--> Benny Anderson on the Police Murder of His Brother Johnny—and on Rise Up October: “This is a pivotal moment in history”

Benny Anderson on the Police Murder of His Brother Johnny—and on Rise Up October:

“This is a pivotal moment in history”

October 9, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Johnny Ray Anderson was murdered by Los Angeles County Sheriffs in the city of Hawaiian Gardens on July 5 this year. (See “Johnny Anderson, 42, murdered in cold blood by LA County Sheriffs“) Johnny’s brother, Benny Anderson, has been fighting for justice since that murder. He is among those family members of victims of police terror who, as Rise Up October Steering Committee member Nkosi Anderson said in an interview with Revolution, have taken the stand that “Hey you know what? I’m not going to wallow in my pain but I’m going take a stand in honor of my fallen family member to say that this must stop.” The following are excerpts from interviews with Benny Anderson on The Michael Slate Show on KPFK radio on September 11 and more recently by a Revolution reporter.


From The Michael Slate Show:

My brother was a great person. He was the father of seven children. He was in a vacant [yard]. He was approached by the police. He was under the Hawaiian Gardens gang injunction*, and he knew he was trespassing. He didn’t want to go to jail, so he jumped the fence; and they decided “we’re gonna chase you out of our neighborhood, we’re gonna kill you.” That was totally wrong. He didn’t have his shirt on; he was unarmed. He was a non-violent person, you know, a funny guy.

I’m standing right here in front of his grave right now. As his older brother, I’ve got to speak for him, because he can’t talk no more. And I’d like to say to the audience—before this happened to me and my family, I used to see this all the time on the news, you know; it’s happening all over the country. An unarmed person being gunned down by the police. I used to think, “That’s pretty messed up; how could people do this, to a human being?” I never thought, “What can I do about it,” until it actually happened to me and my family. So I encourage everybody that’s listening, don’t let it hit home; because it can happen to anybody. Listen and support; do some research. I’ve been doing a lot of research; reading about situations across the country, about these murders by police. This is wrong. To take a human life; just like that. Just cause they can.

Benny spoke with a Revolution reporter during a recent protest:

Revolution: What do you say to people who ask you why do you want to go to Rise Up October in New York?

Benny Anderson: I want to go to be a voice for my brother, and for all the innocent people that were murdered—to put a stop to police murder, and police brutality, [with] them getting away with murder. I mean literally. These people are killers. They sit back, and it don’t matter who they kill either. They kill with impunity. This needs to stop!

Revolution: Think about thousands and thousands in the street, with a hundred victims of police terror represented by their families and loved ones.

Benny Anderson: I’m hoping that people will see our faces. There are a lot of people just on the sidelines, asking, “What does that have to do with me?” Or “That’s none of my business.” I’m hoping, just seeing our numbers, this has got to mean something. Because if there are thousands and thousands of people out there, and a lot of family members out there, and they see our faces, I’m hoping they’ll see there’s something to this. I’m hoping it will change their mind, the way they think. We all have to live together... I would hate to see this happen to anybody else. The reality of it is, if we don’t do nothing about it, it’s gonna keep happening—every day.

On October 3, a team building for #RiseUpOctober – including family and friends of Johnny Ray Anderson – went to the busy Carson Street in Hawaiian Gardens, near where Johnny was murdered by Lakewood sheriffs on July 5, 2015 On October 3, a team building for #RiseUpOctober – including family and friends of Johnny Ray Anderson – went to the busy Carson Street in Hawaiian Gardens, near where Johnny was murdered by Lakewood sheriffs on July 5, 2015. Photo: Special to revcom.us

I watch people. I put up posters and I watch. And you see people just walk right by it. So that’s telling us it’s none of their business. “What has that got to do with me?” It has a LOT to do with you. Another thing, why I represent my brother and all the families is for our children, and for their children—the generations to come. These police, they become militarized. Why? They’re like, “We gotta enforce the rules that are set upon us.” They’re going overboard by killing innocent people. That’s wrong.

Revolution: At the Rise Up October Tour stop in L.A. with Carl Dix, you said you were doing some reading. What have you been reading?

Benny Anderson: A little of everything—about the stuff going on across the country, about all these killings, of all these people getting murdered for nothing. Unarmed. I’ve been reading stopmassincarceration.net—I’ve been going there daily. I’ve been reading the BAsics that was given to me recently, from (the works of) Bob Avakian. I just got into the book. I got on The Michael Slate show. I’ve been in the archives and looked at a couple of videos of Bob Avakian himself. I thought it was all right. You know, it’s true; this society, the way it is, and the police that enforce this society, and we have to live in this society. It needs to change. And we, as the people, we’re the ones that have to change it. We have to just not give up. And keep going forward.

And as far as Rise Up October, we need to do this. This is a pivotal moment in history, where the world’s gonna see that, “Hey, we can’t live like this no more.” And they’re gonna see how many people it has affected. And I’m all for it. This Rise Up October, I’ve been telling everybody around me, I’m hoping I can get there.

* Used extensively all over the L.A. area, gang injunctions are civil court orders that make otherwise legal, everyday activities illegal. Anyone law enforcement says is a friend of someone they’ve associated with a gang can be put on the list. For people targeted, it is as if they were on parole without having committed any crime. [back]


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