The Room Where It Happened
New York magazine|May 24 - June 06, 2021
Derrick Ingramam is still shut inside the hell’s kitchen apartment the police tried to invade.
By Adrienne Green

On August 7, 2020, NYPD officers surrounded the home of Derrick Ingram, a co-founder of the activist group Warriors in the Garden, who had been accused of yelling into an officer’s ear with a megaphone at a June protest. After a five-hour standoff, which Ingram live-streamed on Instagram, the officers left without arresting him. The next day, Ingram turned himself into the police, who would charge him with third-degree assault (later reduced to a misdemeanor). Ingram denied that any assault took place; the charges against him were dismissed this month.

On what led to the standoff:

Last summer, we were at a protest in Bayside, Queens. My organization, Warriors in the Garden, had been requested by BLM Bayside, which is a small group of majority-white suburban soccer moms, and there were a lot of police. Across from us was a Blue Lives Matter counterprotest. There were racial slurs being thrown at us. I was spit on and kicked. Some of us decided to file complaints because of the cops’ refusal to address those assaults. A couple of weeks later, I led another protest in Manhattan with thousands of people. As officers attempted to barricade us, I began to chant on my megaphone. I didn’t think anything of it because within five minutes they let us continue through Times Square.

Months later—this is August 6—we had a protest, and afterward we went out for drinks at a bar. They have $5 margaritas, they overpour, it was a complete vibe. The next morning, I literally had on combat boots and the clothes from the previous day when I was awakened by a knock at my door. I had seen this person previously in my apartment building—he had been knocking on doors on my floor and was wearing what looked like delivery-person attire, so I thought he was delivering packages. I cracked the door, and he asked my name and said that he had a warrant for my arrest.

On the threat of surveillance:

I’d been pretty behind-the-scenes. I do all of our social media and communications work. One of the big things that I was doing was educating people on the surveillance that happens at protests—cell-phone taps, geofencing, social-media monitoring, all kinds of passive digital surveillance. I was telling people, “Make sure you cover your face and turn off your phone,” and warning them about the databases that the NYPD uses to scan and find people.

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