The New Civil Rights Anthem: Fight For Your Right to Party

Colin Flaherty is an award-winning reporter and author of White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.


628x4712Civil rights has a new troubadour. And a new anthem. Pete Seeger is out. The Beastie Boys are in.

Gone are the pastors and protestors holding hands and singing We Shall Overcome. Sometimes at the business end of a fire hose.

In its place is a new spiritual: You Have to Fight For Your Right to Party. Usually accompanied by a cloud of marijuana smoke and whatever kinds of vodka Puff Diddy and 50 Cent are selling these days.

The new Selma is Troy, New York. Just outside of Albany. And the first shot in this new front in the battle for civil rights was fired early Saturday morning a few weeks ago. Not with a bullet, but with a 911 call from a night club called Kokopellis.

“We need the Troy police at Kokopellis,” said the unidentified caller.  “We got a bar fight goin’ on here. It’s inside movin’ out. Someone got hit with a bottle.”

How many people are fighting? asked the operator.

“About a hundred.” That was around 2:30 a.m., just a few days after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, as a local paper reminded us.

Then a bartender called 911 as well:  “I’m a bartender at Kokopellis, we need a few cops down here. We got like a ton of people fighting right now and our bouncers are getting punched in the face and everything.”

The “and everything” included getting hit with bottles and sprayed with pepper spray because the bouncers were trying to eject people from the club for smoking pot on the dance floor. But they did not want to go.

A word about Kokopellis: Most night clubs are easy to pigeonhole, mostly by their crowds. But lately a new kind of club is springing up: They try and do it all. Kokopellis is one of those. One night it will feature hip hop and attract a heavy black crowd. Another night, the DJ markets to gay people. They even have hookahs. The college kids love that.

And on and on.

But this night, videos show the crowd was mostly black. And they mostly did not like it when police arrived to the riot. The local paper called it a “scuffle.” Some scuffle.

Most of the people were there to commemorate the shooting death of a local DJ one year earlier. Local news reporter and talk show host Jim Franco said the killing was gang-related.

Police have since released the calls for help from the first responders: “They are throwing bottles at us,” said one cop. “Whoever is on their way better step it up.”

They did. Videos show when cops arrived in bigger numbers soon after, they were met with defiance, physical resistance, pepper spray and someone even discharged a fire extinguisher at them.

Outside, it wasn’t going any better. “Two of our officers were struck in the head by bottles,” said police captain John Cooney told News 10 in Albany. “One suffering a laceration with bruising to the head. A garbage can was thrown at one of our officers. And after glancing off him, went through the back window of one of our patrol cars.”

Before it was over, six people — all black — were arrested. Eight cops were injured, six went to the hospital.

Soon after the real riot ended, the virtual riot began. This was the riot that black ministers insisted had really happened: Cops were beating black people for no other reason than they could. And, oh yeah, they were a bunch of racists.

Cue the Al Sharpton wannabe, Pastor Willie Bacote, backed up by members of the Troy African American Pastoral Alliance. At a community meeting soon after, Bacote was upset at how the police were using excessive force to deny the black people of Troy their right to party. And he was not going to let that happen. Not on his watch.

The Albany Times Union recorded Paster Bacote’s insights for the record: “Race has to be on the table. We’ve got a lot of problems to deal with in our city,” said Bacote of the Missing Link AME Zion Church.

The Troy Record could not get enough of Bacote either. “We have had enough of these incidents here in the city of Troy that keep wanting us to meet like this,” said Pastor Willie Bacote. “We will not tolerate this any longer.”

Bacote was referring to the police responding to several emergency calls involving large scale violence. Not the drunk, high people who attacked the police when they showed up to restore order.

The Tory Record did not point this out, but as police riots go, this was pretty tame stuff: No fractured skulls. No broken arms. No dog bites. No billy club bruises. No bullet holes. No one died. Not like the old days.

One of the men allegedly involved in the brawl and who was later arrested for resisting arrest had a black eye.

The Troy police just hauled several inebriated people off to jail who did not want to go. For Bacote, that meant it was time for the poor and oppressed black people of Troy, New York to go to the mattresses: “We will fight them on the battlefield of justice,” Bacote said.

By now its a familiar act. But fewer and fewer people seem to be buying it, if reader comments are any judge:

“Oh god. I wondered how long it would be before Bacote got his mug in the news demanding police leave black folks alone,” said one reader.  “The bar owners were trying to shut the bar down because stupid idiots decided they were going to smoke pot inside. The unruly patrons didn’t like being told to leave so they beat up a bouncer. The cops had to be called and the rest is history. Bacote, isn’t it time for you to head down south like you’ve been promising for years? Troy doesn’t need your here pulling your race card at every possible opportunity. We’re sick of it.”

Even the usually most dependable allies in this civil rights struggle had their doubts about this one:  “Incident At Kokopellis,” began the headline of an NPR story. “Finding Racism Where Some Say There Is None?”

Its a start.

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  • UCSPanther

    I thought pot was supposed to make people docile, not “ready to rock”…

    • Sheik Yerbouti

      Oh it’s not the pot causing this.

    • alericKong

      It lowers inhibition.

    • Charles Martel

      Pot was banned specifically because whotes were afraid of what it would turn the black people into. The actual reality is, it can lower inhabitions of people. This is extremely dangerous for people who have increased propensity for violence.

      • UCSPanther

        And in this case, there was probably a lot of alcohol in the mix as well.
        When the club tried to enforce their rules on illegal substances, it disrupted their partying, and it appears that you interrupt wild partying at your own risk…

  • The Facts

    It’s “black people are hypocritical savages” week at Frontpage magazine. Someone must be expanding illegal settlement building somewhere.

    • alericKong

      Maybe they can go to your place next time.

    • Charles Martel

      I wouldn’t say they are hypocrits. They usually speak and do what is exactly on their minds and theren lies the problem. What is on their minds at any given moment leads to almost immediate behavior. The majority do not seem to have the ability to think of conseqences ahead. You can read more of this theory by goggling Vox Day and perusing his analysis of black troubles and the inability for them to develop modern Western style self governing societies.

    • True Facts

      Whatever Bill Cosby said did not cause this.

      This is not about genetics.

      This is about race mongering whose theology is given to us by the LEFT.

      People like Thomas Sowell are not genetic exceptions. They are great because they did not partake of leftist philosophy.

      This about memes not genes. It is the memes promoted by the left that we have to fight.

      • Lightbringer

        You’re absolutely right, and you ought to copyright “memes not genes”. When the Irish first came to America in the 1850′s, job advertisements often contained the words, “No Irish Need Apply”. This was not so much a reflection of prejudice on the part of potential employers — though there was anti-Catholic feeling in the US at that time — as it was of the way the new Irish immigrants behaved. They were savages, given to indolence, violence, and drunkenness. After a generation or two people of Irish parentage had fully assimilated into American culture and were welcome to apply for any jobs. And today being Irish is no different from being a mainline WASP from a social viewpoint. Thomas Sowell makes this point in his essay “Black Rednecks and White Liberals”, later expanded into a book by the same title. It contains fascinating information about how supposedly black culture developed.

    • uptownsteve

      For every one else February is Black History Month. At FPM it’s “Media Lynch the Ni**ers Month”.

    • JamesJ

      FBI stat: A certain 12% of the population commits 53% of all violent crime. Is the FBI racist?

      • uptownsteve

        What the right doesn’t discuss is that the black violent criminals are 1% of the black community. There are 40 million black people in America. Last year maybe 5,000 black murders. Only a racist idiot would suggest that violence is caused by race.

        • JamesJ

          Black culture causes violence

          • uptownsteve

            Racist bullcrap. Are you saying the majority of black Americans are violent? Is an educated middle class black man any more likely to commit a violent crime than his white counterpart? If so, why?

          • JamesJ

            Statistically, yes. Black males between 15 and 35 (5% of population) commits 52% of all violent crime.
            Played knockout lately?

          • uptownsteve

            You aren’t very intelligent are you? That does not translate into 53% of black males between 15 and 35 being violent criminals, does it? What you are engaging in is statistic hyperbole.

          • JamesJ

            You have poor reading comprehension. The entire black pop of the US is around 12%. 53% of all violent crime is committed by blacks. Out Of this 53%, 99% of violent crime is committed by black males between the ages of 15 and 35. Hence, black males between the ages of 15 and 35 commit 52% of all violent crime. Just stating an FBI statistic. Why do you hate science?

          • Drakken

            Because of your lack of impulse control. As you so aptly demonstrate every damn day.

          • laura r

            most likely no. but black college students have recently.

        • Drakken

          You haven’t been too Africa have you? Because if you had, you wouldn’t be running your suck about things you have no understanding or comprehension of.

  • Sheik Yerbouti

    Perhaps now people in the northern states will realize what so any of us in the rest of the nation have been dealing with. Clearly it’s NOT a “southern thing” at all. It’s a black thing. They want all of the benefits of living in the American community with absolutely none of the responsibility. That part is “owed” to them by whites. Even way up in Troy and Albany.

  • tagalog

    Troy, New York: when I was a kid in Watervliet, a neighboring community just across the Hudson River via the 19th Street Bridge, it was a quiet, down-at-the-heels community in which the colleges were RPI and Russell Sage, and nothing happened. Ever.

    Times seem to have changed.

  • uptownsteve

    This is nothing but racist demagoguery. As if whites don’t fight in clubs. Malcolm X said 50 years ago that the Jew will always seek to insert himself in the middle of the race issue in America. 50 years ago it was from the left. Today people like Horowitz, Prager, Podhoretz and Bernard Goldberg are performing their Kosher Klansmen acts with glee.

  • Richard Fontaine

    These are some of the very people that the Left and Barack Obama’s mouth piece Jay Carney want to give the option of whether or not to work. Seems that the way things are supposed to be is that we work and they throw garbage cans at cops for breaking up their drug and dance parties. Seems like social justice to me.

  • Chubby Freen

    A “missing link” church? Other than the obvious, to what “missing link” do they refer?

  • uptownsteve

    Of all the racist filth posted on this board, why are MY posts being deleted?

    • UCSPanther

      Take the hint: Go elsewhere.

      • Drakken

        Let him run his ignorant suck, it gives everybody a idea what they are dealing with. Besides the little hunyuk livens up things up a it.

    • Drakken

      Because you have a huge black chip on your shoulder and hate whitey an shout racist at eveything that moves, quaint isn’t it kaffir?

  • Race_Dissident

    I’d say ascertaining a black guy has a black eye is about like determining that a hunk of Limburger has gone bad.

  • PernRider

    What you’re failing to mention is that cell phone and surveillance footage shows patrons filing out of the club in an orderly manner when police approach one man. They speak to him, then grab him, slamming into a number of other patrons, then shove him around, then at least THREE officers pull out batons and start swinging … hitting other patrons in the process. The man is NOT properly restrained, nor is he resisting, he lands against he bar at one point before he’s grabbed, thrown onto the floor, and is then attacked with the batons by, again, at least THREE officers.

    He was taken to the hospital. No billy club bruises or fractured skull? Try he got six staples in the back of his head, and his entire face was a mess of bruises and swelling. Oh, and he had a concussion. NOT the only reported injury, either.

    On one video, a police officer can be heard screaming at a woman who had just said “don’t shove me”, “IF YOU F*CKING TOUCH ME AGAIN I’LL F*CK YOU UP!!!” This has all been widely reported throughout the area.

    Might also behoove you to mention that Troy also has an overwhelmingly white male police force: there is MAYBE one black detective, one female detective, two female patrol officers, and I believe we might be up to TWO black patrol officers. In a city of over 50,000 permanent residents and three colleges.

    And Bacote is not the only one calling for an investigation, the City Council is as well, and loudly, in particular the Council President. We, the people of Troy, want some accountability and some transparency.

    Oh, you might ALSO wanna mention that this is the FOURTH accusation of police brutality in the past year and a half, including an incident that has a $3 million lawsuit pending against the police department.

  • One man

    Cops should have stood down let them wreck the place. Sounds like a cesspool I don’t want in my area.