Statement from Carl Dix

Madison, Wisconsin -


by Carl Dix | May 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Tony Robinson and his mother, Andrea Irwin

Tony Robinson and his mother, Andrea Irwin

Today the system let another killer cop get away with murdering a young Black man. It was announced today that Matt Kenny, the white cop who fired 7 shots into Tony Robinson's head, torso and arm—all of them fired in the space of 3 seconds, from “front to back” in the words of the District Attorney (DA) will face no charges. Before making this announcement the DA went thru his own background. That his mother had been the youngest person in a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) chapter back in the 1960's. And that he was the 1st and only Black DA in the state of Wisconsin.

I don't give a damn what role his mother played back in the day, and I sure don't care that he's the first Black face they've put in the position of sending Black people to prison in disproportionate numbers (Black people make up 6 % of the population of the county that Madison is in, yet they are 50% of its prison population.) What matters here is that he pronounced those hurtful words—that another police killing of a young Black man had been found to be justifiable homicide. These are words that he has pronounced again and again, as during his tenure as the DA of the county that Madison is in he has had 7 cases of police killings, 13 police involved, and he has yet to prosecute a single killer cop!

Now he is refusing to even bring charges against the policeman who killed Tony Robinson. The DA is telling us we have to take the cop’s word for what happened, saying there is not sufficient evidence to prove the cop who murdered Tony Robinson is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But that is what a trial is supposed to be about! Where we can get all the evidence on the table and where the cop’s story can be questioned and compared to real evidence. So now we are being told that’s not gonna happen. There is NO reason to believe the story the DA ran out at the press conference.

But even if what he said was true, this was murder. The DA described three calls to 911 that made clear that Tony was having trouble—one said he was running out into traffic in front of cars. Another said that he had taken mushrooms and was acting “crazy.” A third said he had attacked two people. This was obviously a case where somebody needed to help a young man in trouble. Not kill him! And a number of regular people who encountered Tony while he was having this trouble were able to immediately deal with it. Yet when the cop arrived, he ended up killing Tony.

This cop didn't approach Tony to figure out what was wrong with him and how he could help him deal with whatever it was. Instead he forced his way into Tony's apartment and confronted him. The cop said Tony punched him and continued to attack him, backing him down the steps. At that point, despite the fact that he knew Tony was unarmed, the cop gunned him down. According to the DA, the cop felt he had no choice but to shoot Tony because he feared for his life and for other people in the apartment

This was the cop's story. Tony was no longer alive to dispute any of it or to tell his version of what happened. We know that cops often lie to cover their asses when they inflict brutality and murder on people. At a press conference following the DA's announcement, a lawyer for the family said the officer's story had changed over time. And they pointed out inconsistencies between the cop's story as relayed by the DA and what actually happened. One was that they understood that the cop was told not to go into the apartment alone. Another was that there was no one in the apartment but Tony. And a third was that, even though the cop said Tony was attacking him outside the apartment when he shot him, a video of the shooting shows the officer outside the apartment firing into it.

Everyone who hates to hear that another person's life has been snuffed out by the cops—who hates to hear those words justifiable homicide being used to describe the unnecessary loss of another life at the hands of the police—needs to join the resistance to this horror and be part of forging a massive and determined movement aiming to STOP the ugly reality of police getting away with murder.

Why do police kill people again and again? Why do they kill so many unarmed, innocent people. Why do they kill so many people who are having mental episodes, people they have been called to help? And why do they almost never get punished in any way for their murderous actions? Because they are out there doing what the system has them there to do—beating down, locking up and even killing people this system hates and fears. Black and Latino youth are disproportionately targeted by the police and the whole criminal “injustice” system because this system has nothing for them and fears how they will respond to the savage oppression they face in this society. This system has no answer except its police who patrol the ghettos and barrios like an occupying army, spreading terror and inflicting brutality and murder.

Their cops don't “protect and serve the people.” They protect and serve the system that rules over the people. They spread terror in Black and Latino communities, brutalizing and even murdering people arbitrarily. And the whole system backs them up in doing this.

Tony Robinson and all the other people whose lives are stolen by police who are sworn to protect and serve - the Freddie Grays, the Rekia Boyds, the Walter Scotts, all of them—didn't have to die and don't need to keep on dying. And again, even if everything the cop said was true, even if Tony was high and did all the things they claim he did, Tony Robinson didn't have to end up dead. As Bob Avakian put it, in commenting on the 1998 police murder of Tyisha Miller, a 19-year-old African-American woman who police were called to help because she had suffered a seizure and was unconscious in her car and ended up shooting 12 times, killing her:

If you can't handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation, but get off the earth. Get out of the way of the masses of people. Because you know, we could have handled this situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome. And frankly, if we had state power, and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people's police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That's what you're supposed to do if you're actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than wantonly murder one of the people.

We can have a different kind of society—the state power Bob Avakian (BA) is talking about there. This is a state power aimed at getting rid of all oppression, everywhere. We have the leadership in BA and the Party he leads. We have a vision and plan. Get into all that at An actual revolution is not easy—I’m not going to lie about that. But it is possible, and necessary. And as we fight for justice we have to be getting organized for that revolution.


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"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

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BA Speaks

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13

Do you know anyone else—any person or organization—that has managed to bring forth an actual PLAN for a radically different society, in all its dimensions, and a CONSTITUTION to codify all this? — A different world IS possible — Check out and order online the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal).