New York Police Department: Assaults in Flushing Cannot Continue
(Clearwisdom.net) The Service Center for Quitting the Party recently returned to its original site in front of the Flushing Library, and set up four more service spots in the neighborhood. The New York Police Department (NYPD) is concerned about the assaults experienced by volunteers at the Service Center. Andrew Schaffer, NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs, flanked by two NYPD legal affairs colleagues, said that the assaults cannot continue, and that NYPD will protect practitioners from attack.
In the morning of June 5, Schaffer met with the Falun Gong spokesman Erping Zhang and Norman Siegel, attorney for Falun Gong. Siegel said the meeting was serious and positive; the NYPD heard the complaints that the rights of Falun Gong practitioners were not well protected and they promised to improve the situation. Siegel said his understanding is that the NYPD will have enough manpower to protect Falun Gong practitioners in future activities.
Mr. Zhang also reported that the meeting was positive. "We planned to meet with the police from 109 Police Station in Flushing, but the assaults were very serious and the media has gotten involved, so NYPD is concerned about it too. Thus we met at NYPD headquarters," Zhang said. "The Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs and two colleagues met with us. They promised to take action against those who attack and harass Falun Gong practitioners."
Siegel said the focus of the meeting was Falun Gong practitioners' rights protected by the Constitution. Siegel said they were glad to see that NYPD is paying attention. "We will see how NYPD carries out their promises in Flushing, Chinatown and other places in New York," Siegel said.
"Passing out materials and having rallies are rights protected by the Constitution. Those who attacked them will be punished by the law," said Siegel, who is a famous human rights lawyer and the chair of the New York Chamber of American Civil Liberties Union.
Siegel said that freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution.
Siegel said NYPD promised that those who violate this principle and attack others will be tried as criminals. At the meeting, a five-minute video was played to show the violent attacks in Flushing. The record of a phone call conversation between an investigator and the Chinese Consul General Peng Keyu was also played.
Siegel said everybody at the meeting agreed what happened in the video should not be allowed to happen again.
Siegel mentioned that violent attacks and damaging practitioners' materials are not tolerable. He suggested that every practitioner bring a small camera and take photos of any future incidents, and to report them to the police immediately.