Revolution #192, February 14, 2010
People Speak Out Against Police Brutality
The following interviews are a response to a call last September in Revolution.
Tell us your story about police abuse.
If the police have... sweated you at school
Write to us!!! Tell us your story.
At the end of 2009, revolutionaries took this call to high schools and neighborhoods in the south Los Angeles area. They talked about why speaking out was an important form of resistance and standing up to all this abuse and repression. All these voices are of young people, Blacks and Latinos, men and women, who know first hand the epidemic of police brutality in the U.S. and who struggled through both their fears of retribution from the police for telling their stories -- and the pain of reliving these experiences.
Hi, I'm K. -- and I’m L. -- and we're about to tell you basically about the police harassing us every day. My story is, well I live in the 40s, and that's a known gang, and a lot of cops hide around there. Not too long ago like last month or something, I was walking with one of my friends, and the police stopped us and then they pretty much harassed us because we didn't have nothing. They pretty much racial profiled on us, thinking we got something just 'cause we Black, African Americans. We don't have no rights if you get to push us around, and frisk us when you don't have no reason to frisk us. That's really no reason to do that just 'cause we're African Americans. That's not a reason to racially profile us. That's why we feel that we should stop the police brutality because it's not right. Just 'cause we live in a certain area doesn't mean we're the people – just 'cause they doing certain things doesn't mean we doing certain things.
I'm L. again. I stay in the 40s. Every day I walk home, the police be harassing us every day. They think we got a burner on us, run up in your property for no reason, no search warrant, they want to come up in your house. My daddy got shot. They tried to dog my daddy out because he was on parole. You know the police kinda fuck you over here.
K: Yeah, they really is. One of my friends actually had a gun drawn to him when he didn't have nothing. They just pulled the guns out on us just because we had something that they said so-called looking like a gun, which it wasn't. It was a flashlight.
Revolutionaries: So it sounds like you guys got more than one story.
K: Yeah. Every day I walk along the street, the police harass me. And it's that same cop.
L: There's been a gang sweep not too long ago where they're trying to get the 40s, and every time they pass, they say, "We're going to get you all." And we're not even doing anything illegal. I feel that's very wrong and disrespectful. Just because you have that authority, why you abuse that authority against us?
Revolutionaries: What are some other stories that you've heard of being harassed by the police or other stories that you want to share?
K: The gang injunction is wrong, because what if you're not doing nothing wrong and you in your house, they just pick you up because you over there. What if you got a granny that stay over there and you go to jail because you're trying to go see your granny? I feel that's wrong. You feel me?
L: They always want to fuck with somebody for no reason, like they always messing with you. You could be like walking down the street minding your own business they put the gang injunction on you.
K: The police even put drugs on you. You supposed to be helping us, not putting people in jail, messing people up. Giving people time in jail, like life and all this stuff. They even want to put kids in jail for a long time. And then when they get out of jail they're going to still have a young mind. So they gonna come right back out and mess up.
L: Just because one of my bros is from somewhere. It ain't my fault he from there. It ain't my fault he got that tat. Like that's his problem. How you know we gang bang? We probably just walking home. It just so happens that he's a gang banger. They just want to mess with people. They just want to mess with people all day like.
K: It don't make no sense why the police do what they do, they just mess with people for no reason and they don't have to have a reason. You could go to the store or park 'round the corner from your house the police going to pull you over, "Oh, where you from? You got some chucks on, lift up your shirt."
Revolutionaries: How come they ask you to raise your shirt?
K: See if you got a burner, got a gun, or got a blue belt hanging. They go in your pocket, and there ain't nothing in your pocket and all of a sudden there's some dope in your pocket. Now you sitting in jail.
And they want to get people for life and stuff for robbery. One of the homies, 17 years old, got life for some dumb shit. The police out here are scandalous. It's only like Hispanic and Black communities.
L: I just got out of camp. I did six and a half months. It's all Mexicans and Blacks. I only got out of my whole six months in jail, I only seen one person in jail that was white. It goes to show that all they trying to do is get rid of the young Blacks and stuff, Blacks and Hispanics so we don't have no future. And there's nothing we can do. They always say, "Oh, don't gang bang, do good and that." But it's not that. It's just because of the color we is that we automatically get put up in there. I know some of the people in jail that's not gang banging, that don't want nothing to do with gang banging, but in jail just because of what color their skin is. And then they always trying to say it's 'cause of the way we dress. It's a free world; we can dress any way we want to dress. But I think it's messed up how we always get picked on just because of what color we are and how we look and walk and talk. I don't think that's no fair. There's nothing we can do. They always say we can make a change. There's nothing we can do to make it in a world where you got crooked police officer.
K: That's why we're doing this interview. That's why we do everything we do that's why I do what I want to do because either way it go. I could be a square and I'm-a still go to jail or I'm a guy, whatever. You don't got to gang bang to go to jail, none of that. So when people talk about "make a change," you can't make a change when the law is just the same people.
L: Hey, the police is just a gang with a badge. That's all they is.
K: They just a gang that can do whatever they want to do. They run into your house, be disrespectful to the women.
Revolutionaries: Are there any stories about disrespecting women?
L: Man, the police is so thirsty when it come to women. I done seen the police hop out when they see some females. And you know how most females like to say like, "oh, no he not doing . . ."—"Shut up, bitch, I ain't talking to you." I done seen this police brutality. They grab a girl by the back of her head, slam her all on the car. For no reason.
K: The Johnnies, they even beat us up. They got them in the school right now and they want to give us tickets if we come to school late.
L: The Johnnies is the police. That's what we call them.
K: My momma went to jail when I was five years old. She been there ever since. To this day I hate the police 'cause when we was little, when my momma was going to jail they threw my cousin, he was like seven years old, they threw him down like ten stairs and he fucked up his whole foot and to this day he walk funny 'cause the police messed up his foot. He was only like seven years old.... The police got my momma when she was pregnant with me 'cause she robbed a Coca-Cola truck.
L: Right now, my daddy been in jail for thirteen years. He's gonna get out in February. My pops went to jail for being at a club. He was at a club and they gave him a whole year for that. At a club. They hit him with violation of parole.
K: The police give people six months if they're from a gang. What's up with that? They're from a gang, too.
L: They trying to give people life for gang enhancement.
K: The police they kill innocent kids and all that.
L: There's a book, actually, I can't think of the name of it, it's like stories of people that got killed by the police.
Revolutionaries: Stolen Lives?
L: Yeah, Stolen Lives.
K: It's so crazy because they say, this is for a better this, this is for a better that, but how can we accept change, that something will change when it's the same people in the office. You can't expect the police people to change when you got the same chief that been working there for the last twenty years, the same stuff going on. Like with Obama. Like when Hillary was running. How can they expect change when the same family that's been running the White House so-and-so years, Bush-Clinton, Bush-Clinton. C'mon, how is that supposed to change? But now we got Obama, that's something new. I think we should start doing the same thing with the police, though, 'cause all they do is harass little kids. They pull over skaters.
L: There's a lot of police that racial profile. Since we got a Black president, they just riding around like, "aw, let's get him 'cause he Black." They basically mad 'cause Obama made the change and he's in the White House and he's Black, African American.
Revolutionaries: What's the worst police brutality story that either you went through or you heard somebody else went through?
K: I was asleep and the Johnnies ran into my house and they put stuff on my step-daddy and they were trying to take my moms. That's the worst one that I went through. Another one I was in my uncle's shop and they ran up in there. I was only two, but they got guns to everybody's head and all that. I was only a little kid and I wasn't supposed to see that.
L: Worst one happened to me, my daddy got shot. He told them he was on parole, they started snatching him up all different and shit before he told them that.
K: The worst I had was July when I was arrested with my cousin Marcus. He ran from the cops and they thought we had guns and stuff just 'cause he ran. The gun was on the back of my head. I was pretty scared. Thought he was going to shoot me. He had the gun pointed to my head saying, "Don't move."
L: The worst I had was right before I went to jail, March 26. It was me and my homey. We was minding our own business, and out of nowhere the police come and one of the homies he cut his whole leg open like and I'm like helping him tie up his leg and stuff, the Johnnies come like all three put the burners to my face, like "Don't fucking move." I'm like, "I'm just trying to help him with his leg, you know." "I don't give a fuck about him. Fuck him and his leg." His leg is really fucked up. He can't even walk. They're just draggin' him. They're not even trying to help him up. They pick him up in handcuffs and just dragging him and just throw him in the car like not even caring whether he alright or not. Then they got us like all out and they not caring they just talking shit like they being disrespectful and then when you say something back they like, "You want to talk shit?"
K: We don't have to lie about this, man. The cops, they talk to us any way. They want to call us all type of words and actually they do this just to provoke you. They actually say that just to see how your face going to react, to disrespect our gang or whatever. They actually say that to see the reaction on your face. I remember one time, the police, we're minding our own business at the mall. There's probably like ten of us. They got some of the homies, so we go down there just to see what's going on. The police just grab us up, like, "Just come here," and the next thing they're putting us all in handcuffs. And I promise you not one person didn't get beat up by the police that day. Especially me. I didn't have nothing to do with what was going on. I'm being smashed into the car, I'm being beat up by the police. One of the homies is sitting there and then the officer told a joke and he started laughing, the officer come behind him and slapped him in the head. Fired on another homey, really beating him up. He in handcuffs, they're really beating the shit out of him and there's nothing he can do about it. He's putting his knee all in the homey's stomach. As far as that go, fuck the police. They're crooked. Fuck the police. Fuck y'all. We don't need y'all.
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