers do NOT protect the citizens, and as far as serving goes, all they serve is their own desire to bully, and using their badge as a way to greenlight showing their bigotry.

Like you said, there are good cops out there, and I hope you hold on to that. For someone with a history with the police like yours might lose faith after this instance.

As some others have said, I also hope that you use every available medium to get your story out. The bigotry within and towards the LGBT community needs to stop NOW.

Anonymous said...

Please don't let it go, pursue every legal avenue possible. This should not be let go. With security video footage and your friend witnessing the incident, as well as photos of your injuries, surely you have a good case. I am sorry you experienced this horrible incident. I am sorry cops can be so stupid and so horrible. I hope that you don't stop doing cartwheels. I send all the love and healing vibes that I can muster from the heartland.

AJ said...

Jesse- All the advice you received is good. The main thing is not to drop the issue. Contact the organizations noted in the various comments. Take the recommended pictures of yourself. As a last resort, see if a lawyer would represent you.
I know it will be hard, but try not to judge all police by those few "rotten apples" you have encountered.

xprincessxhellx said...

Oh my god! That is so horrible. I can't believe that shit. So much for tolerance. I would tell you to report it, if I didn't think you'd get killed for doing so.

Auntie M said...

What does Stace have to say about it? Did he get sent away before he could witness anything?

Jesse Archer said...

Thanks for your support, guys. I've sent a letter to the NYCLU, gone to gay & lesbian anti-violence project, spoke to Lamda Legal and will file a citizen complaint. Besides me being an obviously gay man--and doing a cartwheel--there's not much evidence of their motives for using such force. Stace saw most of what happened (one officer approached him as I was being handled), and he'd be my witness.

samadidris said...

that is so unfair. how come shit like that never happens to me.

well, big moolah definitely coming your way. just raise a hell of a stink.

Carl said...

Hey Jesse,

I'm glad you've decided to pursue legal avenues in addressing what happened to you. I can't imagine all the hassle and general expenditure of time, emotion, sweat, and energy that all that will involve, but it just seems like the right thing to do.

Like I said during the exchange of emails between me and you yesterday, as I went from sad, to simmering, to just boiling mad about what had happened to you at the hands of the police, as I thought and stewed some more and stewed still more, I found my own initial naivete appalling! I just didn't WANT to believe that you were targeted because you are gay. But... as my mind raced along angry and upset, I read your blog entry again, and I started envisioning stuff -- VERY troubling stuff... What it all came to seem like to me is, when those officers were first talking to you, they surmised/suspected that you were gay, and then decided to hurt you because they decided you were gay. Or, even more troubling, they decided you were gay shortly before that cartweel, and then decided to get you.

I said in an earlier email of mine to you that it seemed like you were beaten-up for your "free-spirted youthful exuberance" -- hmmm, I'm thinking now those are just my OWN warm friendly terms. And that the actual term the cops surmised in their own mean anti-exuberance anti-free-spirited cop brains is that you were gay, and then they decided to let you have it. And let you have it, they did! Jeez Jesse, I'm so sorry you got hurt! Beaten! blacked out! Put in jail! So sorry you went through all this! Jesus!!

The thought of those cops deciding to go after you because they surmised you're gay is AWFUL AND TERRIFYING. But that is the thought I kept on having, and am having right now. When I first read your blog entry for October 5th, I just did not WANT to believe that, these days especially!, the cops would target someone for harrassment and beating, and worse! because they thought that person was gay. I'm feeling ignorant and naieve, and, I think, as the simmering turned to a full boil, I'm believing that they hurt you because they'd decided you were gay.

This whole situation is extremely troubling, Jesse, to say the least, and I hope your attempts to obtain redress through the legal channels that are open to you are successful. Mainly, though, I wish you had never gotten hurt. Had never gone through any of this. Fooey. Well, at least those cops picked on somebody who has an audience of friends and supporters, and what you went through, you aren't going through alone! When you got hurt, a lot of us got hurt, too!

Anyhow! Again, I am thinking about you, and am sorry as heck this happened to you, sorry as heck anything like this could happen to anyone! And all starting Over what??? An exuberant cartwheel at 1:30 a.m.!!!

I'm sure thinking about you, Jesse, and hope your injuries heal quickly. Some of them, I'm sure, will be slower to heal than others.

Best wishes,


Ted said...

Fight it Fight it Fight it...

Anonymous said...

So sorry that this happened. You might want to consider posting a few photos of your injuries - that will most likely get your story picked up by more blogs, spark some outrage, etc. Yes, there will the the curious and some disparaging remarks but it could help you and others.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're pursuing the legal avenues; you should. Criminal and civil.

But as a neurologist I feel obligated to point out that you need to seek medical care too. You should get a CT of your head to make sure there isn't any intracranial bleeding, even if you feel fine now. Insist on it.

I hope you're fine, and that those cops get what they deserve.

Blackguy Executive said...

It saddens me that you had to experience this unfortunate event. It saddens me that in New York City, America's city, the city that never sleeps and holds every single walk of life that you had to go through this. It seems to me that excessive use of force was used. Hopefully Justice will be served. Thanks for telling your story.

PhillipMG78 said...

Hi, we don't know each other, but a friend of mine posted your story on facebook. Obviously it sounds like you're dealing with it, but I just wanted to add a couple of things:

1. I hope you pony up a team of lawyers, go the press and sue the pants off the NYPD. If all that you truly did was a cartwheel and then muttered a vulgarity after they issued the citation, you were improperly arrested. We both know it was for being gay, but they will never admit that.


2. I just read an article on the AP about this very issue. Apparently there has been a problem in Pennsylvania and Texas with arrests of citizens cursing at police. They arrest them under the pretense of "disorderly conduct" or whatever. But you are actually allowed to say WHATEVER you want, as long as it's not "Fire" or threatening an act of violence or terrorism. You can say FUCK, you can say SHIT, you can say SUCK MY DICK, whatever you like. First amendment right, baby. So THAT is what I recommend you go after them on. Get those lawyers, contact NY1 (I have a contact whose an on air reporter if you're interested), contact WNBC, whatever, or better yet, contact AC360 at CNN, bc he's a bleeding heart liberal who would LOVE that story. Lawyer up, press and then go after them for violating your 1st amendment rights AND for unjustly brutalizing you.

That makes me so angry. I am so sorry that happened to you, even though I don't know you, I'm outraged for you, and hope you get a shit ton of money and that whoever tackled you and bashed your head loses their job.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

After reading your experience I decided that I would go to your home page and subscribe to your blog. when I clicked on the words "Jesse on the Brink" the next page I got said "Page not found
Sorry, the page you were looking for in the blog Jesse On The Brink does not exist."

Eugene said...

It's things like this that make me wanna organize 50+ people to do cartwheels in Grand Central TONIGHT at midnight! Let's do it

Anonymous said...

Coincidentally enough, the case in Texas actually involved a gay activist named Ray Hill. He stood on his front porch yelling at the cops and ended up arrested. He took the case all the way to the Supreme Court (City of Houston V. Hill 107 S.Ct. 2502,2508 (1987)) and won. You can email him, and he'll email you back.

Sarah C@NYC said...

Jesse, I am very sorry to hear about your incident with the cops. As a woman here in NYC I totally do not feel safe around them, which is bizarre since it's supposed to be the opposite. Last summer something similar happened to a friend of mine sister. My friend was DJing at Coney Island, it was the last party for the summer, the cops came by it was around midnight and told them they had to shut everything down. When my friend's sister (a petite girl) asked them could they not let them stay a little longer, the cops grabbed her, hit her, her mother and pushed up up against the floor as if this little petite girl was going to attack them with some weapon or something. This poor girl ended up spending the night in jail for nothing! She is now traumatized and completely afraid of cops, the people who are supposed to be there to protect us! I hope you fight this battle. The family of this girl is suing but decided to keep it quiet instead of taking it to the press. I hope you don't do this because this needs to be exposed. Thank you for sharing this horror story with us!

Anonymous said...


I really hate when this stuff happens to people. Like has been mentioned before, police are suppose to be here to protect and serve, we do pay their salaries with the outragious taxes we all pay. My advise, go immediately to get a Cat scan of your brain and spinal cord. It sounds like you have already done the rest with the attorneys, ACLU etc... Also, keep in mind when dealing with police they want you to kiss there ass at all times, its very unfortunate and not your fault for not bending over backwards for them, but one slip of the tounge has caused so many people a lot of pain and grief. These police need to be properly trianed on dealing with people. Best of luck and I hope that you don't have any permanent physical injuries other that the obvious mental scars that this incident will indeed have on you.

Anonymous said...

Jesse, you are highly urged to contact Christine Quinn regarding this matter. She is a fierce advocate against police brutality toward gays and created quite a stir when police refused to do anything about a recent gay-bashing in midtown Manhattan. Her contact information and website is below:

Anonymous said...

stop drinking!!

Anonymous said...

Take photographs of your injuries NOW. As many as you can. Photographs are powerful and can be used in the media and in court. DON'T WAIT.

Anonymous said...

Please please please get a lawyer and fight this. Don't let them get away with it. I know you probably just want to put it behind you, rather than be consumed by it for however long it would take to resolve. But don't let it go. It has to be illegal to tackle, beat you and throw you in jail for merely using an expletive to your friend under your breath. What person hasn't cursed after getting a ticket? Those cops HAVE to be punished and dealt with harshly, if not lose their jobs.

Anonymous said...

ugh, just another dumb fag that thinks the world owes them something. You were acting like an asshole, you even said it yourself "would every 9 year old get arrested", no maybe grown men acting like 9 year old should, dont you think? Then you think talking shit about underpaid cops is gonna not push buttons? PLease lets factor in a big nasty drunk queer attitude, and please act you didnt deserve it.
ugh, gay men are so dumb and just expect life to be perfect, its not dummy.

Anonymous said...


I am appalled to hear what has happened to you. Please get a full medical check up and consult a lawyer.

Your friend Jimmy

Anonymous said...

It is incredibly sad to find out what had happened to you over the weekend. My self and friends went through a similar experience a few months ago.

When we celebrated gay pride; to express our belief in and support for equal rights and equal treatment by society, we must unfortunately address a blatant violation of those rights by several New York City police officers in the late evening hours of thursday, June 25, 2009. For that is the day the NYPD wrongfully and unlawfully arrested Patrick Duffy and Ryan William Mooney, amongst others.

During that encounter, while being arrested, guns were pointed at their heads were systematically assaulted while subjected to anti-gay slurs and insults without any justification. The irony is that many of those who were treated in that brutal way are not gay. That would be considered profiling if done to those of other races or ethnic origin. "We were terrified. I was knocked unconscious and in the hospital. We had hoped that such reprehensible behavior was a thing of the past. Clearly, it is not." said RWM

We who were treated in such a horrific and inhumane fashion demand Mayor Bloomberg's office and the NYC police department investigate this incident and discipline the offending officers. We also call on the Mayor and police commissioner to review the procedures, or create some, for screening and educating police personnel in this area and to implement procedures which will assure that this type of discriminatory and violent behavior against gay and non-gay men and women will not happen again.

Let me know what help you need.


Anonymous said...

Jesse, I cannot believe what I have just read! What happened to you is despicable and terrifying. To many of us NYC has greatly elevated it's image in the last 20 years, becoming an incredible mecca for everyone. Spreading awareness of this type of vile occurence negates the improving image of that great city for all time.

I am alarmed that you were unconscious after repeatedly having your head pounded on concrete. That is not a good sign. Medical care is expensive, but if you have any insurance or way to help pay for a trip to an urgent care facility, do so and soon. If you express any signs of fever, nausea, double vision, dizzyness or headache(even think up a few more), medically and legally, any self-respecting physician would have to order a cat scan or an MRI. Even if these studies are normal, at least they will be in the medical-legal record.

Regarding the tremendous response you received from this blog. Many more people should be made aware. In my estimation, you are a very renowned individual who is especially visible to the gay world. You write, produce and star in movies, have been on international and national TV, do interviews and write columns, have published a book. I am pleased that you have sought legal help.

I believe if handled properly you could create a big stink for the GLBT world and especially damning for the New York City Police Department. From experience, I know what frustrating and exhausting work this can involve. Is it all worth the effort? I do think so. My very best wishes and hope your feel well in spite of your trauma. Movienut

Sean said...

Not that gorgeous face! I'm glad you're pursuing it and I hope you get justice.

But back to me. Check your phone log. I thought I deserved an honorable mention in this tragic story... ;-)

Ramon said...

Please contact all of NYC local news channels,
including Nancy Grace. All you need is pictures
of your injuries and they will help you to pressure on
the NYPD and MTA police Dept. Not only local but
and the national levels. A rally has to be arrange by
a gay organization such as Lamda.
You're situation is very troubling, to say the least, specially
to the gay community in NYC. You could not
drop this issue until the officers whom arrested you
are reprimanded or better yet suspended.
The NYC gay community is with you!
We're going to show them that this is not Leramie, Wyoming, This is NYC. Where we're out and Proud!
Please Let me know of there is anything I can do to help you with this issue.

Auntie M said...

To "Anonymous" who said "ugh, just another dumb..."

Please... Are you saying people should be arrested simply because of an attitude? OK. I'm for you on this. Let's arrest every skin-head Nazi-wannabe, bigot, bird-flashing, screaming sports fan. Also, the woman in the SUV on the cell phone with the road rage.

From what I can see from a distance, Jesse isn't dumb and doesn't think the world owes him.

And speaking of attitude, how about you? If your post expresses your attitude, WTF are you doing on this blog anyway?

Z said...

OMG! I'm speechless. How horrible!!!
That nite we were at the party earlier. I still can't believe this happened after.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I call bullshit. Your story does not add up. You blacked out and don't remember how you woke up in your underwear? I'm sure this is the first time that has happened to you, huh? Binge drinking is not pretty. You should take this post down before the video of the event surfaces and the true story emerges. This sounds scarily like Nick Haramis' sob story about being gay-bashed at The Corner Bistro. The video that was released showed he was drunk and put his hands on the waiter's neck to strangle him. Putting the f----t word in your post when no one called you that is probably grounds for charging you with filing a false hate crime report, too. Good luck with your case.

Allan said...

Ack! That's AWFUL babe!! I'm glad I was with you for the attempted robbery and not that terrorist cartwheel.

I hope you're okay. Kisses and hugs and kisses from LA.

Don said...

Jesse - I for one believe you and fully support you in every way. Sober or drunk the world would be a better place if more people did cartwheels now and then - there are so much worse things people actually do. Pursue every avenue available to you in resolving this. And, please do get any necessary medical attention you may require - just to be safe. We do not want to believe that this kind of thing can happen in this day and age but thank you for reminding us of the reality of the world today. Not everyone is like those cops but so many still are.

Do not let this dim your "sparkle" one bit!!

I am always there for you should you need to talk. Behind you 100%.


Breukellen said...

I found this from a link on Facebook. Just want to say that this is appalling and you will find that NYers have your back. I hope that the surveillance cameras caught the whole thing. I hope the video will eventually be on Youtube with the cops identified by name for all to see the injustice.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary said...

What did you actually say that caused them to react that way? You were graphic with every other detail but were conspicuously vague when it came to the actual catalyst. Why, in your posting did you specifically choose not to quote yourself?

grinder said...

I'll be interested to see what the surveillance videos show. If it was as you describe, then you've got a great brutality case.

Anonymous said...

To PhillipMG678,

No matter what the legal issues are, nobody should curse at or use abusive language to a police officer - especially in a city like New York. If you are issued a summons, you remain civil,and follow the directions of the police. If you feel you were treated unfairly, you fight it in the courts. Of course this does not give the police the right to act brutally.

Anonymous said...

sorry to hear the story.

I have a friend who had a very similar story. I think the NYPD really have too much power. They seem like they could do anything they want. They are rude. Honestly, I really don't like them.

Indefinite Expression said...

Hey Jesse--after reading about what happened to you, and reading your blog. I'd really like to do a story about it for The Pace Press, The Pace University NYC newspaper. This is something I feel that shows MTA is out of control and would make a provocative feature. Would you like to do an interview? My email is:, please let me know at your earliest convenience.

Thank you! and I'm so sorry for your horrible experience

Anonymous said...

Jesse I hope you take legal action. This has got to stop! I use to have the utmost respect for the NYPD until this past weekend. I was at a club with my two sons, (I am 55 yrs. old) when 5-6 guys grabbed my one son and dragged him outside and beat the hell out of him. My son was right next to me when they grabbed him and he had done nothing wrong. I kept yelling to leave my son alone and they threatened to tazzer me. I ran back in the club to get my oldest son (who served 8 yrs in the military). When we got back outside the cops were there and they jumped my oldest son and arrested all 3 of us. They did not arrest the men that beat my son. I am still sick to my stomach over this. I will not rest until justice is served. And in case anyone is wondering, we are white christian americans and upstanding citizens. I know it would have been worse if we were gay or black and that horrifies me. Good luck to you I hope you get justice too. Jeannie

Gary in CMH said...

What a horrendous experience! I'm so sorry! How can anyone tell the difference between the "thugs" and the "cops"? And it seems that the trolls making the 2 or 3 posts here that are "in doubt" of this story must have been looking for the story to start a "flamewar". I wonder if maybe they are actually cops trying to discredit the story? Hmmm? Fight this! and get the jerks fired!...Just like the 1st President Bush called them..."jack booted THUGS"!

Anonymous said...


I am still in disbelief regarding this. Could this be a hate issue because you are gay?

Memories of "V is for Vendetta" come to mind. Maybe a massive cartwheel demonstration, late at night, without disturbing any commuter, would be a good demonstration of civil disobedience.

I'm hetero, I'm over 40 and am game for it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear this happened to you. I hope you are on the mend. Even if you were drunk and disrespectful, your head and face should not have been bashed into the concrete. It's too far. Stuff like this isn't just happening in NYC, it's happening all over America. Less government, more "by the people."

Anonymous said...

disgusting..whether they called you "faggot" or not, no HUMAN BEING should be beaten. You may have used off color language and even if you were being obnoxious,the hand cuffs go on and you go to dont get the crap kicked out of you first..idiots.

Kelly said...

The same thing happened to me except I was not attacked as badly as you and I didn't do a cartwheel. I was asking for directions and getting frustrated that an employee refused to help me. He called the MTA at Grand Central and the officer arriving felt no sympathy. He said if you don't know where you are going, you shouldn't be here. I was calmly walking away and muttered under my breath asshole. Completely unaware that the officer was listening, I am thrown from behind to the ground and beat with a baton and drug to the holding cell where I am locked to the wall for several hours while they poke fun of me and try to get their story straight as they make up a story. I had never been in trouble with the law and look like anyones daughter. I was on vacation that afternoon trying to get the subway to Connecticut to celebrate my birthday. Some birthday! I tried calling the police department, lawyers, and whoever would listen and no one cared. No broken bones, no case. If you have any success with help, I want to hear about it. It may be too late for me, but I want to see what I can do.

Jesse Archer said...

Hi Kelly, I'm so sorry that happened to you. I know exactly the way you are feeling. You are not too late to get help and legal advice and most importantly - make sure to file a complaint! I'm not sure where you live, but first try your branch of the ACLU. I'd also look up an anti-violence center (if you can't find one - call the Anti-Violence Project at the top of this post and they can refer). They have a whole commission that deals with complaints re: the NYPD and the ones you most likely (as I did) were abused by - the MTA police, which is like junior varsity NYPD. Let me know if I can be of any other assistance. Jesse@jesseonthebrink.

And, if it's any consolation, next years birthday will be better! xoxo