Revolution #214, October 24, 2010
These victims of brutal police cannot speak for themselves, but we can and will
Sergio Hernández: Gunned Down by U.S. Border Patrol in Mexico
Juarez/El Paso: On June 7, 14-year-old junior high student Sergio Hernández was shot in the head and killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. Sergio had left his home in a Juárez barrio to visit and borrow some money for school supplies from his brother. Afterwards, Sergio and a couple of friends went down to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, and were hanging out and fooling around by the river. A Border Patrol agent on the U.S. side of the river chased a small group of men through a hole in a border fence, and began shooting into the Mexican side of the border. The agent claimed he was surrounded and being pelted by rocks—but video evidence showed this to be a complete lie. He fired three times; one of those bullets shattered Sergio’s face, entered his brain, and killed him.
Aiyana Stanley-Jones: Killed for Sleeping on a Couch With Her Grandmother
Detroit. In the early morning of May 16, 2010, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7 years old, was sleeping with her grandmother on a couch in the living room when Detroit police swarmed the house. They were looking for a suspect who lived in another apartment. When multiple hooded police officers converged on the residence after hours of surveillance, a man pleaded with them, saying there were children in the house, as evidenced by toys in the front yard. He was thrown to the ground, and the police moved on the apartment where Aiyana slept. They first threw a flash grenade through a window, landing on or near Aiyana, burning her severely. Then almost immediately, a cop shot through the front door and the bullet killed Aiyana. After murdering her grandchild in front of her, the cops put Mertilla Jones in chains and locked her up for hours, testing her for drugs and gunpowder. The cop has never been arrested or charged in Aiyana’s murder.
Mertilla Jones recounted the horror: “I seen the light leave outta her eyes, I knew she was dead. She had blood coming out of her mouth. Lord Jesus, I ain’t never seen nothing like that in my life. My 7-year-old grandbaby—my beautiful, beautiful gorgeous granddaughter. My goodness, what type of people?! ...What type of people?! You can’t trust the police. You can’t trust Detroit police.”
John T. Williams: Artist Killed for Carrying a Piece of Wood and a Carving Knife
Seattle, WA. On August 30 this year, John T. Williams was walking down a busy street, holding a folding three-inch carving knife and a piece of wood. John was known for his beautiful totem poles and other carvings. He came from a family of wood carvers from the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Dititdaht First Nations people on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Suddenly, a cop jumped out of his car and yelled at John to drop the knife. John was deaf in one ear and, according to reports, suffered from the disease of alcoholism. Within 60 seconds of jumping from his car, the cop shot John four times and killed him. The police tried to justify the murder by claiming John had menacingly come at the cop with his knife. But eyewitnesses exposed this story as a lie. John’s killing sparked protest and outrage, including a September 7 action at the site of the killing, called by the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality.
Manuel Jaminez Xum—Shot by Police in 40 Seconds, Left Dead on the Sidewalk for 4 Hours
Los Angeles. On September 5, 2010, Manuel Jaminez Xum (Manuel Jaminez) had spent the morning drinking with some friends where they usually drink outside on 6th Street in the Pico Union district. That afternoon, bicycle cops say they were waved down by someone claiming Manuel was threatening people with a knife. Witnesses saw the police confront Manuel. They saw Manuel barely able to keep his balance. And within 40 seconds, they saw one of the cops—well known in the area for cruelly harassing and ticketing street vendors—shoot Manuel in the head. After killing him, police handcuffed his body, covered it with a cloth and left it on the sidewalk for four hours.
Manuel was a 37-year-old Guatemalan man who had been in the U.S. seven years working as a day laborer, trying to make a better life for his wife and three kids in Guatemala. For three days and nights after his murder, hundreds of protesters took to the streets saying, “We are not animals,” and demanding justice. The cop who killed him was called a hero by the mayor.
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