Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), concerned about the conditions of the detention facility at Pier 57 and their effect on the health of protesters detained there during the Republican National Convention, called on Mayor Bloomberg to immediately assess and inspect conditions at the facility.
In a letter to Bloomberg, Nadler reminded the Mayor that Pier 57, which has been used as a bus depot for the past 30 years and is contaminated with oil, gasoline and other toxic chemicals, is unsafe to hold detainees. Reports from many sources state that some detainees contracted rashes and experienced respiratory ailments while being held at Pier 57.
Nadler's letter to Bloomberg follows:
September 2, 2004
Hon. Michael R. Bloomberg
New York City
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I am writing to you with serious concerns regarding the detention of individuals who were arrested while protesting during the Republican National Convention. There are concerns that the facility in which they are being held, Pier 57, is unsafe and unsanitary for such use.
I am hearing reports from many sources, including the New York Times and NY1, that some detainees have experienced respiratory ailments and contracted rashes while being detained at Pier 57. For the past 35 years Pier 57 has been used as a bus depot, and the floors have been contaminated with oil, gasoline, and other toxic materials, emitted by such vehicles. With some protesters being held for as long as 30 hours, it is clear that Pier 57 is not a safe facility for such detainment.
I urge you to take immediate actions to assess and inspect conditions at this facility, particularly taking appropriate tests relating to medical and environmental hazards. A structure built over fifty years ago for the purpose of storing buses is not an appropriate place to store people for lengthy periods of time.
Please remedy this situation and give each individual all due respect. These people should not gratuitously be degraded for exercising their first amendment rights and their right to assemble. Until Pier 57 is certified safe for detainment, I request that the City cease detaining anyone arrested there.
Member of Congress
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