Revolution #155, February 8, 2009

Stop Police Brutality and Murder:
Thousands of Stolen Lives!




If you’re Black and a mother, you worry if
your son grows too big or talks too loud. 

If you’re Black and young, you learn to check
your back when you go to play, to school,
to see your grandma. You learn:

Don’t stand around too long...
Don’t hang with a lot of friends...
Don’t gesture too wildly...
Don’t laugh too loud...
Don’t have an attitude or get pissed off... and
Don’t drive while Black.

If you’re Black, anything you do can get you
stopped by cops, popped by cops, shot by cops,
DEAD by cops.
Your life stolen.

One in nine young Black men in jail.


It happens everywhere
…a mistake?
…a mistaken identity?
... a mistaken weapon?

A constant state of potential terror:
Just walking down the street, just going
to the store, just driving late at night
(or in the middle of the afternoon).

If you’re Black or Latino did it matter:
that you had a job, went to school,
took responsibility for your kids,
looked forward to the future,
loved your wife, your wife-to-be?

Did it matter that you took the train home on New Year’s Eve,
to do the “responsible thing,” like Oscar Grant in Oakland?

One moment, celebrating the new year,
coming home with friends.
The next moment, hit upside the head, shoved
to the ground, a knee pressed into your back.
Then bang! Oscar Grant’s life OVER in a split second...

An aberration? An isolated incident? A few rotten apples?
Not when it’s year after year, city after city,
Hundreds and hundreds...and thousands.

Police murder and brutality. Systemic and systematic. 
Official enforcers of lynch mob terror,
free to stop, search, shoot, kill...
All in the name of the law,
To serve and protect... THIS SYSTEM.
To keep the people downpressed.
To try and crush the people’s resistance and spirit,

So what are we gonna do?





This system has criminalized generations of Black and Latino youth, offering them nothing but unemployment or chump-change jobs, prison, the army, an early grave.

This system sees millions of youth as nothing but a “social problem” – to be constantly dissed, degraded, disrespected.

This system offers the youth
no future, no meaningful life, nothing to live for.

But the revolution does.





Oscar Grant
Oakland, CA. Barely two hours into the first day of 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant III was murdered in cold blood. Cops punched and shoved him to the ground. Grant was laying face down on the BART train platform when he was shot in the back by officer Johannes Mehserle.
Adolph Grimes
New Orleans, LA. 22-year-old Adolph Grimes moved to Houston after Katrina and was visiting his family for the holidays. Early New Year’s Day 2009, he was sitting in a car outside his grandmother’s house when plain-clothes police murdered him with a barrage of 48 shots that hit Grimes 14 times, 12 in the back.
Julian Alexander
Anaheim, CA. 20-year-old Julian Alexander, who had just gotten married, was shot and killed by police after he stepped outside his home to confront suspected burglars. 
New York City, NY. On the night before his wedding, 23-year-old Sean Bell was murdered and two of his friends were wounded when New York cops fired more than 50 shots into their van. After months of protests, the cops who shot Sean Bell were acquitted in court of any crime. When people again took to the streets to fight for justice for Sean Bell, Barack Obama warned against violence and urged “respect” for “the verdict.”

Jonathan Pinkerton
Chicago, IL. Between June 11 and July 5 of 2008, Chicago police shot 12 people (all Black and Latino), killing 6. At least 6 of the victims were shot in the back. 17-year-old Jonathan Pinkerton was paralyzed by a police bullet in the back. 39-year-old sanitation worker Shappell Terrell, shot 14 times in the back and killed by police, left 7 kids behind. Witnesses say 17-year-old Luis Colon was trying to surrender when he was killed by cops, shot 6 times in the back.
Protest against murder of Oscar Grant, Oakland, January 14

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