Lynne Stewart & Juanita Young

Lynne Stewart & Juanita Young

Juanita Young & Geoffrey Stewart

Juanita Young & Geoffrey Stewart

Resistance: When is enough enough?
Juanita Young
October 16, 2005

After the execution in March 2000 of my son Malcolm Ferguson by Street Crimes Unit cop Louis Rivera, I started seeking justice for his execution. As a result of me seeking justice, I've learned that dealing with DAs, especially Robert Johnson of the Bronx - one who does not believe in prosecuting cops - is always going to be a difficult battle.

In the past five years, I've been seeking justice for Malcolm and running into a lot of families dealing with the same issue of police murders. I then learned I was not the only one seeking justice for her loved one. The police victimize the victim and the families when they kill their loved one. They attack the family members for trying to get justice or for just trying to find out WHY police killed their loved one. We're expected to accept whatever reason is given.

They came after me because I expose what they are doing. I talk about the wrongful killings. Why would they need to grenade Alberta Spruill's apartment and give that lady a heartattack? Why would they shoot Malcolm point blank right behind his ear when he didn't have a weapon? Why would they shoot poor little Nicholas Heyward, Jr. who was just playing in his own building? Why would they shoot Timothy Stansbury, Jr. who was on the rooftop of his own building? The cop who killed Timothy was found not guilty and given a promotion. In Detriot, the cop who killed Lamar Grable was found guilty in civil court, but a few days later, he was given a promotion and a pay raise. These cops don't get penalized for their killings, they get rewarded.

All they wanted to do was to make an example out of me, trying to send the message that there's no going against the system. I'm not allowed to downgrade the police. Especially after 9/11 when police were seen as heroes, but yet and still they were still killing people - going into people's houses, killing people in their homes. Running over kids on the streets. Not allowing kids to play where they live. And most of the people they are killing are unarmed individuals. There are other families seeking justice for the wrongful killings of their loved ones by the police who have also been under attack, so my case is not an isolated one. Nicholas Heyward, Sr. was arrested and given summonses on several occasions for such ridiculous charges as walking his dog without a leash. His surviving son, Quentin, is now facing bogus robbery charges and has been making numerous court appearances within the last year. Margarita Rosario, the mother of Anthony Rosario, Jr. and aunt of Hilton Vega (two young men executed by former bodyguards of Giuliani in January of 1995), also an outspoken critic of police brutality, once had a Christmas tree shoved under her car and set on fire. These are a few examples of families that have been attacked for speaking out against the police.

In June of 2003, I was illegally evicted and arrested for trespassing in my own home. During the arrest, police officer Louis Hernandez of the 40th precinct pushed me down the stairs several times, which made me need medical attention. After being denied medical attention for several hours, I was finally taken to the hospital. After I was treated for my injuries, I was returned to the 40th precinct. Being in the custody of the 40th precinct, several other precincts and central booking, I finally saw a judge after being harassed, abused and tortured for 35 hours. The judge paid no mind to the trespassing charge and only ordered an investigation for what happened to my wrist. Then he released me on my own recognizance.

After seeing that this was not just a trespassing case against me, I then knew I had to go at a different angle, meaning I had to tell the real reason for why the system was trying to make such an example out of me. With the help of the October 22 Coalition and the Justice Committee, the truth was made known. For the next two years, I went to court twenty times with the support of many picketing in front of Robert Johnson's office, and after the DA tried several times to get me to accept an ACD - meaning they weren't wrong and I wasn't wrong - my refusal to accept their offer made them take this case to trial. After a week of a bench trial, the judge found that I was not guilty. After two years and two months of harassment by the justice system, it goes to show how the system is so corrupt that they would bring a low level charge of criminal trespassing through the courts for over two years.

Ever since the eviction, there were a lot of people who came to my aid. My family and I were homeless for three months, and we would like to thank all those people who helped financially and with housing and the housing issues and for their moral support and strength during that difficult time. As a result of the abuse I suffered under Officer Hernandez, I had a number of operations on my right wrist, which is now permanently damaged. I would like to thank my civil attorney Seth Harris and Steve Yip of the October 22 Coalition for their mental, physical and emotional support in dealing with my medical issues.

During the trial and the years leading into it, there were a lot of supporters coming to my defense on a local and national level. I would like to thank all the supporters who believed in my innocence in the illegal eviction of my family and myself. I would also like to thank Lynne Stewart and her son Geoff Stewart and their office for representing me for the two years of my legal fight.

People say you should not fight the system, but when the system is wrong and you know you're right, the resistance gets stronger, especially when you see people like DA Johnson going at you from all ends. And then you know deep down that you are innocent of all charges. By having the mass support of local and national people, I was given the strength to stand up and say, "Enough is enough!"