Important Meeting Tonight
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The Dogs Are Still in the Streets!
Over 600 people already killed by police in the U.S. this year
July 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Ryan Keith Bolinger
Ryan Keith Bolinger
Alfontish “Nunu” Cockerham
Alfontish “Nunu” Cockerham
Spencer Lee McCain
In 1978, Gil Scott-Heron released a song that cut to the bone about the nature of this country. It was titled “Jose Campos Torres”—after a Chicano man who was murdered by six Houston cops on May 5, 1977. Police beat him brutally. They handcuffed him and threw him into Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston. One of the murdering cops said, “Let’s see if the wetback can swim.” Joe Torres drowned in the bayou. The murder and the slap-on-the-wrist penalties for the murdering police sparked the Moody Park Rebellion, a powerful uprising of Chicano people in Houston in 1978.
The song lyrics include:
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more poems like this
I had said I wasn’t going to write no more words down about people kicking us when we’re down
About racist dogs that attack us and drive us down, drag us down and beat us down
But the dogs are in the street
The dogs are alive and the terror in our hearts has scarcely diminished
Thirty-eight years after Jose Campos Torres… Sixty years after white racists lynched Emmett Till… The dogs are still in the streets.
The editorial in this week’s online issue of Revolution sharply lays out one of the big, urgent reasons behind the call for massive protests this October 22-24 against police murder:
Because police STILL kill Black and Brown children for playing with toy guns and choke Black men to death in Staten Island and Mississippi and then curse them at their last dying breath, because cops disappear a young Black woman into a Texas county jail and “somehow” she doesn’t come out alive, because 26 of these mad dogs stomp a young man for riding his bike the wrong way in Philly, because they shoot down and murder Latinos who have their hands in the air in LA or maybe throw a rock in Washington state while backing up… and it’s all on video and NOTHING IS DONE, still NOTHING IS DONE…(From “October 24 Outpouring Against Police Murder: Which Side Are You On? An Audacious Plan…And the Ways to Make It Happen”)
This is reality in America today: For millions and millions of people, being Black, Latino, or poor means you can get stopped, brutalized, and even killed at the hands of the police, for anything or for nothing at all.
Just a few of the police murders in the last three months:
Baltimore, April 12—Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man, was walking near the Gilmore Homes projects when cops started chasing him because he made “eye contact.” The cops caught Gray—one witness said they had him “folded up like he was a crab or a piece of origami.” Another said he was “screaming for his life” while being dragged to the police wagon. The cops took him for what is notoriously known as a “rough ride” where the police drive around making sharp turns and quick stops, brutalizing people they’ve shackled. By the time the cops arrived at the police station, Gray was unconscious, with extreme spinal injury and a crushed voice box. He went into and remained in a coma until his death a week later.
Long Beach, California, April 23—Hector Morejon, 19, was killed when cops shot through the window of an apartment they supposedly thought was being “vandalized.” His mother came out and saw Morejon in an ambulance crying out, “Mommy, mommy, please come, please come.” The cops claim Morejon had a gun—but he was unarmed.
Los Angeles, May 5—Brendon Glenn, a homeless 29-year-old Black man, got into some sort of altercation with cops in the Venice Beach area when he was shot and killed. He carried no weapons. This came just two months after the LAPD murder of another unarmed homeless Black man, who was known as Africa.
Long Beach, May 27—Feras Morad, a 20-year-old college student, had a bad reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms and jumped out of a window of an apartment. He was wounded, shirtless, unarmed—clearly under medical duress and needing help. What did the cops who arrived do? Instead of giving Morad the help he obviously needed, they first Tased him—and then shot him point blank in the chest. A witness said Morad had his hands up when the cops shot him.
Lyndhurst, New Jersey, May 29—Kevin Allen, a 36-year-old Black man, was entering a library when several cops followed him and then proceeded to open fire, shooting him to death on the third floor where the children’s room is located and there were kids present. The police claimed Allen was holding a “utility style knife,” but Allen posed no danger to anyone involved.
Des Moines, Iowa, June 9—Ryan Keith Bolinger, a 28-year-old white man and maintenance worker, was reportedly seen “dancing in the street or making unusual movements in the street.” He then led police on a low-speed car chase. When the police blocked him, Bolinger got out and was approaching one of the police cars when the cop shot through the window, killing Bolinger. The cop claimed she fired the gun because Bolinger “walked with purpose.” Bolinger was unarmed.
Chicago, June 20—Witnesses say Alfontish “Nunu” Cockerham, a 23-year-old Black man, had his hands up when the cop said, “Die, motherfucker” and opened fire in an alley on the South Side. This was only a few blocks away from where the cops had murdered another youth, Jeffrey Kemp, known as JJ, in April. Cockerham died in the hospital two days later.
Owning Mills, Maryland, June 25—The Baltimore County police, answering a call about a beating of a woman by the father of her child, busted down the doors to the apartment and fired 19 shots, killing Spencer Lee McCain, a 41-year-old Black man. The police claim they thought McCain was armed because he was in a “defensive position.” No weapon was found at the scene.
Stonewall, Mississippi, July 8—Jonathan Sanders, a 39-year-old Black man and father of two children, was in a horse-drawn buggy. According to Sanders’ attorney, witnesses said that when Sanders passed by a cop who had stopped a motorist, Sanders said, “Why don’t you leave that man alone?” The cop said, “I’m going to get that nigger”—and then yanked Sanders to the ground, choking him. The cop had Sanders in a chokehold for 20 minutes as Sanders repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” The cop choked him to death.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, July 10—The police say they responded to a 911 call and found Anthony Ware, a 35-year-old Black man, sitting on a porch of a residence with a gun. The police chased Ware to a nearby woods, caught him, and hit him with OC (pepper) spray. Shortly after, while handcuffed, Ware collapsed—and he was pronounced dead at the hospital. No weapons were found at the scene.
Waller County, Texas, July 13—Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman, was just starting a new position at the Prairie View A&M College. She was outspoken against the murder and brutality committed by police against Black people. Then a traffic stop for not signaling a lane change led first to her being brutalized—and then to death under police custody. A video taken by a bystander at the traffic stop shows Sandra Bland pinned to the ground by a cop who has his knee in her back, her hands cuffed behind her. The authorities say she was arrested for being “argumentative and uncooperative”—as if that, even if it were true, somehow justifies two cops brutalizing her and putting her in jail on totally bullshit charges. Three days later, they said they found her body in her cell at the county jail and that she died from “self-inflicted asphyxiation.” In other words, they claim Bland hanged herself using a plastic garbage bag. Her family and friends are not buying the cops’ story and are demanding answers. The sheriff in charge of the county jail has for many years been notorious for his racism and brutality. Whatever the exact circumstances of Sandra Bland’s death, the blood is on the hands of the cops.
The powers-that-be are working continually to “change the subject”—from the murders and brutality committed by police across the U.S. to “Black-on-Black violence” and the depiction of cops as “heroes.” But they can’t erase away the reality: wanton murder by police continues, on a constant and daily basis. As of mid-July, more than 600 people have already been killed by police this year. (See the Guardian newspaper’s online project, “The Counted: People killed by police in the U.S.” The list is updated daily.) And countless more are beaten, Tased, and brutalized by the police every day.
According to the Guardian, of the 464 people killed by police through the first five months of this year, 102 were unarmed. The statistics show that 32 percent of Black people killed by the police in that period were unarmed, as were 25 percent of Latino people killed—compared with 15 percent of white people. And out of the total number of people killed by police, 29 percent were African-American. As the Guardian notes, “The figures illustrate how disproportionately black Americans, who make up just 13% of the country’s total population according to census data, are killed by police.”
And the murdering cops continue to walk free with impunity. Witness, for example, the outrageous decision in May that found the Cleveland cop Michael Brelo “not guilty” in the 2012 killing of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. Brelo was one of 13 cops who fired 137 shots at Russell and Williams, who were unarmed—and the only one that got any serious charges.
How much longer will these horrors continue to go on and on and on? Every person who finds the killing and brutality by the armed enforcers intolerable must take a stand against these crimes—and side with the fight to put a STOP to police murder and terror.
And there is no damn reason for these mad-dog killers to be in the streets except that they are the armed enforcers of a system of slavery and oppression in many forms. Revolution that fully uproots that system will change this shit on day one. Then, and only then, will we no longer have to write more poems about these dogs.
Copyright © 2015 Stop Mass Incarceration Bay Area, All rights reserved.
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