Revolution #147, November 16, 2008

Another Young Black Man Killed by Police in Cold Blood

Don’t Let Them Get Away with the Murder of Julian Alexander...Turn Grief into Resistance

At 1:30 am on Tuesday, October 28, Julian Alexander heard noises outside the middle class home he shared with his wife Renee, who is seven months pregnant. They had just gotten married about a week ago when Julian turned 20 years old. Feeling like their safety was threatened, Julian grabbed a broomstick and walked out on the front lawn to look around.

Minutes later, he was killed by two bullets to his chest, one of which struck his heart. Hearing gunshots, Renee and her 15-year-old sister looked out the window and saw the killers—Anaheim police—turn Julian’s body over and handcuff him. Family members tried to rush to Julian’s side, but were told to get back…or else.

A broomstick, a wallet, a cell phone, a toy gun, a suspected burglary in Julian’s neighborhood. Does it matter? Any reason, or no reason at all. To the brutal enforcers of this system, he was simply Black.

Perhaps Julian’s mom was one of the many Black women who hoped her son wouldn’t grow too big and attract the attention of racist, killer cops. But Julian was 6 foot 5 inches, 240 pounds. He was the outstanding defensive linebacker in 2005 and 2006, and defensive player of the year in 2007—before graduating from Notre Dame High School in Riverside, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

Julian was working one of those so-called “good jobs” for Black youth—at a JCPenney warehouse. He volunteered at church and had hopes of a college degree like many in his family had. He was doing everything he was supposed to do to “make it” in America. Did it matter?

All of the above is all too typical of the ugly reality where police murder is but a concentrated symptom of the vicious oppression faced by Black people in America.

But what was unusual in this case was the way Anaheim police chief John Welter immediately called a press conference to say that Julian Alexander “was innocent of anything that the officer suspected was going on in the neighborhood.” Welter has promised investigations that will take 6-9 months but there’s been no indictment and arrest for murder by the yet-unidentified cop. Why not? And what does it tell us about the likely whitewash to come, and the system that allows these outrages to go on and on?

Welter said “I certainly can’t ever guess what’s in the mind of a police officer, so I’m not going to speculate as to what he saw or what he didn’t see or what he thought was in Mr. Alexander’s hands.”

Isn’t it obvious what was in the cop’s mind? Here’s a Black man standing there in the open, late at night. Cops are trained to see this as a threat AND a legal kill. Justifiable homicide is the whole long history of whitewash for killer cops all over America in situations like this. That’s why the family was treated as part of the threat, driven back into the house, and forced to watch helplessly as their beloved Julian died in front of their eyes.

If we had a truly “post racial society” (as Obama claims)—which would take a real revolution to bring about—the machinery of systemic and systematic brutality of this system (police, jail, courts, etc.) would be smashed and such wanton murders of the people would not be allowed to happen. Any security forces in a revolutionary society that do really serve and protect the people instead of private property and wealth, would rather risk their own lives than kill someone like Julian. This was not mistaken identity. It was another racist police murder of an identified Black youth.

The rush to “say sorry” by Welter may have been a quick way to sweep it under the rug as this police killing of yet another Black youth in the run-up to Obama’s election and widespread news would have punched a hole in the myth of “post racial” America.

Outside of southern California’s Orange County main newspaper, there is little news coverage of this outrage. There is little news about the 1400 people who attended Julian’s funeral service on Monday, November 3—the day before Obama won the presidency and told us to be proud of America. Obama and all the politicians above or below him at every level, have expressed neither outrage nor concern. Is it a cover up?

Despite all the election hype, there is no change, no post racial society, for Julian. Same as it’s always been. Julian’s father was quoted in The Press-Enterprise (November 3, 2008) saying, “You’re not guaranteed tomorrow.”

Nor, under this system, will tomorrow be changed for millions of other Black youth in America—a country where white supremacy is cemented into its very economic and ideological foundation by the founding fathers, and sewed into its very capitalist fabric of exploitation and all the oppression that is linked to that past and current brutal system.

It’s been ordinary people, writing on the Internet in response to learning of Julian’s murder, who wrote comparing this to the police killing of Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo in New York City. It’s ordinary people who need to bring this anger into the open and fight to get the cop indicted and jailed for murder. It’s only the struggle of ordinary people whose better tomorrow will come with resistance and revolution that can uproot the oppression of Black people, and uproot all other oppressions flowing from traditional property relations and ideas, and go on to bring about a revolutionary society.

Julian’s mother-in-law Michelle Mooney said in an Associated Press article (October 29, 2008), “He was a good kid, trying to protect his house. And the police, instead of asking questions, they just shot first. Somebody has to be held responsible for this.”

The day should be long past when these brutal enforcers can roll into the community, murder our youth, and get away with it.

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