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Killings by Police: Several Vectors of Potential Tipping Points

By wendy davis

Rob Urie, writing at Counterpunch, posits that the murder of Unarmed Black While Running Away™ #Walter Scott by Michael Slager in North Charleston, SC might be a social inflection point for killings by police, given that he will be tried for murder.

But he warns that only the future can predict ‘ifs’ in rearview mirrors, and that only the citizen video that surfaced actually changed police minds from ‘justified’ to ‘murder’, as he was caught on film red-handed by Feidin Santana executing Mr. Scott: reflexive prosecutor, judge, and jury.

[Status quo political minister alert: ‘The Rev. Al Sharpton lauds North Charleston mayor, police chief in sermon’]

As we’ve seen before, his black partner backed up his egregious lies of ‘he reached for my gun’, and seemed fine with planting evidence at the scene. ‘Black cops donning white skin of the oppressor state with their police uniforms’ is becoming only too familiar. Oh, my; and look at this: ‘Clarence Habersham, who was with Michael Slager during shooting, is being sued by another black resident who alleges that he ‘stomped on his face’. And he was not fired. Brutality Impunity.

Can Slager’s attorney convince a jury that he was ‘reasonably in fear for his life’ (SCOTUS standard)?

If he’s convicted, how much will it matter?

Can the Chicago cop who killed #Rekia Boyd on trial this week convince a jury of the same thing? If so, how much will it matter to stopping the killings?

Will there be justice for schizophrenic Laval Hall killed by Miami Gardens police for carrying a broom while being in his underwear? His mother told them he’d just gotten out of the mental hospital, but it didn’t matter. Ka-boom! But at least the cowards cuffed him once he was dead…

Or for Jason Harris whose mother called 911 for help with her schizophrenic son, and was murdered for standing in the doorway while holding a screwdriver?

Can Cleveland Cop Michael Brelo’s attorney actually convince the jury in his current trial for voluntary manslaughter that he didn’t remember jumping onto the roof of two unarmed black citizens’ car and firing 15 of the 49 bullets that killed them? His attorney has already claimed that the cops were only ‘eliminating a threat’ to those vicious cop assassin’s lives.

Eric Harris, criminal suspect, has likely already received all of the ‘justice’ he’ll ever know, as his execution while fleeing Tulsa cops was ‘just an accident’. “Fuck your breath” said one of the cops, moments before he died.

This video of anglo Francis Pusok, has gone viral, perhaps due to the fact that his brutal beat down by ten cops was captured by a television reporter in San Bernardino. He was facedown on the ground when the cop frenzy took place. Will the US Reagan/Thatcher ‘individualists’ Urie writes about take note of it, and object? Or instead, even though white, will he be considered ‘just another deserving criminal suspect’? The department intends to investigate the incident.

As Rob Urie writes in ‘Race and Class are the Real Targets of Police Repression: Disarm the Police’, the many commissions appointed to ‘study the problem’ recommend more body cams on police (fine idea, President Obama), which cameras are often used to cover up crimes by police, and ‘better policing’, which of course, doesn’t recognize the core problem that racism and classism are built into the system, and always have been.

A system cannot fail those who it was never built to protect.

~ W.E.B. DuBois


The origins of police were slave patrols, the first ones created in the Carolina Colony in 1704, but they soon spread widely, including North, and apparently Constable Associations were formed to protect citizens from disgruntled Indians in New England and even St. Louis.

The questions not being asked are why the police exist in the first place; why they are armed and if they are to be armed, why citizens don’t have the legal right to defend themselves against police violence? The ‘self-evidence’ of the need for police is premised on maintenance of a social order that has violent repression as its ‘logical’ outcome.”

He notes that Slager was acting as an agent of the state, which history of black, colonization and brutality goes back to early Charleston, an entry port for predominantly kidnapped African slaves, but that the more recent police oppression timeline began in Oakland with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, designed to stop the police from murdering blacks with impunity. He lists their demands, which are not far from the others we see in Chicago, Ferguson, and NYC.

It wasn’t until the armed Panthers entered the state house in Sacramento that the modern gun control movement was born, notably limiting its interests to keeping the poor and powerless disarmed under the principle that, centuries of history to the contrary, concentrated social power exists to ‘protect’ them.”

That I hadn’t known.

The “Disarm the NYPD Coalition’ I wrote about earlier wants to create ‘cop free zones’. A new coalition calling itself ‘Safety Beyond Policing’ including the Million Hoodies, (#NoNewNYPD) is campaigning to funnel the millions dollars those cops would cost into making citizens’ worlds better, and their communities stronger.

We don’t need more cops. We want strong communities.
Communities of color are being systematically over-policed while also being displaced by rising rent and gentrification. We must repair the damage of mass criminalization and help people return to their communities instead of squandering resources. Resources that help our communities thrive, lift our social net and also lower core drivers of crime are key and we demand the City Council invest the $97 million annual dollars proposed for 1,000 new cops instead towards those solutions instead.” And they offer a list of areas including mental health, public housing, transportation, and youth jobs programs.

You can follow Dante Barry, director of Million Hoodies, on Twitter, including this priceless pic:

Oddly enough, just before Urie penned his piece, the head of the Georgia SCLC, the Reverend Samuel Mosteller called on blacks to arm themselves in order to defend themselves against murderous police. Referencing both the recent killings of Nicholas Thomas and bipolar Anthony Hill by police, he said (via AJC.com):

“You stand there, (police) shoot. You run, they shoot. We’re going to have to take a different tack,” Samuel Mosteller, longtime president of the Georgia SCLC, told reporters. “Nobody is protecting the black community,” Mosteller said.”

And from From Glen Ford:
“If the Black Lives Matter mobilization is to sustain itself – if it is to go beyond protests against the latest police atrocity and become a full-fledged movement – it must embrace the principle of Black community control of the police. The entire history of the United States screams out that Black people must define and control the processes by which justice is meted out in their own communities. If there is one historical truth that is indisputable in America, it is that Black people have never gotten justice from the U.S. criminal justice system – which is why one out of every eight prison inmates on planet Earth is a Black American.

In the nearly half century since the Black Panther Party described the police as an army of occupation in Black America, we have learned the very painful lesson that inclusion of large numbers of Blacks among the ranks of the police does not change the nature of the occupation. Nor does the naming of Black police chiefs, or the election of Black mayors and city councils – and certainly not the election of a Black corporate president. In fact, the Mass Black Incarceration regime – what Michelle Alexander calls the “New Jim Crow” – gains legitimacy through diversity in hiring and the collaboration of the servile Black political class. Black cops get jobs, but people get no justice, because the mission of the police remains the same: to contain, control and terrorize the Black community. That’s their job. And that will remain the mission of policing in the Black community until the community seizes control of the police.”

He guides readers to the Black Is Back Coalition, and Omali Yeshitayla, and their upcoming conference in St. Louis on April 18 and 19.

You can read their Political Overview For April Conference on Black Community Control of Police here. It’s quite long, and ends with these words:

“Clearly the demand and struggle for Black Community Control of the Police is a revolutionary demand. It is a demand that is required by these times of rising consciousness of Africans and the oppressed of the world.

And, like every revolutionary demand during historically critical moments the demand for Black Community Control of Police will have to be a consciously wielded ideological and political weapon directed at all forms of opportunism that would misdirect the energies of a newly awakened colonial mass.

The momentum achieved already in the struggle against colonial police violence and judicial collaboration must be captured and put in to work in the interests of our colonized people to defeat the white power colonial State and capture black State power in our own black hands.

Black Community Control of Police now!

But sadly, I can’t find any mention of the conference on the Twitter accounts of the most well-known protestors there.

In case you’re unable to remember many of the names of those unarmed, but killed by police, ‘Mapping Police Violence’ has the stories of over a hundred unarmed black people who were killed in 2014. This is their report from March of this year. And via Brown Blaze:

‘Some things you must always be unable to bear. Some things you must never stop refusing to bear. Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame. No matter how young you are or how old you have become, refuse to bear them.’

~ William Faulkner

BREAKING: After public pressure, Reserve Deputy Bob Bates charged with second-degree manslaughter in shooting death of #EricHarris

And yes, there is a city with no police. In Spain.Yes, There Really Is A City With No Cops!

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Crossposted from café babylon

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