Last night at around 5pm in East Harlem (El Barrio), two members of my group The Welfare Poets (Michael Pacheco - The Legendary M.I.C. andKeith Hughes - Dahu Alah), along with their film crew Ricky Turner andWander Acosta (who are also members of the Hip Hop group Lower Class Citizens) were arrested while filming a music video at the NYCHA’s James Weldon Jefferson Houses by NYPD for criminal trespassing a misdemeanor. Additionally Iz The Truth (Isreal Balleto) of Guerrilla Republik (a progressive Hip Hop clothing company and organization in which the Welfare Poets are directly a part of) and Boom Box were also arrested. The Welfare Poets were filming footage for an upcoming music video.
In a case like this, anyone arrested is booked at the NYPD Service Area #5 and sent downtown to Manhattan Central Booking to be processed, and for a misdemeanor a normal person would be out in less than 24 hours. Although this might be the case for The two Welfare Poets and the others who were with them, what makes what happened here diiferent is when they were all initially stopped by the cops, the police officers said they would probably be given a summons and released without going to the precinct. Once the cops found out that the collective were part of The Welfare Poets, the officers started claiming that the group was connected to Los Macheteros and how they knew about them (The Welfare Poets) — how they have been surveilling the collective. The officers called their sergeant and it was decided to arrest the six and take them to the precinct to be booked and eventually downtown to be processed thru central booking and face an arraignment judge.
Los Macheteros (Machete-Wielders) are a clandestine militant
The Welfare Poets are long time community activist and educators in addition to being artists committed to addressing and improving the conditions of oppressed people everywhere. Their unwavering commitment has made them targets over the years to units like the Hip Hop Police and the NYPD in general. Whether at a rally, on death row, in a school or the community in general, The Welfare Poets have been there for all without compromise.