No, FBI Director Comey, There Is No “Viral Video Effect”—There IS a Viral Epidemic of Murder by Police!

May 16, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Police chase down Walter Scott and murder him.
Police chase and execution of Walter Scott.

On May 11, FBI head James Comey complained in front of reporters—not for the first time—that the videos people take of police murder and brutality are affecting the way cops do their “job” by making them “less aggressive.” He called this the “viral video effect” and, based on no actual evidence, linked this to what he claimed was a spike in crime in a number of cities.

When the top pig official of the land complains that filming what cops do keeps them from what they need to do—then you have to ask: what the fuck IS their “job”?!

The answer can be seen through a piece of news the very same day that Comey made his remark. Michael Slager, the Charleston, South Carolina, cop who murdered Walter Scott in April 2015, was indicted for federal civil rights violations. He also faces state murder charges. Slager stopped Scott, an unarmed Black man, for an alleged broken brake light. Slager’s lie that he only fired his gun when attacked by Scott was blasted out of the water when a witness’s video surfaced, showing the truth of what happened. As Scott ran from his car, Slager shot at him eight times, hitting him five times in the back—killing him execution style.

This is one of the very, very rare cases when a cop ever gets charged for murder. A study by Washington Post and Bowling Green University last year showed: “Among the thousands of fatal shootings at the hands of police since 2005, only 54 officers have been charged ... most were cleared or acquitted...” And there’s been only half a dozen cases ever where cops have faced federal civil rights charges after a shooting.

In Walter Scott’s case, it was only because of the video, and the upsurge in protests across the U.S. against police terror, that state and federal authorities were forced to bring charges. But the murdering cop is still out on bail, and he’s yet to be convicted and given a serious sentence. Let’s also not forget that a police crime caught on video is no guarantee of justice. Look at the New York City cops who choked unarmed Eric Garner to death and even mugged for the camera—no charges. Or the Cleveland cops who blew away 12-year-old Tamir Rice, playing with a toy gun—no charges.

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?" is a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. The film is of the November 2014 historic Dialogue on a question of great importance in today's world between the Revolutionary Christian Cornel West and the Revolutionary Communist Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

And let’s not forget that there have been many murders by police since Walter Scott. There is no “viral video effect” that is staying the hands of the murdering cops. What IS true is that the epidemic of police terror and brutality rages on.

In this system we live under, the job of the police has always been to hammer the masses of people into “their place” in America. With this country’s whole stinking “tradition” of white supremacy, this has been directed with particular viciousness at Black people and people of other oppressed nationalities. Today, when this system has absolutely no future for those on the bottom of society, the reign of police terror comes down extremely hard on youth in the inner cities.

The upsurge in mass protests against police murder and brutality in the past two years has challenged all this. And the pigs are squealing back—as reflected in Comey’s complaint, Donald Trump’s fascist rantings, and in other ways.

We need a whole new system—with new relations between people, and security forces that reflect those relations and values, as part of emancipating all of humanity. There is a serious plan for such a new system, and a serious way to build—and intensify—the struggles against this police murder to be part of making the revolution that would bring that new system into being.



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