From Florida to New York to California and Everywhere Else
Police Murder... Mass Incarceration... Racists Run Rampant


May 26, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


Florida: Racist Vigilante Murder of Trayvon Martin and the Fight for Justice

Trayvon Martin. Photo courtesy family.

On February 26, 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin went out to buy some snacks at the nearby 7-Eleven. George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain in a small gated community in Sanford, Florida, was driving around in his SUV. Zimmerman called 911, saying Martin looked “real suspicious”—i.e., he was a young Black male, walking around in a hoodie.

The 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman not to pursue the youth. But Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin, got out of his car, and confronted him. Zimmerman was carrying a 9 mm handgun. Trayvon Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. There was yelling, then a gunshot. Trayvon Martin lay face down in the grass with a fatal bullet wound to the chest. Zimmerman was taken into custody, questioned, and released.

The murder of Trayvon Martin struck a deep nerve. There is a long history, and present day reality, of targets on the backs of young Black men. In the case of Trayvon Martin, people across the country said no fucking way. Tens of thousands of people of all different nationalities demonstrated all around the country—took to the street wearing hoodies, Skittles in hand, carrying signs that said, “We are all Trayvon Martin.” The Miami Heat posted a photo of the team wearing hoodies, their heads bowed, their hands stuffed into their pockets, and other NBA players spoke out demanding justice.

It was only after six weeks of mass protest that Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder. His trial is set to start on June 10. It is crucial that people remember how they felt when this went down—and why they stepped out and into the streets—that the powers-that-be cannot get away with giving racist vigilantes a free pass to kill Black and Latino youth. The struggle is at a critical juncture—the system is pulling out all the stops to vilify the victim, Trayvon Martin, and let his killer go free. The outcome is not determined. People need to stay in the streets as George Zimmerman goes to trial, and not stop until there is justice. And we need to put an end to this.

New York City: Outrage! Judge Tosses Indictment Against Cop Who Murdered Ramarley Graham

Ramarley Graham

Ramarley Graham, courtesy his family.

On May 15, a judge in the Bronx, New York, threw out the indictment against Richard Haste, the NYPD Officer who gunned down 18-year-old Ramarley Graham inside his family’s home while Ramarley’s grandmother and 6-year-old brother watched in horror. The judge said he had to toss the indictment because the prosecutor had given faulty instructions to the grand jury that indicted Haste. Surveillance video from the apartment building shows Ramarley walking up to his door. It also shows the cops who came after him trying to break down the door. One of those cops forced his way into the apartment and gunned down Ramarley in cold blood. On top of all that, the cops then took Ramarley’s grandmother into custody and held her for interrogation for hours, at first without a lawyer.

Whatever the legal technicalities, the undeniable fact is that this cop burst into Ramarley's home and killed him in cold blood—and this is totally unjust and illegitimate.

At the indictment, dozens of uniformed pigs showed up to cheer for the murdering cop and insult and intimidate the grieving family of the victim. And inside the courtroom—the same old story: Prosecutors, who are so efficient in pushing inner city youth through the school-to-prison pipeline, forget how to prosecute. Judges who let defendants in the Bronx rot in jail for months and more without trial, suddenly discover defendant’s rights—rights that are only applied when a cop kills someone and that cop is the defendant.

A big part of why Richard Haste even faced charges in the first place for murdering Ramarley was that this police murder was met with mass protests on the streets of the Bronx.

May 18, 2013. Marching in the Bronx, NY, demanding justice for Ramarley Graham.
Photo: Li Onesto/Revolution

On May 18, 150 people defiantly marched from the home where Ramarley Graham lived with his parents, through the Wakefield neighborhood to the 42nd precinct, home of the killer cops. From the beginning of the march to the end at the police station, people spoke with anger and outrage about police brutality and murder. The mother of Kimani Gray, a 16-year-old Black youth killed by the NYPD on March 12, said, “These kids have nothing to do, there are no programs for them, no facilities. And OK, they wear their pants hanging down—look, we don’t tell other people how to dress! How they dress doesn’t make them killers; it doesn’t make them criminals. They are human beings.” The father of Ramarley Graham expressed the sentiments of those at the march when he said, “This case is not gonna get cold, they’re not gonna put it in the refrigerator.” And, at the police station, he said “The only way they’re gonna get me to stop, they’re gonna have to kill me.” (See “Protestors Denounce Dismissal of Indictment in Ramarley Graham Case: Voices of Protest from the Bronx.”)

Bakersfield, California: Sheriffs Murder David Sal Silva

David Sal Silva, with his three daughters. Photo, courtesy his family.

Just before midnight on May 8, neighbors of David Sal Silva heard screams. Kern County Sheriff’s deputies were beating him with clubs and kicking him, according to neighbors who have told their story to the press. One woman videoed the beating on her mobile phone as it continued for eight minutes while Sal Silva cried out for help. His screams stopped, and then witnesses say the police hogtied him, picked him up and dropped him—twice. One deputy nudged the man with his foot. Sal Silva was dead.

David Sal Silva was 33 years old, Latino, and the father of four young children. Neighbors say Silva was crying for help while many as nine officers hit him, kicked him, and pressed their knees into his chest and stomach. “For the first couple minutes he was screaming for help, basically pleading for his life,” said a neighbor. “Then we couldn’t see him anymore. That’s how many cops were on top of him.” Another witness told the Bakersfield Californian, “When I got outside I saw two officers beating a man with batons and they were hitting his head so every time they would swing, I could hear the blows to his head.”

On top of this outrage, police seized all the cell phones they could get their hands on that might have video of their crimes. At 3:00 am, sheriffs stormed the home of a woman who had videoed the murder; they refused to let her or others leave until they turned over their phones. The phones were returned later, but there are reports that the video has been erased from at least one phone, and the status of the videos on the returned phones is unclear at this time. At least one other video of the sheriffs beating Sal Silva to death was delivered by a witness to a local TV station. It shows deputies delivering at least 19 blows to Sal Silva as he is lying on the ground.

On May 16, a protest vigil was held at the Kern County Superior Court building. Protesters included a woman whose son’s father was killed by Kern County sheriffs in 2005—he was struck 33 times with batons and Tasered 20 times. David Sal Silva’s brother, Chris Silva, came to the protest before attending his brother’s funeral later that day. He told the Los Angeles Times, “Since my brother died I’ve been doing my research and this has got to stop.” (Look for continuing coverage at

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All three of these outrages, and the crimes of this system here and all around the world, pose the essential question: HOW MUCH LONGER will people tolerate all this? As part of fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution, the following is from “The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have... A Message, And a Call, From the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA”.

“It is up to us: to wake shake off the ways they put on us, the ways they have us thinking so they can keep us down and trapped in the same old rise up, as conscious Emancipators of Humanity. The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.

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