The latest in a series of racist murders has produced the only response that could ever hope to break the otherwise endless cycle of injustice: mass resistance.
With the exception of the outburst of impassioned struggle that has followed in Ferguson, Missouri, the police killing of Michael Brown would appear to have been borrowed from an overused script. A young black man, unarmed, was shot in the back by police while his hands were in the air. The police defended the killing by making the absurd claim that Michael was reaching for the officer’s gun, following the standard legal advice that has become an automatic reflex, “Just claim that he was attacking you, and then you’ll get away with it.” The media, politicians, and civil rights celebrities have called for peace and mourning. All would otherwise seem to be going according to the business-as-usual routine—but the black community of Ferguson was not content to follow the routine.
There can be no question of the wisdom of those who choose to take matters into their own hands: the criminal justice system has stubbornly denied justice in virtually every instance in which black and Latino youth have been murdered by the police. Regardless of the facts of the situation, regardless of whether the political leadership was Democratic or Republican, and regardless of the public magnitude of the scandal, all authorities have strictly applied a universal policy to all racist murders by police: the cop gets away with the murder, the civil rights celebrities keep the peace, perhaps a bit of money is tossed towards the family of the victim, and the black and Latino youth remain in peril. No, there can be no question of the wisdom of those who choose to take matters into their own hands.
STOP the Racist Attacks Against Minority Youth
Just days following the murder of Michael Brown, the LA police shot and killed another unarmed black man, Ezell Ford. The city of Oakland, California still remembers the police killing of Oscar Grant, whose murder was recorded on video as Officer Johannes Mehserle shot the unarmed Grant in the back while Grant was face-down on the ground and in handcuffs. The city of Santa Rosa, California still remembers the police killing of Andy Lopez, the 13-year old Latino youth who was shot seven times by Officer Erick Gelhaus; the District Attorney for the case, Jill Ravitch, did not even file charges against Gelhaus. And the nation watched as NYPD officers strangled the unarmed Eric Garner to death just one month ago.
But the events of Ferguson, Missouri, in which the black community has created mass resistance to the police tyranny for several nights, represents an important divergence from the standard refrain. The struggle introduces serious obstacles to those who wish to cover up the problem without offering any solution, and challenges the hypocrisy of those who call for peace without insisting that justice be dealt to the police perpetrators of violence.
To defend the lives and freedom of the black and Latino youth across the nation, it is necessary to build a new wave of mass struggle against police tyranny. For all those who wish to lead the way towards equality, join BAMN and take matters into your own hands.
Mobilize Detroit Against Racist Police Brutality
On Wednesday, August 13, a group of east side residents gathered to confront police after the police shot a man in the shoulder. The confrontation near Nottingham and Berkshire evoked the rising anger connected to the events of Ferguson, Missouri. While the police issued the standard line—claiming that they had been attacked by their suspect—the local witnesses tell a different story. Witnesses recounted that police attacked without warning, giving no opportunity for a peaceful interaction. Outraged by the police violence and inspired by the recent wave of resistance, people in the neighborhood gathered to the scene, and the police called in backups. Police pepper-sprayed and arrested a man during the confrontation.
The Detroit police have long demonstrated a callous disrespect for the basic rights and wellbeing of the city’s population. Among their most notorious acts of reckless violence, the fatal shooting of 7-year old Aiyana Jones in 2010 received national attention. But national attention alone is not sufficient to protect the lives of the people of Detroit against the regular misconduct of the police. As long as the police can carry on with impunity and face nothing more than the occasional exposé, they will continue their abuses.
Something more is needed, and the people of Ferguson have given some examples of what the “something more” could be. Detroit truly needs to embrace a renewal of energy and passion: so many years of poverty and racist inequality have stifled the hope, dignity and active spirit of the black and Latina/o population for too long. Let this moment be an opportunity to create a real Detroit revival, one that far transcends any of the corporate investments, but rather awakens the city to a new sense of ability, self-worth, and social power.
If you have witnessed or experienced police brutality and misconduct, contact BAMN immediately. Any information could be of use, and BAMN can provide legal counsel both for defense and to file suit against the police.
BAMN is a mass, democratic, integrated, national organization dedicated to building a new mass civil rights movement to defend affirmative action,integration, and the other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and to advance the struggle for equality in American society by any means necessary.