Outrage in Brooklyn Over the Police Murder of Saheed Vassell—The Whole Damned System Is Guilty as Hell!

April 6, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



From the Revolution Club, NYC:

Wednesday night, nearly 1,000 people filled the streets of the Brooklyn neighborhood where the New York Police Department murdered Saheed Vassell.


On Wednesday, April 4, the NYPD murdered Saheed Vassell, a 34-year-old Black man, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. He had no weapon on him—he was only holding a pipe when four pigs shot him 10 times. Vassell suffered from mental illness, and people in the neighborhood knew this. There was immediate outrage in the streets after the wanton police killing of yet another Black man. And next night, more people came out to protest.

When Carl Dix and the Revolution Club arrived on the scene we were hit right away with the sense of outrage that permeated the entire neighborhood. 

Masses from the neighborhood had gathered at the site of the rally well in advance of its "official" start, and were discussing loudly the events surrounding the murder of Saheed Vassell. 

Wielding "HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution" and copies of the statement from Carl Dix "Stephon Clark & Alton Sterling & Saheed Vassell: Police Murder, System Cover Ups & What Must Be Done Now!" we went among the people. We shared with them the quote from Bob Avakian on the role of the police and were greeted with visceral reactions of agreement and outrage. They shared stories of Saheed and the life he'd lived in the neighborhood before he was brutally cut down. "He never did any harm," many of them repeated. 

When Carl Dix spoke to the crowd, people took copies of his statement, read some of it, and came back to get more copies. Some people took the statement to share with clusters of people further out from where the gathering was starting to swell, as well as people in the restaurants and shops nearby. 

The "official" gathering was called for by a lot of different forces representing differing views on what needs to be done to address the glaring atrocities of police brutality and the wanton murder of Black and Brown people. Some more openly advocated that the murdering pigs be fired and/or jailed. The rally grew to about a thousand people at its peak and took off marching towards the 71st precinct after about an hour of speeches from representatives of different groups, and the family of Saheed Vassell. 

By the time we got to the precinct we had handed out over a thousand copies of Carl Dix's statement. People yelled angrily at the dozens of pigs gathered behind barricades that lined the streets, while some chanted "fuck the police!" and "back up back up, we want freedom! All these racist-ass cops, we don't need ’em!” In another section of the protest, family members of people murdered by police gave short rousing speeches in solidarity with the family of Saheed Vassell. 

While there were large numbers of people from the basic masses and the largely immigrant Caribbean neighborhood present, many of the protesters were not from the area and had traveled from all over the city to be part of the manifestation. As the protest grew in size and anger, there were people emerging from the train stations together, including many younger people (high schoolers and so on), strangers admiring the slogans on each others' protest signs, and being directed toward the rally by volunteers. There was definitely a sense of being "in this together," at least among the non-organized forces present. 

We extended a hand of unity to all gathered. As we all stood together toward the end of the march, Carl Dix and the Revolution Club agitated to the people about how these murders happen all the damn time and the murdering pigs are never punished because the oppression of Black people has been woven into the fabric of the capitalist-imperialist system since its foundations and down to today. We brought the reality to people, that, as Carl wrote in his statement, "[t]his system has proven, again and again, that it places no value on Black lives and the ONLY chance of justice comes through ferocious struggle." We called on people to stand up and grow even more determined in our resistance, and do so as part of getting organized for an actual revolution, and to get with the leadership that we have for this revolution, in Bob Avakian. 

As BA himself put it: 

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

And then we connected all this to the leap that the Trump/Pence regime represents; the "slow genocide" of mass incarceration being put on steroids by the open white supremacists ruling the country. We led people in chants of "the whole damn system is guilty!" as the night wound down and, overhead, projections against the wall of a nearby building proclaimed "A MAN WAS LYNCHED TODAY!"




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