Three Days in NYC Jails

Black = Terrorist = Thug: The New Racial Profile?

The press secretary of the Manhattan district attorney's office and Herdman both said the ADA could not comment on the case.

Stolz ordered the delivery of the arrest photos and fingerprints just before the afternoon recess. He ordered me released on my own recognizance, but I was told to return after lunch. I was then taken back to my cell to sign release forms. Three documents were handed to me.

One had my name printed on it, and the others had the name "Anwar Bostick" typed above my Social Security number. The papers seemed to suggest that Bostick had obtained my name and personal information. When arrested for the crimes with which I had been charged that weekend, he somehow passed off my identity as his own, was released after making bail, and then failed to show up for his court date. His three arrest warrants were thus reissued—in my name. Because our arrest photos and fingerprints were never compared when I was arrested, it was nearly Monday evening by the time anyone in the system found out we were not the same person.

"This floating jail shared the name of the family that once owned my ancestors."
photo: Marc Asnin
"This floating jail shared the name of the family that once owned my ancestors."

I refused to sign the release forms. "You'll sign them if you want to get out of here," a guard said. Another officer agreed.

"Anwar Bostick is your alias," the second officer informed me while flipping through the forms. "Are you refusing to sign this? Because if you are, you'll just have to sit in jail and wait until whenever they get around to calling you back to court." I refused to incriminate myself. They ignored the judge's ruling that I be released, and returned me to a basement holding cell.

After lunch, a captain and lieutenant for the Department of Corrections showed up to settle the dispute. Following a lengthy debate, it was discovered that my signature was not even necessary. According to the captain, someone without the authority to do so had introduced the mandatory signature policy as "a rule" and it had become the standard.

"You do the wrong thing long enough," he explained, "and it becomes right."

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