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TOMPKINS SQUARE PARK POLICE RIOT TAPE
PIONEER THEATER | New York | 155 East 3rd Street | August 5, 2007
On the 19th Anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park Police Riot
And in the context of New York City’s ongoing Camera Wars Join Clayton Patterson for a rare screening of his footage from the Tompkins Square Park Police Riot of August 6 and 7, 1988. One of the two major video documents of the riot - the other was made by Paul Garrin - Clayton’s tape depicts the Lower East Side in a state of open civil war, as the police and the Avenue A Block Association attempted to close the park that was at the time was a homeless encampment.
Street punks, the homeless, and many other community members did not accept the park’s closing. So the Police forced them to.
In addition to commemmorating the riot’s anniversary, we present this screening within the ongoing “camera wars” taking place in New York City. The police announce a “web of surveillance” for downtown, the MTA plans to survey everything, and the city imposes insurance and tripod regulations on amateur as well as professional photographers. Also, laws attempting to prevent “piracy” extend into movie theater situations where piracy is impossible. Meanwhile, activists make their case and counterattack.
Join Clayton Patterson for this rare screening, and for a discussion of how his experiences then are relevant now.