Police Murder Runs Rampant—But Where Is the Outcry?

| revcom.us


Although police across the country have continued to murder people, especially Black, Brown, and Native people, one after the other, the protests of a few years ago have all but disappeared.

Very few people turned out to protest on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation (NDP), this year. Way too many people are working at NGOs, or petty programs to pacify the people and “monitor” the police. Way too many people have their heads down, “healing themselves,” or finding a “safe space.”

This murder and brutality is knitted deep in the fabric of imperialist America. It is the knife edge of terror against oppressed nationality communities—Black, Latino, Native American in particular—designed to break people’s spirits. Meanwhile, Trump and the fascist, white supremacist regime he heads aims to take this to another level. Trump goes around actively encouraging police brutality. On October 10, Trump spoke in Minneapolis with a platoon of cops wearing “Cops Love Trump” shirts as his backdrop; he slobbered to the frenzied mob that his love for pigs is “unbound.” Two years ago, in Long Island, New York, he openly called for pigs “not to be so nice” to people during arrests.


Read over these brief accounts of some of the people murdered by police in the past few weeks to see some deadly examples of how these pigs have been emboldened.

September 29, the Bronx, New York City. Antonio Lavance Williams, a 27-year-old Black man, was gunned down by a hail of police bullets. Antonio had come to the city from Binghamton in upstate New York to spend some time with a friend on Saturday night. Police officials claim he had a gun, and initially claimed he had shot a cop who assaulted him, who also died at the scene. But it was soon established that the dead cop was shot by his fellow pigs as they poured bullets towards Antonio. The mayor and police chief of New York attended the cop’s funeral, as did hundreds of cops from across the country. Antonio’s death was marked by a small memorial held by friends and family in Binghamton. Police officials have yet to explain why their pigs approached Antonio Williams in the first place.


September 29, Mountain View, Missouri. Angela Louise Perkins, 38-year-old white woman, was shot and killed by police. The killer cop said Perkins assaulted him with her vehicle as she backed it out of a ditch.


October 4, Ada, Oklahoma. Anthony Ray Meely, 36-year-old Black man, was confronted by police for allegedly causing a “disturbance” at some apartments. He collapsed after being beaten by police and two passing drivers who joined them. EMS was called, but Anthony Ray Meely died before he reached a hospital.


October 7, Tahlequah, Oklahoma. 54-year-old Bobby Lee Vaughn, Native American, was shot and killed in his home by police responding to a “domestic disturbance” call.


October 7, Whittier, California. Marco Antonio Vasquez, 37, was shot and killed by Whittier cops who said he threatened them with a machete. His family said he had never shown any signs of violence before, and an uncle of Vasquez told reporters, “We call them for help, but instead of helping, they killed him”. Police said they “didn’t have time” to call a psychiatric unit to the scene.


October 8, Houston. 29-year old Dwayne Foreman was riding his bike home in the early morning hours when a police car speeding through the largely Black neighborhood without lights or siren ran him over and pulverized his body, killing him instantly.


October 8, Beaumont, Texas. Crederick Joseph, 37-year-old Black man from Opelousas, Louisiana, was shot and killed by a cop at a Beaumont motel. The pig claimed Joseph had taken his baton and began beating him with it—the pig is now on paid leave.


October 10, Oklahoma City. 24-year-old Michael John, a Black man, was shot and killed by Oklahoma City cops who said he pulled a gun on them after they tased him. Police said they had approached John to investigate a car collision.


October 12, Fort Worth, Texas. 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson, 28-year-old Black woman, was shot and killed inside her own home by police as she played video games with a nephew. After outraged protests burst forth in Fort Worth and anger grew throughout the country, the cop who murdered her was arrested on a murder charge—the only one of the cases cited here in which that has happened.1


October 13, Corpus Christi, Texas. Family members called authorities when Emilio Mojica appeared to be in distress. Police arrived at their home and murdered the 22-year-old Chicano man. Emilio’s father told a reporter, “I decided to call the non-emergency number to de-escalate the situation while I was en route from fishing on the island, hoping I could get here and the situation would be defused and we could talk. Never in a million years would I think that calling the cops to defuse the situation would end with my family member dead.”


October 14, High Point, North Carolina. Victor Jarvis, a 61-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by High Point police. The cops who came to Jarvis’ home to enforce an eviction notice claim he had shot at them.


October 14, Athens, Georgia. Police shot and killed 54-year-old Bonny Thomas at her home. They claimed she was “brandishing a knife”.


October 14, Ethel, Louisiana. Christopher Whitfield, 31-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by a deputy from the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Department. Police claim Whitfield was trying to take raw chicken from a refrigerator behind a gas station. But his sister told a reporter in the small Louisiana town that he “struggled with his mental health, and despite previous run-ins with the law, didn’t carry guns and did not pose a threat to law enforcement.”


October 16, Brooklyn, New York; the Bronx, New York. Nasheem Prioleau, a 30-year-old Black man, was killed in Brooklyn by a hail of about 30 police bullets just days after he had been released from prison. Police claim Prioleau had a gun. Tracey Pinkard, a cousin of Prioleau’s said that whatever happened, “excessive force” was used by the NYPD. “We don’t know that he was even aware of who was coming after him.” That same night, NYPD shot a man on a subway platform in the Bronx, claiming he had a gun. At this point the unnamed man is still alive.


October 17, the Bronx, New York. Allan Feliz, 31, was shot and killed by NYPD after being pulled over for a seat belt violation. Police claim that after he was pulled over, he tried to put the car in gear, and only then did NYPD tase him and pull out their guns. But a lawyer told reporters that “A passenger in the vehicle said the sergeant had his gun drawn and pointed at Feliz throughout the encounter”. The New York Daily News reported that “Video taken after the shooting shows Allan Feliz lifeless and bleeding, his pants and underwear pulled down below his knees while three officers stand over him and drag him out of the car.” His brother Samy sobbed and said, “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I couldn’t believe the embarrassment that they placed my brother through.”


October 23, New York City. 29-year-old Victor Hernandez was shot and killed by NYPD in the Harlem apartment building where he was superintendent. A woman who lives in the building said she called police because she saw him naked and shouting obscenities in the hallway. She said that minutes later eight uniformed cops poured out of an elevator and began yelling “Shoot him! Shoot him!” She continued, “He was butt-naked. But I didn’t see a gun. I saw something that looked like a laptop or a tablet.”


October 25, Brooklyn, New York. Kwesi Ashun, a 33-year-old Black man, was shot six times and killed by an NYPD pig. The cop had gone into a nail salon because another man was supposedly urinating on the floor. Police claim Ashun, who had a history of mental and emotional problems, then entered the salon and hit the cop with an aluminum chair. Eleven days earlier, city health officials had released Kwesi from their care and told his sister he was “not a threat.” But she later called them because he had entered “crisis mode.” They told her, “Call 911.” She said, “I told them I wasn’t comfortable with dialing 911 on an ill Black man. It was too dangerous. So I didn’t call.” And now her brother is dead, another victim of murdering police.

This Must End!

Murder and brutality by police are built into the deepest fabric of the capitalist imperialist system. And now Trump and the fascist, white supremacist regime he heads is actively encouraging police brutality. It has stopped even the minor concessions that once in a while went along with “consent decrees”—agreements between the federal government and local police forces that supposedly provided some restraints on rampant, completely unchecked murder and brutality by cops.

In the 24 years since NDP protests began thousands of people have been murdered by the police. Millions have been imprisoned; countless people have been beaten and tormented by these pigs. All the protests against these murdering, brutalizing cops are righteous. They need to become much more powerful. But how long must these murders continue? Will they continue for another 24 years? Will thousands more be killed by police?

The pigs who carry out all this murder and brutality will continue to do so, and the legal system will continue to let them off—as long as this capitalist imperialist system exists. What we need is a revolution—an actual revolution to overthrow this system. The leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, says:

...We have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all...
make revolution!

The struggle to STOP that murder and brutality must be built and strengthened as an essential part of that revolution.


1. Since the murder of Atatiana Jefferson, Fort Worth police have tried to portray her death as a horrible aberration from police policy and practice. But as an article in the New York Times has pointed out, Fort Worth police routinely brutalize, shoot, and arrest people who call them for assistance in the Black and Latino neighborhood where she lived. One example—when police responded to a call by a woman who said her boyfriend was drunk and trying to kick in her door, they shot her with a taser, arrested her on charges of resisting arrest and aggravated assault, and threw her in jail. She said, “I never was supposed to be arrested. I was the caller.” A minister from the community said of the murder of Atatiana Jefferson: “This is not an isolated incident. ... This is historic and it is systemic, and we understand that racism is at the heart of this.” [back]

"How Long?! How Many More Times Do the Tears Have to Flow?"

A clip from BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2012. Watch the whole talk at revolutiontalk.net.

This video, which was just released, shows how over two years ago, on April 14, 2017, pigs in Fresno, California, murdered 16-year-old Isiah Murrietta-Golding. Isiah, unarmed, was running away from the police by climbing over a fence and running through a parking lot when the cop shot him in the back of the head. The killer cop’s partner said, “Good shot.” For two years Fresno authorities suppressed the chilling video that reveals how calculated and cold-blooded this murder was. Meanwhile, the Fresno pigs “investigated” themselves and declared the murder was “within department policy.” The video only came to light because of a civil suit filed by the victim’s family.

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