Revolution #165, May 24, 2009

Police murder of Julian Alexander declared JUSTIFIED

Enough is enough!

We received the following article from a reader:


Julian’s body on the front lawn – handcuffed after being shot twice in the chest, his family yelled at to get back in the house while Julian struggled for his last breaths.


Julian was 20 years old, just married a week, with a baby on the way.


After 5 months of “wait-for-the-investigation,” after hiding the identity of the murdering cop and letting him loose back on the streets of Anaheim in December, after statements from the city attorney that the actual problem is people who are angry about this murder… the Orange County District Attorney has pronounced the murder of Julian Alexander “justified.”  The murdering cop, Kevin Flanagan, won’t be charged, won’t do a second of jail time, won’t even be put on trial.

The statement given from the DA’s office is a cold-blooded open declaration that police have the legal right to kill Black people for looking angry.

There were no witnesses at the moment Julian was killed on October 29, 2008.  The testimony from Julian’s killer was accepted as fact.  The DA’s office publicly announced the murder was justified because the killer said he was being threatened with a stick, and the proof of the threat is that Julian’s “face looked angry.”  And straight-up, any “reasonable police officer in that circumstance would likely shoot the person….”

“A reasonable police officer in that circumstance likely would shoot the person who’s coming at him with that stick, as though he’s going to slug him with it.” (District Attorney Tony Rackauckas)

“His face looked angry, brow dropped, facial muscles tight, corners of his mouth were down, and he appeared to have a tight jaw.” (Senior Deputy District Attorney David Brent)

Images flash from fifty years ago of 14-year-old Emmett Till dragged out of the house, tortured beyond recognition and dumped in the river for whistling at a white woman - his bragging murderers allowed to go free… from a hundred years ago of “upstanding white citizens” posing in smiling pictures in front of mangled Black bodies hung from nooses….

For generations Black parents schooled their children to survive in a country of lynch-mob violence: not to act too proud, not to laugh too loud, not to look white people in the eye, not to look angry.  Whatever expression Julian had on his face, this “explanation” from the DA, this description to justify murder, is a continuation of that terror.

This is a terror that today is carried out daily by the police.  It is a terror that is needed by capitalism in order to keep this society, with all its oppressive and exploitative production and social relations, intact.  It is part of viciously holding vast numbers of Black people at the bottom of society, keeping white people thinking they have an interest in this system, and overall preventing any kind of fundamental challenge to the workings of the system.  It is a terror that precisely can only be done away with by a revolution that overthrows the whole system, rips power away from the rulers (in particular their ability to use armies and police forces against the people), and establishes a new revolutionary state power.

Legal Kills

The DA said, “Our decision here… is strictly whether or not the police officer committed a crime….”  The Anaheim police said right up front – in a press conference by the Chief of Police the day Julian was killed – that Julian Alexander “was innocent of anything that the officer suspected was going on in that neighborhood.”  In other words, it is not a crime for the police to wantonly and randomly kill an innocent Black person standing in his front yard.

In fact, in the last ten years, out of dozens of shootings by police in Orange County, (at least 50 between 1999 and 2004 alone according to the OC Weekly) only one cop has ever been charged by the Orange County DA’s office - an off-duty ICE agent who in 2005 shot a 20-year-old Arab youth point-blank in the head.  That ICE agent was acquitted in January.

A new report from the Department of Justice shows that throughout the country, in a period of three years from 2003 to 2005, at least 2,002 people were killed by local police when they were being arrested.  Each year the police killed more people than the year before.  More than half of those killed were Black and Latino.  More than half were under 35 years old.  More than half had not – even by the words of the police – committed a violent offense.

The Example of Oakland

On the OC Weekly blog there was one comment:

This shit is a fucking outrage! The bay is plastered all over with images of Oscar Grant.  The community of Anaheim can’t sleep on this brutality…

The protests and resistance in Oakland have been a powerful and much-needed response to the murder of Oscar Grant, changing the direction things have developed, shaking people up, and inspiring many more throughout the country.  At every step of the way in Oakland the authorities have tried to cover up, cover over, accept the police version of events, tell people to wait for the investigation… but the determined resistance of the people has shined a light on the reality of the situation, and even forced the city to press charges against the murdering cop.  The recent Stolen Lives march was led by family members of many others killed by police, and these families refused to back down in the face of a huge force of Oakland police in riot gear trying to prevent them from marching.

This is the kind of determination and courage that has been needed and is still needed in response to the murder of Julian Alexander.  The decision not to prosecute the murdering cop should not be accepted by anyone.  This terrorizing by the police has to be broken by people standing up, refusing to sit silent in the face of murder after murder after murder.  Enough is enough!  We need resistance that can be part of a new revolutionary movement fighting to change the world.


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