Pier 57 cops also exposed to toxins during 2004 RNC
By Chris Lombardi
As lawsuits proceed in the case of detainees hauled in to Pier 57 during the 2004 Republican National Convention, more than 42 reports filed by NYPD officers on the scene indicate they, too, were exposed to diesel dust, harsh solvents, black oil and asbestos.
The reports, obtained under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) by the Environmental Justice Law Project, appear consistent both with plaintiffs’ testimony in those suits, who are suing the city and Hudson River Park Trust, and the reported condition of the building before 2003, when it was still a bus garage run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Plaintiffs in the suits charge that the NYPD held them for an average of 33 hours at the pier in metal cages atop a floor covered in oily muck, and that HRPT, which loaned the pier to the NYPD for the week and protested when the detentions hit the news, should still bear some responsibility. Right now, the suits are still at the deposition stage, with the 500-plus plaintiffs spending days at the federal courthouse downtown.
...“MOS (member of service) performed 12 hrs X 8 days at [Pier 57].... [blacked out] because of sore throat, irritated eyes & chest congestion. Saw PMD [NYPD paramedic] 9/4. Was given antibiotics, cough syrup and a puffer,” the latter presumably to help her breathe. Alone among the reports released, #1678 also contained advice about how to protect herself and her family from the lingering effects of exposure."
...many of the aromatic hydrocarbons used to clean large vehicles are listed on the Center for Disease Control’s American Toxic Disease Registry. Peffers added that she was quite disturbed about the detention of protesters in such a place, before the building had been certified as free of either asbestos or other toxins.
“For solvents, all exposure routes are significant,” said Peffers. “Respiration can cause long-term breathing difficulties and neurological problems.
...Kupferman added wryly that the evidence from the reports moves away, finally, from earlier stages in the RNC litigation, when videotaped evidence contradicted police testimony. The officers, after all, filed these reports just as their boss, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, was telling CNN that protesters’ descriptions of the pier were “exaggerated.”