Revolution #250, November 13, 2011
Police Video Shows Cop Murdering Flint Farmer
The morning of October 22—the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality AND the first day of the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention in Chicago—the front-page headline of the Chicago Tribune blared: “Justified? Chicago cop shot unarmed man in back.” This major exposé reveals outrageous, previously suppressed facts about the cold-blooded murder of Flint Farmer on June 7 by Chicago cop Gildardo Sierra. (See “Justice for Flint Farmer! Indict the Chicago Cops Who Killed Him!” Revolution #237, June 26, 2011.) Video images from the dashboard camera of another police car as it drove up to the scene show the wounded Flint Farmer lying motionless and face down on the grass while Sierra walks around him firing off three more shots into his back. Sierra shot at Flint a total of 16 times, hitting him seven times. The Cook County medical examiner who performed the autopsy said that the three shots in the back were the fatal shots.
On November 2, Flint Farmer’s family and supporters held a press conference demanding that the Cook County State’s Attorney order the immediate arrest of Sierra, charge him with first-degree murder, convict him, and send him to prison for life. The press conference was covered on four TV stations and by the Chicago Tribune, and it has been picked up by the Huffington Post online and papers from as far away as Boston.
The family and supporters see this press conference as an important nodal point in the battle for justice for Flint Farmer. The response from the press and the increasing support from diverse sections of the people, including Occupy Chicago, has given new energy to the fight to make good on the demand that has been raised since Flint’s funeral in June: “Indict, Convict, Jail the Killer Cop—the Whole System Is Guilty.” The October 22 Tribune exposé had a big photo of Flint Farmer’s father holding a sign with the demand.
This battle for justice for Flint Farmer has also hooked up with the movement for justice for the victims of the notorious police torturer Jon Burge. Mark Clements, of the campaign to end police torture, spoke at the press conference to express outrage that Sierra had not already been arrested. Clements was imprisoned at age 16 and spent 28 years in prison because of a confession he was forced to give under torture by cops commanded by Burge.
Sierra Guilty of Other Crimes
Flint was the third person shot by Sierra in the six-month period between January 7 and June 7, 2011. Two of the three died. The police department ruled all three shootings justified. A 2007 Tribune investigation, which reviewed the records of 200 police shootings over a 10-year period, found “a pattern of officials rushing to clear officers who shoot civilians” and that “these cursory police investigations create a separate standard of justice and fuel the fear among some citizens that officers can shoot people with impunity.”
This pattern has gotten worse since then. No Chicago police have been charged for shooting civilians, despite repeated exposure and public outcry, and 51 people have been shot by Chicago cops so far in 2011.
Since the so-called Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) was formed in 2007, the names of police who have shot people are no longer released pending an “investigation.” The previous policy of removing police involved in shooting incidents from the streets while the investigation is pending has been eliminated. Now police are back, threatening the community, the day after they kill. And there’s no way to know the identity of cops who shoot people unless someone witnessed them at the scene and read their name tag. The IPRA keeps that and other information deeply hidden, objectively hampering efforts to get some measure of justice for the victim. Lawyers for families seeking redress for wrongful deaths at the hands of the police describe how very difficult it is to get crucial information out of IPRA, even with a subpoena. Of the 254 police shootings (81 of them fatal) from September 2007 to September 2011, there were only TWO findings of “fault.”
The Tribune article focuses on the truly outrageous crimes of a particular cop in shooting three people in six months, and reveals that the police department does not even keep any record of cops who are involved in police shootings. But the problem is much deeper than Officer Sierra or “a few bad apples,” as some portray it.
There is a systematic and systemic occupation of the neighborhoods of the Black masses in Chicago and other cities, where the armed power of the police is used to suppress and terrorize the people, much like how lynching was used in the South through the 1950s and ’60s. Flint Farmer’s family reported that his body was left lying in a pool of blood from 1:30 am to 5 am, and for all those hours the family was forced to stand half a block away and were subjected to insults by the police—some of whom were parading around grinning and laughing. Then two days later five or six police officers came walking up a relative’s street strapped with assault rifles around their necks. The little kids ran in terror. One person said, “As they passed my house they saw us with ‘RIP Flint’ shirts on, and they turned and said, ‘If we catch any of you motherfuckers walking up and down the block doing anything, with a beer or anything, doing anything we are going to lock you up.’” For days after, the police drove by every 10 minutes eyeing the family. This is pure terror and intimidation of an entire population under the authority of the state.
We say NO MORE. No more murdering cops. No more “investigations” that automatically exonerate the killers, no more marauding forces degrading and humiliating the people.
Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cop to Jail!
The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell!
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.