‘Whose park? Our park!’ Rebel spirit rocks on at riots 30th anniversary

Scotty Skitzo , bottom, and Jism handled vocals for the band Skitzopolis. Jism is also in the legendary punk band Ism. Photos by Bob Krasner

BY BOB KRASNER | You could almost have called it “Two Days of Peace and Love in The Park,” if the music weren’t so aggressive.

The well-attended punk concerts Saturday and Sunday, featuring, among others, the bands Breakdown, Choking Victim and Sea Monster, were without incident, in marked contrast to the event they were commemorating — the riots in Tompkins Square Park that took place 30 years ago.

Activist lawyer Norman Siegel, speaking to the crowd, called that debacle “the largest example ever of police violence against the people of New York City.”

Crowd-surfing, on his way to the stage.

The weekend was produced by Chris Flash, with help from other community activists, such as Chris Iconicide — who also performed — and Johnny Vee.

Flash, the publisher and editor of the underground community newspaper The Shadow, talked about the importance of recalling the riot.

“We must never let the events be forgotten,” he said. “The point is not to celebrate being beaten up by cops, but to keep the issues alive.” The issues being, “gentrification, homelessness and the inability of people and business to remain in the neighborhood.”

“And,” he added, “because it’s still our f—ing park!”

More shows are scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9. Check The Shadow Facebook page for details

As Sea Monster lead singer Arthur Stevenson contemplated the state of the union, a man in a leather mask breathed fire.

Feeling the burn: a traditional ritual at the riots anniversary concerts.

Chris Iconicide led his band, Iconicide, from the pavement below the stage, accompanied by the ubiquitous No. 13 tomahawk guy.

Veteran rockers Sea Monster blasted the crowd with their biker blues that has been likened to the Stooges, Dolls and Motorhead.

At last weekend’s anniversary concerts for the 30th anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riot, civil-rights attorney Norman Siegel, left, who represented many of the individuals beaten by police that night, greeted Clayton Patterson, who filmed one of the main videotapes that documented the mayhem. Siegel noted that more than 50 innocent people were beaten up by police that night. In addition, he said, out of more than 120 complaints filed against police for more than 140 “acts of brutality,” only one officer was disciplined — conveniently, a female cop, he noted. “It was ostensibly about a curfew,” Siegel recalled of the riot. “But it was really about the lifestyle and the people who come to Tompkins Square Park. It was the beginning of gentrification. … Tompkins Square Park has always been a very controversial site,” he noted, “because of the political activism and because…of the rebellious spirit that has always been in the park.”

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