Boycotters arrested

An eyewitness account from Kensington resident Gibb Surette:

Sonny Kim has been trying for months to get picketers in front of Golden Farm arrested, on every pretext from “interference” with his business to his claim at one point that he actually owned the sidewalk.  At mid-day on Sunday, December 9, he saw his chance.  An NYCC staffer named Andres, and a community volunteer named Marty got out of the the cold rain for a bit by stepping temporarily under the awning and within five feet of the building.  Sonny got them on video and immediately called the NYPD to enforce a protective order.  There had been a legal agreement that included NYCC keeping picketing five feet from the store, but converting this into a criminally enforceable protective order should have required, among other things, notice to NYCC.  Apparently, no one at NYCC had received such notice, but Sonny is notorious for providing false statements to public authorities (e.g. the NYS Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board), so he may have told the court that the legally required notice had been given.  In any case, Andres and Marty, by then back out in the rain near the curb, were relieved of all objects on their persons, placed in handcuffs, and hauled off to the 66th Precinct.   The two brothers had been alone on the line.  Pretty clearly, Sonny hoped that he would eliminate the picket for the afternoon, perhaps leaving signs and literature unguarded.  However, just before the arrests took place, I arrived for my usual Sunday shift as a neighborhood boycott volunteer.  NYCC staff were alerted, the organization’s criminal lawyer was quickly brought into play, and word went out to community supporters, who began showing up in front of the store to keep the picket going.
Meanwhile, between talking to potential customers as usual, recounting Sonny’s history of theft and fraud, I amused myself with  a text very similar to the following, which I bellowed into the store at the top of my lungs: “Sonny Kim!  You can cut hours and wages in retaliation!  It’s illegal, but you’ve done it!  You can try to avoid a union by committing fraud!  You’ve done that, too!  You can stall recognition and negotiation for months!  You’ve done that!  Sonny, you can threaten workers with everything imaginable, up to and including the loss of their homes, and you have done that!  Obviously, you can get picketers taken away in cuffs for stepping out of the rain!  You’ve just done that!  But, Sonny, intimidation has not made the issues–or us–go away!  And it’s not going to!  Sonny, if you want the pickets and the boycott to go away, it’s very simple!  GIVE THE WORKERS SOME JUSTICE!”
Some of the people I spoke to characterized Sonny’s actions in getting Andres and Marty arrested as “disgusting”, or said “I understand now, and I’m not coming back”, or simply observed, “You’re winning”.

5 thoughts on “Boycotters arrested

  1. What is the status of the two picketers who were arrested? Are they being held? Do they have to appear? Is there anyway the community can help them?

  2. A very nice lady told me the protesters scared her. The protesters tried to harm the business.This is morally wrong. They should be doing things that are good not trying to attack this situation by bringing harm.

    • The protesters should certainly not be purposely scaring any customers. But they should definitely keep trying to keep shoppers away from the store. What is DEFINITELY morally wrong is not to support workers when they are fighting for their rights.

  3. Pingback: Deconstructing Sonny | Kensington Community Supporting Justice For Golden Farm Workers

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