Revolution Online, September 26, 2011

NY Police Murder of John Collado

On Tuesday, September 6, John Collado stepped out the front door of his apartment building in the Dominican neighborhood of Inwood at the north end of Manhattan in New York City. According to accounts of neighbors, he saw an unidentified man grabbing a young next-door neighbor. Suddenly, the unknown attacker pulled a gun and shot Collado. That attacker turned out to be an undercover cop.

John's older brother, Pablo Collado, told NY1 news, "My brother went to help and said 'Get away from him,' and I guess he grabbed the guy, my brother grabbed him. He didn't know he was a policeman." Neighbors told us, "El oficial nunca se identifico y que la policía siempre encubrió los hechos desde el primer día." ("The cop never identified himself, and the police always act to conceal their deeds from the first day.")

But the outrageous crime was not over yet. Collado's niece, Banayz Teveras, heard the shots and came out to the street. As she told Daily News, "I look out and see my uncle with a gunshot wound on the floor." Banayz, a month away from becoming a registered nurse, rushed to provide emergency medical care for her gravely wounded uncle. But the cops—now on the scene in force—not only denied her access but arrested her and held her overnight.

Collado was taken to a hospital and died 12 hours later. What words had he spoken, if any, that might shed light on that deadly encounter he had with the police? What was his condition, and how was he treated during those 12 hours? None of this has yet been revealed, let alone independently verified, because the police denied his family any access to him during that period. Collado's family is demanding an independent autopsy.

The police attempted to justify the shooting by claiming that Collado had the undercover cop in a chokehold and the cop fired in self-defense. However, the Collado family's lawyer has announced that they have obtained surveillance video of the scene that night, and that it clearly shows that Collado was not choking the undercover cop.

This shooting comes less than 11 months after the NYPD killed 24-year-old Emmanuel Paulino, just four blocks away.

Anger Pours into the Street

On Saturday, September 18, there was a protest organized by John Collado's family and neighbors. For many, this was their first act of resistance. Some voiced that they had long supported the police but that the NYPD's murder of a well-respected person like Collado really shook their sense of the legitimacy of the system and its enforcers. Many carried a poster/sign made by family and neighbors organizing the march with John Collado's photo above the words "Please be advised that the abuse of authority by the NYPD is claiming innocent lives! Stop the abuse!"

What began as a march of 100 grew to over 200 as the protest went through the community to the notorious 34th Precinct. For some people, this was their third march to this precinct to protest a murder by the police. This sharply posed the question: How many more such murders are we going to protest before we STOP this? How many more lives are going to be stolen by murdering cops? The words of the RCP's Message and Call "The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have," which we distributed on the march, speaks to that:

"The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all around the world… when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness… those days must be GONE. And they CAN be."

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