National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
We do not want to live like this! We resist! On October 22, wear black! Join our protest and fight back! No More Stolen Lives!
The year 2009 started off with at least six cases nationally of police killings and brutality on New Year’s Day. Oakland, California erupted in outrage over the killing of Oscar Grant, shot in the back while handcuffed, in front of many BART commuter witnesses. That same day, Adolph Grimes from New Orleans was killed by 48 bullets while sitting in his car in front of his grandmother’s house. In a suburb of Houston, Robbie Tolan was shot in his own driveway (he survived), after protesting the way the cops roughed up his mother. There were also police murders that day in Los Angeles, Grand Rapids, Sacramento, and Seattle.
During Memorial Day week (May 24 –30) law enforcement killed at least 23 people nationally in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
In May, many watched in horror the Youtube video that captured Toledo, Ohio police beating and choking fourteen-year old Trevor Casey. There are numerous videos of police brutality, including the tasering of 37-year-old Audra Harmon while her children watched from the car, after she was stopped by an Onondaga County, New York cop for allegedly talking on her cell phone. While arguing that tasers are safe and humane, police throughout the country have killed with tasers. They have tasered pregnant women, 72-year old grandmothers and six-year olds, and sodomized a handcuffed man with a taser.
Police brutality is as intense as ever throughout the nation, and resistance is even more important now when too many have bought into the illusions of a “post-racial society.” There are some who believe that because we have a black President in office that everything will be okay now, that we no longer need to struggle and protest. The racial profiling arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the shooting death of off-duty black police officer Omar Edwards by fellow New York Police Department (NYPD) should have proven that false. This year, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeal has been denied, as was probation for Leonard Peltier.
The truth is that we have never achieved anything without a fight. In August 2009, Juanita Young’s entire family was brutalized and arrested in a police raid. As Juanita (mother of Malcolm Ferguson, killed by NYPD in 2000) says, “You can’t give in. They will try to make an example out of you, try to break your spirit. If you don’t resist and keep on fighting, they will be able to get away with what they’re trying to do to us."
Immigrant families across the country are being torn apart. The expansion in July 2009 of the 287(g) program of the Illegal Immigration Law, empowering local law enforcement agencies to make immigration arrests, has resulted in an increase of racial profiling arrests (DWH, Driving While Hispanic). Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently revealed that there were ten deaths of immigrants in their custody that were not previously reported, bringing the total number of detainees who have died under ICE custody since 2003 up to 104. There have also been many reports of physical and sexual abuse of inmates by prison staff in federal prisons and detention centers across the nation.
October 22 is a powerful day for going up against this repression, because it brings together those directly under the gun of police violence with other sections of society not under the gun. It challenges the “divide and conquer” lies and cover-ups that keep us apart, bringing people of different backgrounds to stand together to expose and oppose these outrages. Across the country, in different cities and through different means of expression, we raise a resounding "NO" to these to these police raids, attacks on the youth and immigrants, and destroying of lives.
Who will be the next victim of our city's rampaging, murderous cops? Will it be you, or someone you love? Who will the New Orleans police Department (NOPD) kill next? Who will they kill and then defame? You have seen the headlines, you have heard the stories. If you have lived here for any length of time, you know the deal. NOPD is a haven for thieves, liars, perjurers, drug dealers, pimps rapists, killers — the absolute scum of humanity.
They loot the evidence room to sell drugs, they run prostitution rings, they form untouchable rogue "sub-patrols" of ultra-violent, steroid-pumped police, such as the pigs who cold-bloodedly, without provocation killed Adolph Grimes III outside his grandmother’s house and then lied about it.
New Orleans demands accountability from its murderous police — accountability and justice. The blood of the innocents killed cries to us from the ground. We are listening.
Meanwhile, Pres Kabacoff, the greedy quadrillionaire who brought Wal-Mart to Tchopitoulas, who replaced the St. Thomas brick with vinyl-sided suburban claptrap, has created a grotesquerie on St. Claude. In the process of renovating the Universal Furniture building into a so-called "healing center," he invited in a NOPD substation to enjoy an indefinite stay, rent-free. The NOPD — a bastion of the greatest illness afflicting our city — to complement the new age cornucopia. Pouring salt in the wound, this "healing center" is currently hosting a goofy Halloween event they are calling the "Jailhouse of Horrors."
The Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) is no Halloween joke, no fairy tale. Even after the much-hyped revamp, it has been cited by the ACLU, Amnesty International and even the U.S. Justice Department (surely an oxymoronic agency!) for its violations of civil rights, its ghastly brutality and savagery towards the people it imprisons.
The people of New Orleans have hated the NOPD forever. We hate them, but we fear them less and less. Times are changing. This year, the National Day of Action Against Police Brutality (October 22) came early to the Fifth District. We have added a dash of reality to expose the true horror of the New Orleans Criminal "Justice" System: a memorial to those murdered by NOPD. The memorial has been placed in the St. Claude neutral ground at St. Roch. May the memories of the people killed serve as a reminder — prison and police will never be part of the solution, short-term or long-term. […]
The vileness of the police is not a question of a few "bad apples." It is a problem of an entirely toxic tree, a poison tree, rotten to the root-tips. The Police system is a disease that needs to be cured for New Orleans' human ecology to survive. Do not trust NOPD. Do not talk to them. Do not call them. They are killers.
Let us build a tomorrow without police. Do your part. Every small pebble of defiance contributes to building an avalanche.
Justice for the Numberless Victims of the Police!
We post below the statement by the October 22 nd Bay Area. The statement follows a court ruling that the trial for the one policeman being tried for the murder of Oscar Grant will be moved out of Oakland. According to officer Johannes Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, too many people have heard about the case and so many African Americans in Oakland have been brutalized by the police that they would be incapable of rendering a “fair” judgment! The judge agreed. The new location has not yet been announced thought the trial is set to begin November 2.
It is well known that for the large majority of police killings no one is charged, and when one is, the trial is moved — specially if the killing was videotaped, like the killing of Grant and the beating of Rodney King. Voice of Revolution denounces the police killing and brutality taking place nationwide and salutes all those standing up to defend the rights of those brutalized and killed by the police.
* * *
People are outraged, and they should be! The rally and march on Thursday, October 22, must be a powerful political expression of our anger and determination to stop a system that sets the police on the people and then defends them from punishment.
First the police murder Oscar Grant in cold blood! [The police killing was videotaped and took place on New Year's Day, on the platform at the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Fruitvale Station.] Now, the judge has agreed with the murderer’s attorney that killer cop Johannes Mehserle cannot get a fair trial in Oakland. A screaming irony, considering the “fair trial” that Oscar received at the hands of judge-jury-executioner Mehserle. Justice for Oscar Grant!
The system looks like they are fixing to let killer cop Johannes Mehserle walk free. We have seen this before. The cop/killers of Amadou Diallo were acquitted when the trial was moved from New York City – where Amadou was shot 19 times – to [Albany] New York. And we remember the innocence verdict that was given to the cops who mercilessly beat Rodney King, after the venue was changed from Los Angeles to Ronald Reagan-land and cop city, Simi Valley. That one was also on video!
The judge and Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, agree. Too many people have heard about the case. Too many people have protested. And, incredibly, Rains argued that so many Black people in Oakland have been brutalized by the police that they would be incapable of rendering a “fair” judgment!
No, the problem is not that people know too much about police brutality. Except for those millions whose daily lives are under the heel of police 24/7, most people from other sections of society know too little – choose to ignore or are kept ignorant – of the exploding national epidemic of police brutality and murder, growing repression, and the criminalization of a whole generation of youth. And hardly anyone knows the extent of this brutality, with thousands having been killed at the hands of law enforcement.
Johannes Mehserle’s attorney Michael “Rains argued that so many Black people in Oakland have been brutalized by the police that they would be incapable of rendering a ‘fair’ judgment!”
This has to change, and it can. By building a powerful rally and march on October 22nd, encouraging people from many sections of society to step out that day, crossing the divides that separate us, standing with the people who are the targets of police violence – we can send a loud message that says:
Enough Is Enough! No More Stolen Lives!
Georgia State University in Atlanta:
San Francisco/Bay Area