Revolution #167, June 7, 2009

From a Revolution selling team:

The Brutal Police Beating of 14-Year-Old Trevor Casey

After seeing on CNN the police beating of Trevor Casey, 14 years old, in the Brand Whitlock Homes housing projects in Toledo, a few of us decided to take a big stack of  Revolution paper #144 “The Oppression of Black People, the Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need”, and head out to Toledo. We went there to talk to people about what happened, and to take out the need now for building a revolutionary movement to prepare to make revolution.

As we walked into Brand Whitlock, it didn’t take much to hear what happened to Trevor –  the youth were outraged and deeply angry at such brutality to their friend Trevor.

On Friday May 15th in the early evening, youth were “chillin” on a warm night when the Toledo police roll up in front of the house where Trevor, 14 years old and Black, and three of his friends were hanging out. The police ordered them to “move on”. They all got up from the steps, some said Trevor did not run and in fact he did a little “victory dance” in front of the police car. Some said he might have done that to show the police, they had nothing on him, no outstanding warrants or whatever. It was clearly a dance of defiance. Seeing that, the pigs grabbed him, threw his head down against the hot car, burning Trevor’s face. According to eyewitnesses, the burns caused him to pull back.  He was then handcuffed and put under arrest.  Then the vicious attack went into full gear, pigs Andre Bills and Byron Daniels kept punching him in the face, at least 15 times. Witnesses were yelling at the cops but they kept the brutalizing attack going. As shown on the video, Trevor was held in a choke hold with his nose and mouth covered by the pig’s hand for a considerable amount of time. When the cop finally let him go, Trevor crumpled unconsciously to the ground.  People there said blood was all over his face and eyes and spattered on the ground. As he fell to the ground the two pigs laughed and said, “Don’t get soft on me now.” Sound familiar?  Like shit we read about in the memos of torture the U.S. carries out against its “detainees”.   As shown in the video, the police lifted him off the ground like he was a “piece of meat”. He was dragged away and  taken to the hospital, allegedly without them even taking an xray and then  taken to the Juvenile Detention Center.

According to a Black newspaper in Toledo, The Sojourner’s Truth, at the scene the police said he was charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice and assault, but later after the family made it clear they were going to fight this attack, the officers changed the assault charge to aggravated assault. Trevor’s mother said her son was beaten so badly that she didn’t recognize him when she went to find him in the hospital. His mother Karen Casey told Sojourner’s Truth that Trevor told her he “could feel the life leaving him” during the experience. At this point, he might lose the sight of his one eye that was bloodied and hit repeatedly and he is now stuttering. He also returned to the hospital on Tuesday, May 19th because of the injuries.

A news conference was held with the family called by Bishop Stephen Ward, a candidate for Toledo City council calling for holding the police accountable for the abuse. An organizer for October 22nd Coalition from Cleveland went to Toledo calling for a march to be held in the near future.  

Throughout the day, we heard all kinds of bitter stories by the youth.  They had lots to say about the oppression they face  and we talked to them about the problem in all of this being capitalism-imperialism and the solution being revolution and communism. One youth said, “Just last week, the cops came around and maced everyone on that sidewalk over there, then shot a bunch of people with a paintball gun.”  Another said, “These cops come around every night to harass us. Just wait a few hours and you will see.”  Another young women shot in with “If this shit wasn’t caught on video, no one would never know. This shit happens all the time.”

Throughout the afternoon as we listened, we showed the youth  Revolution #144, and talked about how police brutality and murder of Black youth is not an aberration or the work of a “dirty” cop, that it is the result of capitalism, that cannot solve but perpetuates the oppression and inequality of Black people, and enforces it by the armies of brutalizing and murdering police who delight in humiliating people and breaking their spirit. We talked about how we need a revolutionary state power, a socialist state that would right away move to get rid of the oppressive relations,  a revolutionary state that would solve the glaring contradiction of the inner city streets where there is a need for decent schools, housing and cultural and recreational facilities along side with the fact that youth cannot find work except the drug trade. It doesn’t have to be this way. We brought out how Bob Avakian in the Revolution video speaks about how youth and students could be involved in the educational process, even by helping to formulate what books to read, etc. 

Throughout the afternoon there was a constant discussion and struggle over how to look at the oppression the youth face, being beaten down by the police, forced into boot camp, no jobs and also the contradictions between the people over this or that feud, and the violence between the people from the view that we NEED a REVOLUTION. From all the conversations, even though there was lots of chaos, lots of interruptions, we had the sense that several of the youth who hung out with us most of the time had begun to get a glimpse that there is another way, a revolutionary state power, that a revolutionary movement can be built as key to preparing to make that revolution. The youth and others took bundles of about 75 papers to read and get out to others, and a few want to see Bob Avakian’s Revolution DVD when we come back.

As we drove out of the area, the team all agreed that we had had some impact on the people there, that we had put out a revolutionary solution to a problem that many know from their experience every day but didn’t know the cause was capitalism. We all smiled and laughed a bit and agreed that a revolutionary wind had blown through Brand Whitlock in response to the brutal beating of Trevor Casey.

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