Violence fears after death in custody
Wednesday 11 May 1994
Lying prone on the pavement, his hands cuffed behind his back, his neck and chest compressed so tightly he could not draw a breath, Ernest Sayon, 22, died of asphyxiation during a police drug raid on a low-rent housing estate. Sayon was no angel, apparently. Known as 'Rabbit' on the streets, he was arrested in 1992 for possession of a controlled substance and for resisting arrest. Last month, he was arrested for firing 20 rounds into a housing project and later turned up in hospital with a bullet wound and wearing a bullet-proof vest.
Sayon had been ordered to stop by officers who heard a firecracker go off during the drug sweep. What happened next is a matter for a grand jury. It will decide whether the three policemen involved should be indicted for murder. New York's mayor, Rudy Guiliani, has promised: 'There will be justice in this case, you have my word.'
Staten Islanders are the mayor's people, mostly. They are 80 per cent white, heavily of Italian descent and middle-class with the highest median income among New York's five boroughs. They are the ones who were looking for a mayor who would crack down on criminals and raise the quality of life. Mr Guiliani, a former prosecutor, was their man.
But having helped to elect him, they then wanted to secede from the city. They think they can go it alone without the city's high taxes, crime and garbage. The 'mountains' on the island's naturally flat 387,000 acres are made of garbage, mostly from Manhattan.
In past times, the New York police department used to send bad cops to Staten Island where they could walk the beat on streets without crime and contemplate their wrongdoing. Now it is far from a crime backwater. An angry but orderly crowd of a few hundred protested against Sayon's death. Others drove through the streets shouting 'justice'. Some saw the issue less one of race than overzealous, authoritarian police.
Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again
...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 4 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
Amal Alamuddin: Human rights lawyer's legal chambers upgrades website following George Clooney wedding
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Stephen Fry: Girls who had sex with rock stars at 14 wouldn't call themselves victims – they were proud of it
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
- < Previous
- Next >
£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: We have opportunities for Cov...
£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Maths Teacher required to tea...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...