What to Make of the Police Walking Free After Murdering Freddie Gray... And What to DO About It
August 1, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On July 27, Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby announced that she was dropping all remaining charges against the pigs that murdered Freddie Gray. Four of them had already been tried without any convictions. Now they will all walk free.
Look, you know this was unjust when the prosecutor herself tells you that police sabotaged the case against Freddie Gray. That “lead detectives ... were completely uncooperative and started a counter-investigation to disprove the state’s case by not executing search warrants pertaining to text messages among officers involved in the case.” That police “[created] videos to disprove the state’s case.” And that as things are set up under the current “criminal justice system, we could try this case, a hundred times, and cases just like it, and we would still end up with the same result.”
And that is not even half the story. The whole system—politicians, police, judge, and yes prosecution—all worked to sabotage this case. (See “A Prosecutor’s Revelations... a SYSTEM of IN-Justice“ at revcom.us.)
It Takes a SYSTEM to Uphold Murder by Police
Think about what it took to even get these murdering pigs charged in the first place. The world saw Freddie Gray bent like a pretzel—for nothing—on video. His screams of pain could be heard a block away in the projects. He got brutalized on one of those police van “rough rides” that any Black person in Baltimore knows about.
Despite all that, it took an uprising to even get the prosecutor to charge police with killing Freddie Gray. It took youths refusing to back down in the face of pigs taunting and beating them. It took going beyond the bounds of respectable protest. It took setting aside deadly gang beefs and standing united against police terror. It took college students—including white students and students from elite universities—standing with the oppressed demanding justice.
And then look at how the system responded: Barack Obama called the youth thugs—while saying nothing of the kind about the police who murdered Freddie Gray. The powers that be orchestrated a spike in violent crime among the people. Youths were hunted down and arrested for being part of the uprising. The same system that couldn’t find any of the pigs who murdered Freddie Gray guilty of anything,convicted and sentenced a 20-year-old Black youth, Donta Betts, to 15 years in prison for damaging property in response to police provoking and attacking youths after they murdered Freddie Gray. At Donta Betts’ sentencing hearing, the prosecution demanded a harsh sentence because they said he displayed “sheer hate and contempt” for the police.
To add insult to injury, the murdering pigs are getting big back-pay settlements for the time they were off work.
The fact that justice has NOT been done in the Freddie Gray murder is yet more evidence that when police murder Black and Latino and Native American youths, they are doing their job as enforcers for this system of exploitation and oppression. If that wasn’t the case, then why would the whole system go to such extremes to let police walk when they are caught red-handed murdering someone—as they were in the case of Freddie Gray?
And it is a whole system in on that—politicians, ruling class media, police, prosecutors, and courts... and the feds too.
“What are we to make of this? What are we to take from it?”
Protesters show determined resistance to the murder of Freddie Gray by Baltimore police. Baltimore, MD, April 28, 2015. AP photo
The obscenity and injustice of letting these murdering police walk has intensified the ongoing state of outrage among millions. Writing in the New York Times, in a column titled “Incandescent With Rage,” Charles Blow posed:
“Yet another black man’s body broken without anyone’s being called to account, another soul lingering on the other side of the grave without justice on this side of the living. No officer has been convicted in the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Tanisha Anderson, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and dozens more. Indeed, according to Mapping Police Violence, ‘only 10 of the 102 cases in 2015 where an unarmed black person was killed by police resulted in officer(s) being charged with a crime, and only 2 of these deaths (Matthew Ajibade and Eric Harris) resulted in convictions of officers involved.’”
And Blow asked:
“What are we to make of this? What are we to take from it?”
Those are serious and important questions, questions that millions are confronted with. There is a video clip of Bob Avakian (BA) speaking at his dialogue with Cornel West that anyone serious about serious answers to these questions needs to start with: “Police murder... and the murderous logic of this system’s election game.”
Watch it now:
In this short clip, BA poses: if murdering Michael Brown—and we can add the names of so many more youths—isn’t the police doing their job, then why do the police tell you they can’t do their job if they can’t keep shooting down youths in cold blood? And why do they do this over and over and over, and get away with it. If this is not “doing their job,” why are they never punished?
And BA goes on to point to the underlying factor—that this system has millions of people in the inner cities that it cannot even exploit anymore. They are locked down in ghettos, driven to desperate attempts at survival, locked up in jail... and shot down by police by a system that has no use for them.
A SYSTEM like that will not and cannot end police terror and murder of Black and Brown people. And if we’re really being honest, and not backing away from where the evidence leads because the conclusion makes us uncomfortable, then it is clear that the way out of this mess does not lie within the system that produced these outrages.
Protest, Rebellion, and Revolution
Everybody’s not talking about revolution right now. But many people are. There is a broad sense among many people that there has to be a better way the world is organized. But an ACTUAL revolution—that actually is a way out of this madness—requires a scientific understanding of the problem, the solution, and a strategy that can win.
As we wrote recently: BA has developed the scientific understanding and approach to make the kind of revolution that can emancipate humanity. He has learned deeply from previous revolutions, as well as from many different spheres. He has forged a strategy for how a revolution could be prepared for and won, as well as a concrete vision for the new society that is on the road to real liberation. At the same time, he has kept his connection to and acted as a true champion of the oppressed, from those who catch the hardest hell in this country’s ghettoes and barrios, to the majority of the seven billion around the world. He has never given up, and today he leads a party which is actively preparing for a real revolution, one aimed not at reforming but overthrowing this system.
In that light, rebellions like the one that happened after Freddie Gray was murdered by police are not just necessary to have a chance for justice, they open the door to the kind of REAL change people need.
A Black woman who was in the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after the police murdered Alton Sterling there, talked to Revolution about what she felt, and learned through that. What happened in Baton Rouge was an outpouring of protest from the oppressed, not an uprising on the level of what happened in Baltimore. But her insights shed light on what changes when people stand up:
“There were a thousand people out there. Everybody was rattling. It was the first time that I ever saw that many people, Black people, together standing up. It was empowering. I grew up being told Black people couldn’t come together without there being trouble. That we were not capable of doing that. It was mind blowing, freeing... I was in awe. I was impressed. I was proud. I was proud to be a part—it was like—the first time—I’m a proud Black woman but it was the first time I was actually proud—does that make sense?—to be a part of the African-American community. The first time I ever felt like we were together. It was amazing.”
And think about these comments, by the same woman, quoted earlier, after she watched part of Bob Avakian’s video REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!
“Yes, with the youth! Our most vital, untapped resource for this revolution! They are young, they are angry, they know that it’s wrong, they have no fear of anything. They’re not afraid of nothing and nobody. But just to have them like that is not going to serve a purpose for the whole movement, the whole revolution. We need to take that anger, take that fury and we can bring it together and harness it like a beam of light. That’s what I mean by focusing it. They have a movement, a revolution behind them, and a purpose, it’ll do some good.”
As people like her get into REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian and challenge others to get with that leadership... think about what impact that force could have in accelerating things towards, and preparing for a real chance at, an ACTUAL revolution.
When people stand up, and rise up, against the outrages of this system—including police murder—their actions could—with a stronger revolutionary force in their midst—bring into even sharper focus how illegitimate the use of violence by the system, against the people, is. And the presence of a stronger revolutionary force in the midst of protests and rebellions could project, and bring to life, that there is a strategy for revolution at the soonest possible moment, and a serious movement for that.
What We Need to Do Now
So, right now, when the ruling class of this country is caught up in a swirl of conflicts and contradictions, when they have no real answers that address the interests and needs of humanity, how do we act? What role does resistance to the crimes of this system, like the police murder of Freddie Gray and so many others, play in getting us free of this system? And how does that get transformed into something that can really break out of the mess we are trapped in today?
The answer is concentrated in this important point of orientation that is up at revcom.us—for those who see the need for revolution, and for everyone who refuses to accept this world as it is:
"It is very important that people rise up and refuse to accept the continual murder of people, particularly Black people as well as Latinos, by police—this, and the other outrages and atrocities continually perpetrated by this system (as concentrated in the 5 Stops), cannot go down without people fighting back and rocking back the powers-that-be. But this must be built toward revolution—an actual revolution that overthrows this system at the soonest possible time—because there is no solution to these outrages under this system, and as long as we live under this system, this will go on...and on. There is a way that we can make a real revolution—and bring into being a radically different and better society: we have the strategy, program, and leadership for this revolution, in the work of BA and the Party he leads, the Revolutionary Communist Party. Everywhere we go, and in everything we do, even as we are continuing to learn more about it, we need to be spreading the word about this revolution far and wide, and organizing for this revolution, drawing people around and into the Revolution Clubs, on the basis of the statement from the RCP Central Committee."
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