Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, New York 10007

August 31, 2004

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

The New York Civil Liberties Union writes in response to reports that individuals arrested during Republican National Convention protests are being held in unsafe conditions at the Pier 57 holding facility.

The NYCLU is concerned that individuals held at the facility report that they have developed respiratory problems and rashes during their protracted confinement at Pier 57. Moreover, we are disturbed by the report in today’s New York Times that people have been held without adequate access to food and water for periods of up to 30 hours. The facility, a former bus depot, is not meant to warehouse individuals who are forced to sit or lie on the oil-stained floor as they wait for extended periods to be processed through the system.

The NYCLU asks that you order an immediate inspection of the conditions at the facility and an assessment, based on appropriate medical and environmental tests, to determine whether these conditions pose health threats. We also request that the City authorize the NYCLU and other legal representatives to conduct an independent inspection of the site. We seek to bring outside medical and environmental experts to take samples from the site in order to assess its safety.

Unless and until the Pier 57 holding facility receives a clean bill of health, we call upon the City to cease using it to hold arrestees.

Sincerely,

Donna Lieberman
Executive Director

Cc:
Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, Commissioner
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
New York, NY 10013

Martin F. Horn, Commissioner
New York City Department of Correction
New York, NY 10013