A Tale of Two Pigs
This is what cops do...
September 19, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
What IS the role of the police in this society? The following two stories shine some light on this question:
1. Cop Fired... for NOT Murdering a Black Man
Ronald "RJ" Williams
On May 6, Stephen Mader, a white rookie cop in Weirton, West Virginia, was called to the scene where Ronald D. “RJ” Williams Jr., a young Black man, was threatening suicide. Williams had a gun in his hand, pointed at the ground.
Mader didn’t know if the gun was loaded (it wasn’t), but he tried to resolve the situation nonviolently, although from where he stood there was some risk to himself in doing that.
As Mader told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me... [I] began to use my calm voice... I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ Then he starts flicking his wrist to get me to react to it.”
“I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a ‘suicide-by-cop’ situation.”
But while Mader was cooling things out, two other cops came on the scene and shot Williams dead!
So what happened then? Were the cops who shot Williams fired, tried, convicted, and jailed for callously and needlessly stealing the life of an innocent man who just needed help, even while another cop was effectively calming him down? And were Mader’s actions held up around the country as a model of how police can de-escalate potentially violent situations without brutalizing or killing anyone?
No, just the opposite!
Eleven days after the shooting, Mader was placed on administrative leave to see (in the words of his chief) “if you are going to be an officer here. You put two other officers in danger.” And then, no months of “investigation” like what happens when cops are caught on camera murdering an unarmed person, no paid vacation (“administrative leave”) or “desk duty” padded with massive overtime payments, no impassioned statements in his defense from police unions and others who believe the cops can do no wrong. No—three weeks later Mader was fired because he “failed to eliminate a threat.”
And the two cops who murdered Williams are still on the force, not punished or even reprimanded.
Bob Avakian has spoken to how even after a revolution in this country brings into being a socialist state and society, for some time there still will be a need for organized policing—but that it will be radically different from what the police do in this society. Addressing the 1998 police murder of Tyisha Miller, a 19-year-old African-American woman, in Riverside, California (Miller had been passed out in her car, from a seizure, and the police fired 23 times, hitting her at least 12 times, claiming she suddenly awoke and had a gun), BA said:
If you can’t handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people’s police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this “serve and protect” bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.
In the future socialist society, what BA talks about in this quote will be part of how people responsible for public security are recruited, trained, and oriented. If they can’t live up to that standard, they will be removed from the force, and if they brutalize or murder anyone, they will be tried and punished.
But in this society, it is the failure to “wantonly murder one of the people” that gets cops fired!
2. Florida Cops Execute Gregory Frazier for saying, “leave me alone”
On Friday, September 9, Deborah Frazier called 911 to say she was having an altercation with her brother, Gregory Frazier. She said he had been “breaking up the house,” “gotten a little rowdy” after drinking, and had a Swiss army-style pocketknife.
When three cops arrived at the house, whatever argument had been going on was over and Frazier was quietly and calmly eating chicken wings in the backyard. But the cops shot Frazier multiple times, killing him.
The cops had gotten a call from someone saying they wanted help. So when they arrived, did they immediately make sure that everyone was OK, that whatever problem there might have been was resolved, that no one was hurt, much less killed? NO! This is not at all what happened.
Frazier’s nephew, Quartaze Woodard, said the cops told Frazier to lie down and Frazier said, “leave me alone.” The cops repeated the order and Frazier said, “leave me alone” again. Then the cops just opened fire.
Frazier’s niece, Keneisha Woodard, said, “He was sitting, he had calmed down. He was eating conch salad and he just told the police don’t come near him. They weren’t even here two minutes and they shot him.”
Debbie Frazier now says that she regrets calling 911: “I would never have called the cops if I’d known this would happen. They just came in and started shooting right away.” (the Guardian) And the Frazier family released a statement through their lawyers questioning why the police “felt the need to execute him as he ate his supper in the backyard of his house rather than use negotiation tactics.... We will never forget Greg and we will fight so that his death will not be covered up.”
Bob Avakian: Police murder... and the murderous logic of this system's election game.
Gregory Frazier was not doing anything illegal or threatening anyone. He just wanted the cops to leave him alone. The pigs claim he “produced a knife” and wouldn’t lie down. THIS IS THEIR JUSTIFICATION for murdering him.
Who gave these pigs the right to do this? When did it become a capital crime—punishable by death on the spot—to simply have a pocketknife and refuse to lie down?
This fact is, this system gives the pigs the right to execute people like this. If this weren’t the case, then why does this kind of thing happen over and over and over again? If this weren’t the case, then why does the workings of the system let murdering pigs walk free over and over again? As Bob Avakian has said:
The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and the order that enforces all this oppression and madness.
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