Given the terrible police brutality in Oakland, I wrote a comment in brooklynbadboy's diary about the wonderful NYPD police captain I had the pleasure of working with yesterday. Several people suggested I should write a diary because we need to highlight the good police officers.
Captain John D'Adamo carefully and with great respect, guided the healthcare protesters as we marched from Zuccotti Park up Broadway, through Washington Square Park, up Fifth Avenue, across 14th Street to the now shuttered St. Vincent's hospital.
Not one arrest, not one sharp word, not one bad moment--thanks to Captain D'Adamo's skillful leadership, and a committed group of peaceful protesters.
I've written several diaries about terrible and reprehensible police behavior especially the police violence on 47th Street during the Occupy Times Square protest on October 15th. So fairness requires that we praise, 'New York's finest', when indeed they behave responsibly.
NYPD Captain John D'Adamo is a magnificent template for how a police officer and public servant should work with unarmed Americans simply exercising our right to assemble and peacefully protest. Certainly the healthcare marchers were fortunate to witness and be recipients of his calm leadership yesterday, as we marched for single payer healthcare.
Our march began at Zuccotti Park. The captain escorting us (Captain D' Adamo) was beyond professional. He was superb!
That's me up at the front in the beginning of the video standing next to DrSteveB.
He told us at the outset, "I'm here to help you guys get to where you need to go. Just work with me, and I promise I'll get you there". And he kept repeating this for four miles and four hours. "Just work with me and I'll get you there." We gave him a map and he'd keep doubling back (he was about a half block ahead of us), asking which side of the street we wanted, where did we want to turn, he told us if he spotted an obstruction ahead, etc, etc. He was helping us, assisting us, arrive safely at our destination. He and the officers under his command, were consummate professionals.
I felt so assured by Captain D'Adamo, that I asked him if he was assigned to us for the entire march. He said, he'd be with us for however long it took to arrive at our final destination. I felt very relieved knowing he would be the supervising commander because it was clear, he was there to assist and protect us, not to harm us.
I was what is called a 'pacer' and was stationed right at the head of the march. I was wearing an armband, and the Captain knew I was one of the organizers.
He had four Community Police officers, literally walking four abreast in front of us, clearing the sidewalk. These community officers moved obstructions in front of the line of march, and politely asked pedestrians coming in our direction to move aside.
We had probably 25 motorcycle cops in the street, and three helicopters overhead.
I stayed in pretty constant communication with Captain D'Adamo, who, as I said, was with us all the way to the now tragically shuttered, St Vincent's Hospital. When some of the marchers spilled a little into the street, I stepped out to get them all back on the sidewalk, and the Captain thanked me for helping him.
When we got to 14th Street, we were linking up with about 150 additional protesters. We advised the Captain of this, and he huddled with us figuring out the best way to "marry", in his words, the two marches into one big group. He was going out of his way to make this smooth--for him, his officers, and us.
After we got to St Vincent's with no arrests, I spent time talking to this good police captain. I wanted to thank him for being so totally cooperative from the minute he got assigned to our march.
I am certain that if we had had a bad captain, things might have not been as smooth as they were.
As the supervising officer, the Captain sets the tone of mutual respect. If the Captain is polite and respectful like Captain D'Adamo, I believe, the protesters respond accordingly. And if they don't, shame on them.
In this case, the police totally facilitated the march, they cooperated--more than cooperated-- the NYPD guaranteed us our First Amendment rights.