Houston: Revolutionaries Bring Police Meeting to a Halt

February 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Revcom.us received this correspondence:

A February 7 “town hall meeting” organized at Texas Southern University (TSU) by the Houston Police Department (HPD), and intended to promote “community engagement” with the police, was turned on its head. Revolutionaries marched in carrying pictures of people who have been murdered by the police, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot,” “I can’t breathe,” and “arrest, indict, send the killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell.” 

The meeting was brought to a halt as the revolutionaries marched to the front of the stage. Three were arrested and dragged from the auditorium. Outside, several of the 20 people who had come to protest the event exposed the police for arresting the revolutionaries.

One Black man yelled at the pigs, “They didn't hurt nobody, they didn't shoot nobody, all they did was talk and you make this a crime! You talk about all these other countries that don't allow people to speak. What kind of country is this that people can't speak? They were just telling the truth!” In the midst of all this, some people chanted, “Who are the real criminals, the police are the real criminals,” and “shame on you.”

As word got out about the arrests, several people jumped into action to get the arrested revolutionaries out of jail. A couple of people spread it all over social media, while other people went out and raised bail money. A revolutionary raised over $200 from family and friends. A student went out to his friends and donated $180. Other people also donated. One person said that she is very concerned about the people arrested and that she does not like how the authorities are responding to political protest. A student drove to TSU and talked to other students there. The TSU students said that they had all been encouraged to attend the town hall meeting, but most of them didn’t because they saw it as a slap in the face. One guy said that “it looks like a military occupation” of their campus. They were excited to hear about the protest and said that they would check out the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) because all of the killing of youth by the police has got to stop. 

Texas Southern University is a historically Black school in the heart of the 3rd ward, one of the oldest and largest Black communities in Houston. The HPD enlisted the support of a network of pastors for the event, which included a helicopter, SWAT mobiles, a kid-friendly robot, and cookies and punch. A key feature of the program was enactments of a high-tech "training" simulator called “shoot don’t shoot,” which is aimed at getting people to “step into the shoes of the police” and see what a "hard job" they have. 

This is in the context of the tremendous outpourings of resistance against police murder and brutality around the country and in Houston—and as police brutality and murder have continued with impunity. Only about 40 people not affiliated with the police showed up for the event, and about half of them were there to protest. Revolutionaries were in the middle of this mix, and struggled with people to take things further and more boldly challenge this pig fest, as part of retaking the initiative in the struggle for police murder and brutality to stop. The police are working to push the whole struggle backwards, and this is not acceptable. As a revolutionary said during the protest action, on that same day in Atlanta, people from around the country were gathered in the meeting called by SMIN to develop plans for April 14—Stop Business as Usual! and ran down the demands from the April 14 Call.

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