As Word DOCX
Final Statement : Solidarity Statement
New York City Fight For Our Lives Coalition
New York, NY
Phone: (347) 433-8652
Foley Square, New York, NY, 8:55 pm –
While leading Monday July 29th’s Mass March to Defund the NYPD & Abolish the Police from Washington Square to Foley Square Robert Cuffy was filming the march, when he was blindsided and tackled by an unidentified man who then slammed Robert into another car, dislocating his shoulder. Prior to this moment Robert was straining his voice by calling out to marchers “We’re going to City Hall!” but he was not able to continue due to the severity of his injuries. Police nearby observed the assault, and joked with the attacker before walking him to the Foley Square subway station, where they released the attacker without charges. NYPD didn’t even document the attacker’s identifying information.
Robert is a well-known revolutionary socialist in NYC, and an effective organizer for Black Liberation. He is a member of the DSA Afrosocialist Caucus, a leader of the NYC Fight for Our Lives Coalition (which is part of People’s Strike, a National coalition organized by Cooperation Jackson), and a founder of the Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana. He is also a leader of the DSA Labor Branch. This made him a target.
Robert was put into an ambulance, and was told that he would be taken to New York Presbyterian. Instead, he was driven a few blocks away where Robert waited over an hour inside the ambulance, which did not budge from its location at Spruce and Nassau Streets. Fearing for his own safety, Robert texted marchers to gather at the intersection for support and to enforce transparency. Robert was provided no pain control for his injury. This punitive and callous treatment of Black patients, especially of movement fighters, is all too common.
Robert had every reason to be afraid that medical neglect or overt violence at the hands of police could be life-threatening; from Ferguson to Baltimore to here in New York, incidents like this have ended with the deaths of far too many Black Liberation activists and of other working class people of color. Even when treatment is provided, individual EMTs who are aligned with police will often take activists and other Black patients past the closest hospitals, going out of their way to drop them off at the most overcrowded, underfunded, and dangerous facilities, as a particularly isolating and potentially lethal form of racist abuse and punishment. Robert was lucky to have a caring EMT named Nancy who kept him safe and even got Robert a blanket upon his request after arriving at the hospital
On the short ride to the hospital, his fear, horrifyingly, began to come true; he had been left without a seatbelt and was nearly subjected to a “rough ride” of the kind that notoriously ended the life of Freddie Gray in the back of an ambulance in 2015. Without the use of his arm, Robert (just as Gray, handcuffed) wouldn’t be able to physically protect himself from being slammed into hard, sharp metal surfaces inside the vehicle.
By responding quickly and collectively, activists can protect ourselves and each other from this treatment by disrupting that isolation. When dozens of supporters mobilized and gathered outside the ambulance, the police were forced to take a statement from Robert, rather than ignore the attack, or worse—spuriously charge Robert, potentially making good on the continued threats spewed by his attacker immediately after the assault. That collective support gave force to Robert’s demand that his seatbelt be buckled.
Too often, and for too long, Black victims of violence have been routinely subjected to exactly this sort of revictimization by cops and vigilantes, even in death. It is impossible to forget that Trayvon Martin was branded a “thug” by his killer, or that Mike Brown, described there as “no angel,” was blamed for his own murder in the press.
The ambulance eventually transported him around the block to the hospital where his partner, mother, and other comrades were waiting for him. NYC Fight For Our Lives Coalition, Peoples Strike, and the DSA are SEEKING FOOTAGE AND DOCUMENTATION of the attack, the attacker, the license plate of his car, cars parked in that location, the ambulance, and its driver/EMT, as well as badge numbers and identification of the police involved. Any information, including witness statements, may be useful.
The attack on Robert Cuffy was not an isolated incident. Police and far-right vigilantes are threatening coordinated attacks on protestors, particularly as the calendar nears July 4. As the #GeorgeFloyd Uprising continues to flourish, and as protests and rallies nationwide call to defund, dismantle, and disarm police, law enforcement and their backers have been stoking the fascist fire, encouraging lone-wolf attacks to terrorize supporters of the fight against police brutality.
This is a reminder that the movement will need to increase security measures and step up our game. We have to collectively prevent further attacks and protect ourselves as the movement grows, continues to win reforms, and pick up steam. Go out into the streets with your friends and comrades, use the buddy system, and coordinate security to protect the movement’s leaders as we continue this rebellion. Remember that we are all leaders in the fight to get free.
f you have any relevant information, or to connect with and support the work that Robert has dedicated himself to, contact NYC Fight For Our Lives Coalition at:
Fire and Thunder: Movement for Liberation Broadway Junction, Brooklyn, July 4th @ 4pm
Inspired by Frederick Douglass’ famous speech What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?, the NYC Fight for Our Lives Coalition is calling a march for freedom on the 4th of July. It will begin with a meditation and community grounding in recognition of the history of the U.S. as a nation founded on the systematic murder abuse and exploitation of Black people.
NYC Fight For Our Lives Coalition
DSA Afrosocialist Caucus
Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana
Red Bloom Communist Collective
Amazonians United NYC
Emerge Caucus, DSA
DSA Racial Justice Working Group
Unity & Struggle
May First Movement Technology
Revolutionary Socialist Network
Rank and File Action, (PSC CUNY)
Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE )
Mid-Hudson Valley DSA
Venezuelan Workers Solidarity
Queens Club, Communist Party of NY
Black Internationalist Unions (BIUs)
Syria Solidarity New York City
Working Class Heroes Collective
League for the Revolutionary Party
Resistance Studies Initiative
The Abolition Collective
Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Resistance Studies Initiative
Jews for Palestinian Right of Return
Revive the Peace Movement (RPM)
Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez, Chicago Alderman, Ward 33, & Chicago DSA
Jabari Brisport, Candidate for State Senate
Kate Doyle Griffiths
Sean Petty, RN
Leslie Akst, Ph.D
Octavia Leona Kohner
lynk bella hues
Joy Ming King
Richard Owen DeWald
Eric M. Fink
Edward Hon-Sing Wong
Kimberly Wirt, MSW
Michael Z. Letwin
Organizations in Solidarity