Last month, Jill Nelson, an award-winning writer and journalist, was arrested by NYPD officers for scribbling “Trump=Plague” on a boarded-up storefront near her house in Riverside Drive in Manhattan. The story was first reported by the local publication the West Side Rag.
On April 16, the 67-year-old writer left her house to run a few errands in the neighborhood. On her way to the supermarket, she passed by a storefront boarded with green plywood on Broadway and 162nd Street. It was there that she spontaneously inscribed her message of protest in pink chalk.
Within seconds, two NYPD cars arrived at the scene, and four officers stormed at Nelson to arrest her.
“They cuffed and searched me,” Nelson told Hyperallergic in a phone conversation. “They were offensive and rough.”
According to Nelson, the officers asked her repeatedly if she possessed any weapons. Shocked, she replied, “Are you kidding? No, my weapons are words.”
Nelson was taken to the 33rd Precinct around 1pm and was kept in a cell for more than five hours. She was charged with making graffiti, a class A misdemeanor.
“A female officer searched me again and patted me down,” Nelson said. “They itemized what I had in my pocket, took my fingerprints, and took mugshots.”
Nelson, who didn’t have her ID with her, asked to call her husband Flores Forbes, an associate vice president for community affairs at Columbia University, who was at home. Nelson was asking her husband to find her ID so that the police could go pick it up, but she says an officer abruptly ended the phone conversation after just a few seconds. “They cut me off before I could tell my husband what precinct I’m at,” she said.
The NYPD has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s inquiry on Nelson’s arrest and declined to provide details by phone.
“It was an awful, abusive, and petty experience,” Nelson continued. “I frankly feel, as an African American woman and a person of color, that it’s open season on us in every way. From the disproportionate number of people who are dying of COVID-19, people with the worst healthcare, people who are doing the most vulnerable jobs, to young people beaten down for allegedly not social distancing.”
Nelson was released after a local official intervened. She was given a desk appearance ticket for August 14. She said that one of the officers threatened her by saying, “If you don’t show up, we’ll come to your house and arrest you.”
According to the Rag, the NYPD said that the complaint was “sealed,” although Nelson said that her appearance ticket remains valid.
Nelson demands an apology from NYPD, and that the force cancels her desk appearance ticket and expunging her record. She also necessitates speaking with the commanding officer about “how this happened and how they will proceed in the future so it doesn’t happen again.”
Hundreds of copies of the LA-based guerrilla poster artist Robbie Conal’s latest work, “Supreme Injustices,” were pasted up from Venice to Los Feliz.
This week, another reason to leave Facebook, who really invented democracy, and what is “Skimpflation”?
International audiences have free access to the media collections of MMCA Korea, Sharjah Art Foundation, and ArkDes through this subscription-based art streaming platform.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including Pope.L, Beatriz Cortez, Mika Rottenberg, and more.
The acclaimed composer and noise artist talks to Hyperallergic about his Pulitzer Prize-winning composition “Voiceless Mass.”
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
Her works, depicting objects from Korean markets, invite viewers to marvel at what can be achieved with fabric.
Salonen’s paintings point to a location in which reality is slippery, ill-defined — a dream or place of play.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
The Ancient Egyptian tomb of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum, one of the most intricate in the Saqqara necropolis, shows the pair holding hands and embracing.
In another action yesterday, five members of the group were arrested after they glued themselves to a landscape painting in Scotland.
The New Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance also received capital allocations in a “historic” round of funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs.