The legal wranglings over what really happened between club patrons and police officers Tuesday night at Tammany Hall are continuing downtown. The Lo-Down’s Ed Litvak is on the scene, and reports that two of the five defendants charged, Cynthia Rosa and Jade Everette, have been released on bail. The fate of the remaining three, Gabriel Diaz, James Ayala and Lewis Pena, is still being decided. Supporters have dubbed them “the Monumental Five,” taking the name from the Smif-N-Wessun/Pete Rock CD whose release party was the origin of the riot.
During a hearing this morning, defense attorney Kenneth Montgomery painted a picture of NYPD officers storming, unprovoked, into a crowded but peacefully uneventful hip-hop show in the mammoth club at 152 Orchard St.
Montgomery said bouncers initially argued with some fans trying to enter the club, but that it was all under control when the police arrived about 45 minutes later and began clearing the room. Officers yanked performers off the stage and took them outside and assaulted them, Montgomery claimed in court.
The internal affairs department of the NYPD has interviewed his clients as part of their investigation into Tuesday night’s incident, Montgomery said.
Meanwhile, the assistant district attorneys handling the city’s side of the case said they were seeking more information and more videotapes of the riot, which was widely documented and posted on the internet by clubgoers and bystanders using cell phones.
Diaz, who faces the most numerous and serious charges, appeared in court wearing a neck brace this morning, and Montgomery detailed injuries to his head, neck, face, arms and legs that were sustained during the tussle with police.
Five officers sustained injuries during the riot, including broken teeth, a broken nose and various cuts and bruises, according to a police spokeswoman.
UPDATE 1:53 P.M. According to NY1, “All five who were charged pleaded not guilty and were released. They are due back in court in September.”