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Five from LES Melee to Appear in Court

By Patrick Hedlund | September 26, 2011 5:31pm

LOWER EAST SIDE — Supporters of the five people arrested after a melee with police outside an Orchard Street concert hall this summer are planning to make a show of force Tuesday when the individuals appear in court to fight charges that they assaulted cops during the near riot.

The incident unfolded just after midnight on June 29 outside Tammany Hall at 152 Orchard St., where police were called to respond to overcrowding inside the venue during a record release party for rappers Pete Rock and Smif N Wessun, the NYPD said.

A fracas then erupted between police and concert goers — with much of it caught on tape — leaving five officers hospitalized with various injuries and five partygoers arrested on a host of charges.

Gabriel Diaz, 27, Lewis Pena, 35, Cynthia Rosa, 21, and Jade Everette, 24, were all arraigned on assault charges at Manhattan Criminal Court a day after the incident.

Jessy Ayala, 32, was arraigned on charges of obstruction of governmental administration for refusing to move while videotaping the incident, according to the criminal complaint.

The individuals, dubbed the “Monumental Five,” have denied any wrongdoing in the dust up and rallied on the steps of City Hall in July alongside the rappers, charging police with using excessive force.

A website created to support the group urged the public to attend their Tuesday court appearances, and features photos of police engaging with partygoers, as well as a bloodied Diaz sitting in the back of ambulance.

“It was a peaceful evening until the NYPD ambushed the event and its partygoers,” read a statement on the site, which is connected to the entertainment group that hosted the record release party.

The NYPD stated that officers arrived at the location after getting a call from security at the club to help with a crowd of more than two-dozen people "throwing beer bottles, a sandwich board and anything else that they could get their hands on at each other," according to head spokesman Paul Browne.

He added that one partygoer who refused to leave the venue and resisted arrest yelled for others to help him fight the officers, leading a large crowd to form and begin scuffling with police.

Police said five officers were hospitalized as a result of the fight, with injuries ranging from a broken nose and broken front tooth to facial lacerations and head contusions.

An attorney for the five arrested said Monday that evidence will ultimately show his clients, who have not been indicted on the charges, were the victims and not the attackers. He also expected backers of the "Monumental 5" to attend the court appearance Tuesday.

"People are fed up at officers that take advantage," said lawyer Kenneth Montgomery, citing the attention the incident has drawn.

“If everything is consistent with what witnesses said happened, these police officers stormed into the club,” he added.

Montgomery previously stated his intention to sue the NYPD, pending the outcome of his clients’ criminal cases, and he also expected some sort of civil action on their part, regardless of the results.

"If I had to guess, I would think that some, if not all, of them would file some civil action against the city, mostly as [a] principle that this thing cannot be accepted," he said. "People are frustrated, and they're looking for some sort of responsibility for these officers."