The chilling, uninterrupted murderous campaign against Black Americans by the nation’s police departments has once again rocked the conscience of America.
In the past 72 hours, there have been three high-profile police murders. In a virtual repeat of the explosive summer of 2014—when Eric Garner and Michael Brown were murdered by the police—thousands of Black Lives Matter activists converged on the streets of Manhattan last night to once again denounce and stand up to police brutality.
In the early hours of July 6, Alton Sterling was tasered and tackled by two Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers as he was selling DVDs outside of a convenience store. After pinning Sterling down on his back and immobilizing him, officers Howie Lake II and Blane Salamoni shot Sterling multiple times at close range, killing him. Bystanders recorded the events as they unfolded.
The night of July 6, school worker, Philando Castile, and his family were pulled over by the police in St. Paul, Minnesota because a taillight was out. When Castile was instructed by the police to reach for his identification, he was shot four times in his car after he announced to the officer that he was in legal possession of a firearm. As he laid bleeding to death, the officer continued to point his gun at him. Castile’s fiancé, Diamond Reynolds and her 4-year old daughter who were in the car witnessed the unfolding tragedy; Reynolds courageously live streamed the terror on Facebook. The police then detained them and did not release them until 5 am the next day. The police escalation of the events was so unnecessary that it even prompted the governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton to admonish the murderous police actions, saying “no one should be killed in their car for having a broken taillight.”
On July 4, in East New York Brooklyn, Delrawn Small was shot and murdered in front of his wife and children by off-duty, NYPD officer Wayne Smalls after a traffic altercation. According to witness Lloyd Banks, this is how the events unfolded, “ Delrawn and the cops car almost hit each other. And Delrawn got out of the car and the cop just jumped out and started screaming. He just shot him right there on the street. Delrawn was unarmed. His wife and kids were still in the car. They saw everything.”
According to the The Guardian, which tracks homicides by police, there have been at least 569 police killings this year as of July 6. In 2015, at least 1,146 people were killed by the police, disproportionately unarmed Black and [email protected] men and woman. On average, more than three people are killed by police in the United States every day!
These appalling statistics demonstrate the endemic nature of police violence against Black, Brown and poor white communities. This latest police terror is part of a wider epidemic of unjustified public executions of Black people.
The youth seize the time
Referring to the brutality and terror the Black nation confronted at the hands of the police, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once ironically noted : ““Our best organizers in the South are the police themselves.” 50 years later, a generation of organizers is compelled a reign of police terror that is all too similar.
Last night, many youth, marching for the first time in their lives or recently coming into political life, surged to the front of the mass march and set a tempo the police could not keep up with.
Liberation News spoke with a sampling of young multinational organizers who, incensed by the latest terror, knew there was only one place to be in New York City last night— in the streets.
A young Indigenous activist, Abby Cobain exclaimed, “Every 28 hours a Black man is dying and this should not be taken lightly.”
Kashera Booker, a young African American woman decried: “I’m here marching because any other of those men being killed can be my father or brother. As a Black woman this is something affecting my community directly and the end of the day we all have to come together for a change.”
Sina M., a young Arab man who was reluctant to share his full name, pledged: “I’m here to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement for justice. This is a global movement. There’s a rise in police oppression everywhere from Egypt, to Syria, to Iraq all the way to Mexico and right here in our homes in NY. It’s our sworn duty to stand up and fight for justice.”
A wide spectrum of organizations gave the march structure and unity, namely NYC Shut It Down, The Justice League, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Ayotzinapa NY, Semillas Collective/Oaxaca Solidarity, and Cop Watch NY, among others.
The struggle ahead
Will the police murderers again be let off without consequence, like Eric Garner, Freddy Gray and Michael Brown’s killers?
The people’s movement will be decisive in how the system’s courts handle the latest round of police murders.
Keep the pressure on!
Out from behind social media and into the streets!
Jail killer cops!
Fight for a new system!