Clayton Patterson  PREV  NEXT  INDEX



New York Times on August 21, 1988

A Manhattan artist who made videotapes that show apparent wrongdoing by police officers during the clash at Tompkins Square Park said yesterday that he would not surrender his tapes to the Manhattan District Attorney for presentation to a grand jury.

The artist, Clayton Patterson, said he did not want to appear defiant but believes that District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau is too close to the Police Department to conduct an impartial investigation.

"It's not that I don't want to give up a copy of the tape, it's just I don't see anybody to give it to," he said.

The 40-year-old artist said he received a subpoena several days ago directing him to hand over the tapes to a Manhattan grand jury by Wednesday. His lawyer, Alton H. Maddox Jr., had the date postponed until Sept. 1, he said.

The District Attorney's office said Mr. Morgenthau was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday.

Mr. Patterson's four hours of tapes show that before midnight on Aug. 6, while relative calm prevailed around the park, some mounted officers had already removed or covered their badges. Officers, on foot and on horseback, are seen repeatedly charging into crowds, apparently without orders, sometimes running past superiors shouting for them to stay back. During the melee, the police clubbed and kicked uninvolved bystanders in the streets around the park. About 100 complaints of brutality have been filed.

Mr. Patterson said that, on the advice of Mr. Maddox and the Rev. Al Sharpton, he would seek to have his tapes reviewed by Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat who has investigated allegations of police brutality in the city.

He said he feared a city investigation would make scapegoats of officers who were the most blatant offenders but exonerate the commanders on the scene.