The response was immediate. The very afternoon the Persecutor (“misspelling” intended) in St. Louis officially announced what had already been leaked to the corporate media the
protest started in Oakland CA. About 1000 people gathered downtown and marched to the 580 freeway where they outmaneuvered the cops and blocked it off.
And it is no wonder; nobody trusts “the system” nowadays, despite what Obama might say. And for good reason. The entire procedure from start to finish smacked of a cover up. Consider that the police left Brown’s body lying in the street for hours while they figured out how to cover up this murder. Consider that to this day there has not been an official police report. And consider the highly unusual procedure for this Grand Jury
“investigation:” The purpose of a Grand Jury hearing is simply to decide if there is enough evidence to decide that a crime might have been committed. Might. “If the prosecutor wants an indictment and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong,” said Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who has written critically about grand juries. “It just doesn’t happen.”
And here’s what Jeryryl T. Christmas, former prosecutor in St. Louis and present defense attorney had to say about the matter: “It’s very rare that you even bring a defendant in at the Grand Jury level, and most of the time, I’m going to tell you quite frankly, most of the time that we would bring a defendant in to testify at the Grand Jury level was because we didn’t want the case issued, because we don’t have an obligation at that stage to present the the defense. Because our goal, and remember we’re the prosecutors, is to get an indictment. So normally when the prosecutors want to get rid of a case, they will bring the defendant in… (And Darryn Wilcon has had time) to conform his story to fit what’s already outthere… Darren Wilson came in and testified for four hours. Now, as a defense attorney, I’m not going to allow my client to come in and testify for four hours unless I feel very comfortable about how they are going to handle my client while he’s in the Grand Jury…. The reality is that the Grand Jury is an arm of the prosecution…. It’s not at this level a difficult feat to get an indictment if you want an indictment. The thing is that the prosecutor didn’t want an indictment.“
Obama and all the corporate politicians, liberal and conservative alike, carry on about our dedicated police officers who “put their lives on the line every day.” What are the facts?
- Although full time sworn police officers compose .3% of the adult US population, they committed 461 homicides in 2012 – the highest number in decades. This is 3% of all homicides in 2013, 10 times more than their relative numbers would indicate. Yet not a single one of those homicides was found to be unjustified by the authorities.
- The number of police feloniously killed in 2013 was 27. This figure has been declining every year for years and is the lowest number in 50 years.
In other words, while felonious assaults on cops has decreased, their assaults on civilians has increased. But it’s not just any civilians – black and Latino people especially have born the brunt of this. Consider the case of 12 year-old Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by
the Cleveland cops just last weekend. Somebody had called in that a child was playing with a gun that “was probably fake”. The cops came out and gunned him down, claiming that he had reached into his waistband after they told him to put his hands up. Or the case of John Crawford, gunned down by the cops in a Wal Mart in Ohio (an open carry state) while he held a toy rifle before they even gave him a chance to put it down. (Surveillance video showed that he wasn’t a threat to anybody.) Compare that to the case of Lance Tamayo, a white man, who held off the cops for close to an hour, waving a pistol all around, before finally being shot (non-fatally). Or the case of another middle aged white man inKalamazoo, MI, who was waving a gun around on a busy street corner for a half hour, before the cops talked him down.
The other point is this: These 461 homicides by the cops in 2013 are only the more noticed side of the story. What rarely is discussed is the constant daily harassment, the stop and frisks, the constant disrespect and abuse in ways large and small, by the police on ordinary, every-day people in the US, most especially people of color. Truly, as US capitalism enters ever deeper into crisis, as it must economically exploit and oppress more and more people, it also must repress and abuse them in order to intimidate them. It may be that not every cop, or even the majority of cops, brutalize and murder people. It may be that not every one is racist. But every single one will cover up for those who are and do.
As a movement develops around this issue, we should consider some steps that might be taken. These could include:
- No confidence in any wing of the corporate-controlled criminal (in)justice system; for a people’s grand jury in every poor and working class community to hear about and publicize every case of police abuse and brutality;
- Connect the issue of police abuse with the employers’ economic abuse and the issue of low pay, unemployment and poverty;
- For working class people’s candidates for office, starting at the local level, with those candidates basing themselves on and being a part of the movement in the streets and standing completely outside of and opposed to the Republicrat politicians and parties.
Categories: Ferguson, Oakland, racism, United States
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