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Accueil du site > 0 - PREFACE > Police of USA killing black people : From Selma to Ferguson

Police of USA killing black people : From Selma to Ferguson

vendredi 13 mars 2015

From Selma to Ferguson

This past weekend people poured into Selma, Alabama to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous civil rights march. The original march was met with a furious and brutal response by Alabama police. Among those beaten was John Lewis, an activist in SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) that was organizing in Selma. Today Lewis is a member of the House of Representatives. He marched, with Obama. But the presence of the politicians does not change the reality of history or the need to fight racism today.

Those who represent the interests of the 1%, whether they are in the White House, the Congress or the Board Rooms of the corporations will never provide the leadership we need. Obama and Eric Holder, the current head of the Justice Department, can point to the report of the racism of the Ferguson police department as a stand against racism. The report documents what is well known to the people of Ferguson and became known throughout the country following the murder of Michael Brown. Black people are targeted by a mainly white police department and subject to all sorts of harassment.

And what will the impact of this report be ? Who will be indicted and imprisoned for this systematic terror against the Black people of the area ? We didn’t have to wait long for an answer. The same day this report was issued, the Justice Department issued another report saying that Darren Wilson, the cop who murdered Michael Brown, did not violate Brown’s civil rights !

According to their law, the racism and brutality of the cops is not significant. After getting advice from police lawyers, Wilson claimed he was fearful of Brown, who was unarmed and almost 150 feet away from Wilson’s patrol car when he was shot. Because there is no way to disprove his claim of fear, Wilson walks. That would be like claiming that people coming over the bridge in Selma 50 years ago frightened Jim Clark, Selma’s notorious racist sheriff, causing him to lead his brutal attack.

It’s clear, one more report exposing the racism of the police forces will not stop police brutality. Are we to believe that those in power have been unaware of the violence of their police ? Are we to believe they are unaware of the violence of their prison system ? Are we to believe they are unaware of the violence of the grinding poverty generated by their system ? Of course not !

The Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of “Bloody Sunday”, still carries the name of a racist U.S. Senator and Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. The Voting Rights Act, which was enacted after “Bloody Sunday”, expired recently and was not extended by Congress. Both stand as symbols of the racism of this society today.

In Selma, Obama and other politicians, talked about the huge changes the Civil Rights movement made. It swept away the open laws of segregation that had existed for 75 years. It challenged the pervasive and open racism of this society. It inspired movements through the years that followed, leading to an expansion of rights for Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, women, people with disabilities, gays and lesbians and others whose rights had been ignored.

The politicians’ encouraging words and advice to be patient do not point a way forward. The lesson of the movement is that if we are going to change things, we must rely on ourselves. Lyndon Johnson did push for the Voting Rights Act but only after national media coverage of the violence of “Bloody Sunday”. Before that, he opposed the Selma march and the demand for a federal voters rights law.

The people of Selma did not wait for Johnson to send troops or marshals to protect them. They did not wait until Johnson was ready to support their right to vote. And 50 years later, the people of Ferguson did not wait for a Justice Department that didn’t know or care about Ferguson to act. They took to the streets day after day and month after month, demanding justice.

History shows that the changes that we need will come into being by our own actions, not those whose goal is to maintain the order of this system.

3 Messages de forum

  • The widespread murderous behavior of the police in this country has been exposed for all to see. The murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, broke the silence. The people of Ferguson refused to be ignored. They took to the streets – day after day and month after month demanding justice and refusing to be silenced.

    Now the focus is on Baltimore, Maryland where thousands have taken to the streets because of the refusal of the authorities to respond to the killing of Freddie Gray by the Baltimore cops. Gray was chased down after he fled from a cop when they exchanged glances. He was beaten and thrown in a police van and when he arrived at the police station he had suffered severe injuries – his spinal chord was severed, he had three fractured vertebrae and a crushed voice box. He fell into a coma, was taken to a trauma center and died a week later. None of the cops admitted to using any force, none have been charged. Finally six cops were suspended, with pay.

    We shouldn’t be surprised at the attitude of the authorities. This is business as usual. Last year grand juries let the cops off who murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Since then, video after video has been posted of cops shooting people down in cold blood, among them 12- year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland.

    Tens of thousands of people across the country have demonstrated against the brutality of this system and its cops. This has forced some officials to do more than conduct the usual cover-ups. There have been promises of investigations and even a few prosecutions. But the reality is, nothing has really changed. This past March, the police killed 111 people – 10 more than last year.

    There have been many proposals to stop police violence. Some hope to reform the police or hope the federal government will crack down on racist cops. Others demand better training or monitoring of the police, or for the cops to wear cameras.
    Asking those in power to monitor their police is like putting arsonists in charge of the fire departments. We can’t depend on them. We need to depend on our own forces. And the growing anger and mobilizations could be a start. People have begun to put those in power on notice that we will not tolerate the violence of their police. And, if tens of thousands of people respond each time a cop brutalizes someone, they may not be so quick to beat or shoot people.

    We must stand up against this police violence. We must demand an end to these murderous practices. But, the reality is the police are the perpetrators of the violence of this system. In the poorest neighborhoods, wracked by the violence of poverty, the cops ride the hardest. Where people live more comfortable lives, police violence and other violence is minimal.
    To put an end to the violence of the police means putting an end to violence of this society – the exploitation and the dehumanization that capitalism causes. Is this possible ? Yes ! We really have no other choice, if we are to have a livable future

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  • Dans une vidéo filmée par une caméra embarquée par un policier californien, une jeune femme noire et enceinte de huit mois se fait plaquer au sol et menotter sans ménagement. Une arrestation jugée arbitraire et raciste, par l’association à l’origine de la publication de ces images.

    Malgré l’absence de preuves, elle a été considérée comme une criminelle. Dans une vidéo qui dure une dizaine de minutes, une femme noire enceinte de huit mois, se fait violemment plaquer au sol, à plat ventre, et menotter. L’arrestation, qui s’est passée en janvier à Barstow, près de Los Angeles, a été enregistrée par la mini-caméra embarquée d’un des policiers. Certains agents de police en sont équipés lors de leurs interventions.

    Cette vidéo a été rendue publique jeudi par l’Union américaine pour les libertés civiles (Aclu), engagée dans la lutte contre les bavures policières aux Etats-Unis.

    L’arrestation musclée de Michelle Cooks fait suite à une altercation sur le parking de l’école de sa fille, avec une autre mère, blanche, relate CNN. Appréhendée par deux agents de police appelés sur les lieux par l’autre mère, Michelle refuse de décliner son identité, ce qui est son droit n’étant pas accusée de crime, et se fait passer des menottes de force : "Je suis malgré ses protestations. Dans la vidéo, on l’entend répéter enceinte ne me touchez pas". Elle sera quand même couchée à terre.

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  • The number of people killed by police so far this year topped 500 this week as the nationwide epidemic of police violence continued, with cops killing 20 people over the past seven days alone.

    The US media largely has ignored the 500-victim milestone, with headlines this week dominated by the attempt to whip up law-and-order hysteria around the massive manhunt to recapture two inmates who recently escaped from Clinton Correctional Facility in New York.

    The 500th fatality of the year, according to one database of police killings, occurred Monday night when members of the Maricopa County SWAT team gunned down 69-year-old Richard Warolf, a suicidal man, during a courtesy call requested by his family in Sun City, a suburb of Phoenix.

    The following night, a police officer in Des Moines, Iowa shot and killed unarmed 28-year-old Ryan Bollinger through the window of her squad car after a two-minute low-speed chase.

    The nine other people killed by police since Monday include : Matthew Wayne McDaniel, a 35-year-old from Florida ; Rene Garcia, a 30-year-old California man killed during a traffic stop ; Mario Ocasio, a 51-year-old from New York City, killed by a Taser ; Jeremy John Linhart, 30 years old from Ohio, also killed during a traffic stop ; Ross Anthony, 25, from Dallas, killed by a Taser ; an unknown suicidal 45-year-old male from the Houston area ; QuanDavier Hicks, 22, from Cincinnati ; Isiah Hampton, 19, from New York City ; an unknown homeless man from Miami, shot five times by an officer, and Charles Allen Ziegler, 40, from Pompano Beach, Florida.

    The judicial system, meanwhile, continues to shield killer cops from prosecution. On Thursday, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty dismissed an advisory ruling from a local judge that found that the police involved in the shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio last year could be charged with a crime.

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