Revolution #106, October 28, 2007
National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation
October 23, 2007
On October 22, 2007, protests against Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation were called in over twenty cities. Parents and families of people murdered by police, students, movement activists, and people of all nationalities marched. In New York City, Cindy Sheehan spoke of being brutalized by police, and of the death of her son in Iraq, and Marcus Jones, the father of one of the Jena Six spoke by phone of his son Mychal Bell being re-jailed. In Atlanta, the city’s main newspaper reported that as the protest went past the city jail, “prisoners could be seen waving white T-shirts inside in an apparent show of support.”
Protests were planned for Atlanta; Cleveland; Denver; Detroit; Eureka, CA; Flagstaff, AZ; Fresno, CA; Guelph, ON Canada: Houston; Kansas City, TX; Knoxville; Los Angeles; Louisville; Minneapolis; Montreal, QC (Canada); New Haven, CT; New Orleans, LA; New York City; Olympia, WA ; Pittsburgh; San Antonio, TX ; San Diego; Santa Rosa, CA; Seattle, WA; and St. Louis.
Following are some initial reports from correspondence received at Revolution and from other news sources:
Protesters rallied at police headquarters at Parker Center, and marched to Mac Arthur Park where on May First, police shot rubber bullets at, and beat protesters and reporters at an immigrants rights demonstration.
More than 300 people entered MacArthur Park in Los Angeles this October 22nd chanting: “We’re fired up! Can’t take it no more! Police brutality has got to go!” Marchers carried signs protesting ICE raids on immigrants, and demanding Free the Jena Six. The march ended with a candle-light vigil for victims of police brutality.
Families who have lost loved ones to police murder, high school and college students, members from various organizations, and some residents from Pico Union marched across the same soccer field where the police brutally beat immigrant protestors and journalists on May 1st. They marched past the same picnic benches where the LAPD fired 150 rubber bullets into the park. One woman wrote her message in plain black letters: “Ya Basta! No Mas!” [[Enough! No more!]
High school students and other youth played an important part in organizing and bringing friends to the National Day of protest. A 14 year old student from Jordan HS in Watts said, “I couldn’t stay quiet. That’s why I came. People can’t be scared. We need to stand up.” Another student from Eagle Rock High school wasn’t able to bust out of school in a “walk-out” like she had hoped, so she staged a “climb-out” to participate in this “can’t miss” day.
Some youth marched with members of a Revolution Club, behind their banner, “Humanity Needs Revolution and Communism.” Other students came from as far away as Victorville, located about 100 miles outside of L.A.
Javier Quezada whose son was killed at a hospital where he was being treated, Norma and Norberto Martinez whose son was shot down on Valentine’s Day, and Lilian Mitchell spoke from the stage of how their children’s lives were stolen by the police. Lilian Mitchell, whose son Charlie Wilson was murdered by the Torrance Police Department in July, said that all the people at October 22nd gave her strength to speak about what the police did to her son. She told Revolution Newspaper, “I don’t know what Charlie was doing out there, but the neighbors called the police. He was with a friend and they hid in a shed from the police. They sent out the dogs to find him. His girlfriend called him to give himself up. All he had was a cell phone. When they found them they shot that shed up, they tore it up [with bullets.] Charlie was shot from the back . . . The other young man [Shaun McCoy] was shot so much and his back was tore up so bad that they couldn’t fix him up [for the wake], the embalming fluid couldn’t stay in. . . They killed them. They had dogs, they shot them from behind, they killed them with the first shot, but they shot them more. They killed them. Why did they shoot him in the first place? He only had a cell phone on him.”
Some residents from the neighborhood around MacArthur Park also known as—Little Central America—came out despite what some residents called a week-long attempt by the police to intimidate people from participating. One woman said, “This is where we were brutally beaten and I’m here to say the same thing [we said on May 1]—we’re human beings, we’re not criminals. Criminal is how the police kill defenseless people. Criminal is how immigration [ICE] is taking parents away from children and then left alone like they are worthless. We shouldn’t take this anymore. We can’t keep silent about this!”
NEW YORK CITY
Margarita Rosario, Cindy Sheehan, Lynne Stewart
Credit: IndyMedia, NYC
At a rally of about 150 in Marcus Garvey Park, in Harlem Marcus Jones—whose son Mychal Bell, one of the Jena 6, was sent back to prison earlier this month—spoke to the crowd via a phone hook-up: “I just want to say thanks to everybody up there who are supporting Mychal. And I’ve been hearing about the racial profiling that the police have been doing up there. Jena is everywhere. I see that on a map of New York there’s no name Jena, New York—but I know it’s Jena up there somewhere.”
Antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan told about how the Bush regime had stolen the life of her son Casey, a U.S. solider killed in the Iraq war, and said, “I’ve gotten in trouble with the mainstream media because I called George Bush ‘the No. 1 terrorist in the world.’ People say, oh, no, he can’t be because he’s an elected leader of a state. Well, first of all, who elected him? Did any of you vote for him? No. He is an illegitimate leader of this brutal state.”
Margarita Rosario, whose son and nephew were killed by the NYPD, said: “My son received 14 shots to his back while he was face down on the floor. And my nephew the same thing. They destroyed my life… I’m still standing and I will continue to stand… Let’s tell the community of Harlem today that we need to fight!”
As the multinational group of protesters took off on a march down 125th Street, 20 students from a charter school in the neighborhood, joined in, contributing their own chants on: “We stand with the Jena 6!” and “NYPD go to hell! We remember Sean Bell!” Members of the Harlem Revolution Club carried a colorful banner saying, “Humanity Needs Revolution. Stop Police Brutality. No More Nooses.”
At a rally during the march, Travis Morales of the Revolutionary Communist Party said, “The immigration police, la migra, with their cowboy hats and shotguns, busting down the doors of homes, rounding up people and deporting them, terrorizing and tearing families apart, leaving children and babies stranded with their neighbors… Nooses hung from a whites-only tree in Jena, Louisiana, on a Black professor’s door at Columbia University, outside a Black cultural center at University of Maryland. A wave of nooses across this country, and 6 Black youth facing decades in prison for standing up to the nooses, the symbol of lynching of thousands of Black people…Don’t tell me we don’t need a revolution!”
At a rally at the end of the march, Sean Bell’s father, William Bell, said he was happy to see a movement against police brutality and that it was crucial for more youth to become involved.
In Chicago, family members rallied with signs and posters and t-shirts honoring loved ones murdered by police: Meliton Recendez, 15, shot going out for a juice. Johnny Goodwin, 21, shot in the back. Lester "Roni" Spruill, 43, beaten and found dead in a jail cell. Steve Womack, 22, killed from a high-speed police chase. A young man spoke with a broken arm, spoke, explaining how the police shoved him out a window when they raided his home.
One man described how cops from the scandal-ridden "Special Operations Section" - known as "Shoot on Sight" put a bullet in his nephew's neck while the young man lay handcuffed on the ground. Deborah Thompson, who's brother Fred Hendersen was shot by a suburban cop point blank in the side of his head, told the crowd of 200 she would not let the killer of her son intimidate her. Mae Green, made a promise to her son Tony, who choked to death after being arrested by the police, “They will not give the police department a standing ovation for killing my son.”
Ashunda Harris who's nephew Aaron Harrison was shot in the back as he ran away from the police, spoke clearly to the urgency of the situation: "If we don't make this movement and this revolution happen, it's going to continue and it's going to reach down to our grandchildren, and our grandchildren's children. We need to put an end to this..."
Among the 150 people rallying and marching in Oakland were many family and friends of Gary King, Jr., the 20 year old youth who was murdered on September 20. Gary King was grabbed by the dreadlocks, brutalized tasered and shot in the back by officer Patrick Gonzales, who had mistaken King for someone else. Gonzeles, who has been responsible for shooting several other young Black men in the last few years, stood with his foot in Gary's back as he lay dying on the ground.
Other family members of people killed by police present included Alade Djehuti-Mes (whose father, Charles Vaughn, Sr. was murdered by police in Seaside); Danny Garcia (brother of Mark Garcia, who died after being sprayed repeatedly with pepper spray and beaten by San Francisco police); Rashida Grinnage (whose husband, Raphael Grinnage, a well known jazz musician, and son, Luke Grinnage were both shot and killed by Oakland police); Cinnamon, (whose son, Lorante Studesville, was shot and seriously wounded by the OPD earlier this year); Frank Rosenberg (whose son Richard Rosenberg was shot and killed in front of his house); Meesha Irazarry, (mother of Idriss Stelley, a 23-year-old African American student killed by SFPD at the SF Sony Metreon Theatre in San Francisco in 2001); and Marylon Boyd (mother of Cameron Boyd killed by SFPD).
AROUND THE COUNTRY…
The October 22nd protest in Atlanta got significant coverage in the mainstream and alternative media. In an article titled, “'We All Live In Jena' Say Marchers Protesting Dekalb Shootings,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that protesters “wearing black T-shirts proclaiming ‘We All Live In Jena’ marched on Memorial Drive Monday to call attention to shootings by DeKalb County police and other cases of what they regard as injustice. One theme of the protest was the ‘criminalization of a generation.’ As demonstrators chanted ‘What do we want? Justice!’ in front of the county jail, prisoners could be seen waving white T-shirts inside in an apparent show of support.” Iffat Muhammad, who has organized protests over police shootings since her brother was shot and killed by police said, "This is a day of remembrance and a day of acknowledgment that brutality will not be tolerated."
Fresno. Credit: Mike Rhodes
Among those rallying on October 22nd in Fresno, CA was the family of Everardo Toreres. Everardo had his life stolen on the night of October 27, 2002. He was arrested, handcuffed, and put into the back of a Madera, CA police car. A short time later, police officer Marcy Noriega came over to the car that Torres was in, pulled her service revolver and shot him to death. Noriega says she thought she was using her Taser gun. Torres’s family says Everardo was murdered by the police and they want justice.
Many protesters in Detroitwere family and friends of Jevon Royall, a young man killed in July on the 40th Anniversary of the Detroit Rebellion, blocks from where the rebellion started over police brutality, and they described how he was killed by police when he stepped outside of a family celebration. People marched to the site where Jevon was killed and held a Stolen Lives/Memorial service, with participants giving testimonials remembering and honoring Jevon and reading the names and stories of other victims of police brutality and murder.
In Santa Rosa, CA, organizers told Revolution that several hundred people were part of a rally and march. The march went through Roseland, a poor and mainly Latino community, where police have been setting up DUI checkpoints -- not set up late in the evening when people might be leaving bars -- but at rush hour when people are returning home from work. People in the community suspect that the roadblocks are aimed instead at immigrant workers without papers. Ben, an organizer with Copwatch in Santa Rosa, told Revolution that as the march went through Roseland, “There was an incredible response. People were honking their horns and raising their fists. People pulled over on the spot and parked their cars and joined the march.” Over the past year nine people have been killed in Sonoma County by local police and sheriffs, and in a recent nine-week period, local police shot and killed five. At a rally after the march, Ann Gray Byrd, chairwoman of the Sonoma County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said, "The families of those shot down in our communities have not been heard."
Dorothy Chappell, calls out the cops
who killed her 15 year old grandson
Credit: Donald Black Jr
In Cleveland, Dorothy Chappell, whose grandson, Brandon Mc Cloud was murdered by Cleveland cops, September 1, 2005, called out the cops who killed her 15 year old grandson at the 4th district police station where the October 22nd protest was held.
In Seattle, family members of people killed by the police joined activists and proletarians of all nationalities- many with experiences of being brutalized or harassed by police to march through Seattle’s Pike Place market. All the way, people chanted “Hey cops, whaddya say, how many kids did you kill today?” A Seattle cop had just shot a 13 year old kid in the leg the week before.
Credit: Communities United Against Police Brutality
A volunteer at Communities United Against Police Brutality in Minneapolis told Revolution that an October 22nd protest was held outside the Minneapolis Juvenile “Justice” Center in solidarity with the Jena Six, and because the police “are targeting and criminalizing the children.” Parents and youth coming out of the Juvenile Detention Center stopped and joined the rally and spoke out.
Activists in Minnesota have worked to document 85 deaths at the hands of police over the past ten years. Among them are several Native Americans: Franklin J. Brown, a 21-year-old American Indian man, was killed May 15, 2005 in his home on the White Earth reservation when police entered to conduct a search. He was shot 17 times. Some of the shots went through a closed door. He was unarmed. David Croud, an American Indian, was slammed into a stone wall and otherwise abused as he was arrested by six Duluth police officers on October 12, 2005. He slipped into a coma and never recovered. He was 29 years old. Benjamin DeCoteau, a Native American, was killed on January 22, 2005. He was unarmed when he was shot by officer Mark Beaupre under suspicious circumstances. He was 21 years old at the time of his death. On November 6, 1994, Richard LeGarde, an Anishinabe rights activist, was illegally arrested and then driven home to by a deputy, who was the last person to see him alive.
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