Tag Archives: police violence
Question: When is shooting a 12-year-old child reasonable?
Answer: When the child is Black and the shooter is a police officer.
Welcome to America, where #BlackLivesMatter is a trending hashtag, but police impunity is a lethal reality of Black life.
There’s an old saying that the definition of a consultant is “someone who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is.” That is true when it comes to police experts as well. Cops and prosecutors come from the same culture. So it surprises no one that the experts hired by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty to investigate the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice are reading the time from the watch supplied by law enforcement and have come to the same conclusions as the county police and (let’s be honest) McGinty himself: that the shooting was “reasonable.”
What to Do When Officer Frankenstein Just Can’t Stop Killing Us
[The major media, led by CNN, works to turn attention away from the epoch of police killing blacks, and focus instead on keeping protesters non-violent in their appeals to the system. This article, from the left-liberal The Nation, considers the effectiveness of non-violence vs the effectiveness of breaking glass, in winning attention and reforms from the system. The article does not address the more substantial issue, of breaking from the system and building permanent community-based collective self-defense networks, which is a course many are beginning to consider. — Frontlines ed.]
On the Baltimore Uprising: Toward a New “Broken Windows” Theory
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
Whenever there is an uprising in an American city, as we’ve seen in Baltimore over the past few days in response to the police-involved death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, there always emerges a chorus of elected officials, pundits, and other public figures that forcefully condemn “violent protests.” They offer their unconditional support for “legitimate” or “peaceful” protests, but describe those who break windows and set fires as thugs, criminals, or animals. And eventually someone invokes the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, reminding us that non-violence brought down Jim Crow segregation and won voting rights.
There’s something that needs to be cleared up: the Civil Rights movement was not successful because the quiet dignity of non-violent protests appealed to the morality of the white public. Non-violent direct action, a staple employed by many organizations during the Civil Rights movement, was and is a much more sophisticated tactic. Organizers found success when non-violent protests were able to provoke white violence, either by ordinary citizens or police, and images of that brutality were transmitted across the country and the rest of the world. The pictures of bloodied bodies standing in non-violent defiance of the law horrified people at home and proved embarrassing for the country in a global context.
So anyone who calls for protestors to remain “peaceful,” like the Civil Rights activists of old, must answer this question: what actions should be taken when America refuses to be ashamed? Images of black death are proliferating beyond our capacity to tell each story, yet there remains no tipping point in sight—no moment when white people in America will say, “Enough.” And no amount of international outrage diminishes the US’s reputation to the point of challenging its status as a hegemonic superpower.
What change will a “peaceful” protest spark if a “peaceful” protest is so easy to ignore?
Ferguson: Thug Illusion in a Media Revolution
[In the US in recent years, the prominence of the repressive arm of the state has grown to a larger scope than ever before. The occupation of Black and Brown communities, migrant communities, of increasingly and permanently vulnerable communities of occasional and unstable work, of displaced and homeless communities, youth castaways from schools and jobs, from broken families and internally abusive communities, have all suffered from repeated rounds of criminalization, police violence and mass incarceration. Such attacks have been endorsed, promoted and justified in daily hysterical media accounts, in political and religious and cultural campaigns for ever-enlarging police forces, for overt and covert racist profiling, for militarization of police, and for multiplying the surveillance and snitch networks. Opposition to these measures has also grown, and protest movements have also become major targets for political suppression and for beatings, arrests, and killings by cops, all reaching epidemic levels.
Not only does this repression hit at the increasingly re-proletarianized sections of the so-called “middle class” but many from the most oppressed peoples have joined the new and recurrent protest movements, at great personal risk. Those who have histories of arrests and imprisonment and participation in many illegal and semi-legal pursuits have along with other sectors become politicized and have joined together to change the system. In a number of cities, gang members have pointedly and significantly stood together, in de facto truces with each other, to defend their communities from attack – a pattern rarely, if ever, reported. If anything, the twisted reports which occur in the media, are always of the horrifying and frightening “thuggishness” of protest movements. This is a central ingredient of the media assault on all militant protest movements which now terms such protests as “terrorist.”
The following article from revolution-news.com, describes these features as they have been seen in Ferguson, Missouri, and in the protest movements that have grown nationwide in recent months. A largely untold story, we appreciate the courage of revolution-news in bringing it to light. — Frontlines ed.]
2/16/2015, Revolution News
“The revolution won’t be televised ya’ll know that.
And if it does get televised they gonna make it look as bad as possible.” – Shoota
The nationwide protests after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson have brought much needed attention to issues of institutional racism, police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men across the US. The #BlackLivesMatter protests have also brought people together and created unity in black communities throughout the country.
Mainstream media (MSM) broadcast images from Ferguson of stores being looted and buildings up in flames. The images shown in MSM succeeded in creating a massive media spectacle. MSM combined with some elements in social media also managed to push false narratives into the public discourse regarding who exactly was in the Ferguson streets and what they were doing there. The narrative that “thugs” were causing destruction and mayhem in Ferguson was amplified in MSM in attempts to smear and discredit the #BlackLivesMatter protests. But who are these so-called “thugs” running amok in Missouri? Continue reading
The Day That Malcolm Won Harlem Over…
1957 Johnson X Hinton Incident
There are many versions of the story of Johnson Hinton. Even his name is contested; in some accounts he is called Hinton Johnson and in others he is Johnson Hinton. There are a few details of the story, however, that seem to be settled history.
In April 1957, Johnson Hinton came upon a couple of police officers who were clubbing a man named Reese V. Poe on the corner of 125th street and 7th Avenue in Harlem. Hinton called out to the officers: “You’re not in Alabama – this is New York! ” The police then turned their nightsticks on Hinton clubbing him and cracking his skull. The officers subsequently handcuffed Hinton and took him to the 28th precinct stationhouse. By the time the evening arrived, there were over 2,000 people surrounding the precinct demanding that Hinton be provided with adequate medical attention.
Johnson X Hinton, it turns out, was a black Muslim who belonged to Mosque Number Seven, the largest mosque in the country – led by a 31 year old preacher named Malcolm X.
At this point, the accounts begin to diverge. In some recollections, a woman who had observed the altercation ran over to the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) restaurant to report the news. Several phone calls later, Malcolm X, accompanied by a small group of Muslims, was at the precinct insisting to see Johnson X. At first they were denied by police but as the crowd outside grew to hundreds of people, they were finally allowed to see Johnson X who was in great pain and distress. The police allowed Johnson X to be transported by ambulance for treatment at Harlem Hospital. Remarkably, once he was treated, the hospital released Johnson X back to the police. By the time Johnson was back in police custody, the crowd outside of the 28th precinct had swelled to over 4,000 people.
When Malcom X returned to the precinct from Harlem Hospital, it was past midnight. He tried to post bail for Johnson X, but police refused to release him and said that he had to remain incarcerated overnight until he could appear in court the next day. By 2:30 am, Malcolm decided that negotiations for Johnson’s release were at a stalemate. With thousands still assembled outside the police precinct, Malcolm X gave a hand signal to his lieutenants in the Fruit of Islam (FOI) and within seconds the crowd silently began to disperse. The next morning, Hinton was dumped in front of NYC’s felony courthouse after a bail of $2,500 was paid by the Nation of Islam. He was promptly picked up and driven to Syndenham Hospital in Harlem to be treated for his injuries.
James Hicks, the managing editor of the New York Amsterdam News, offered his own account of the episode. He reached out to Malcolm X, asking him to act as a mediator between the police and community members. Peter Goldman, in his book “The Death and Life of Malcolm X,” remembers Hicks telling the story this way:
“I was chairman of the 28th Precinct Community Council at the time, and at two in the morning I got a call from the 28th to come over to my office. I went there and I met Inspector McGowen, Deputy Commissioner Walter Arm and Deputy Inspector Robert J. Mangum, who’s black. McGowen said, ‘I had a normal arrest, he was resisting, he got beat up and he’s over there in the 28th Precinct now.” He said, “They’ve got two thousand people out there,’ He said, ‘You know Malcolm X? I said, ‘Yeah, I know him’ – we were pretty good friends by that time. Got to be lunch buddies at the Chock Full O’ Nuts at 125th and Seventh. McGowen said, ‘You think you can get him up here?’ I said, ‘Yeah, give me a little time. Where is he?’ He said, ‘Over at the 28th.’
“So I got over, and there he is with his people – with them and the bystanders they must have had 2,600 people lining the sidewalks between Seventh and Eighth avenues on 123rd Street. I said, ‘Hey, Malcolm, Jesus. What’s going on? He told me one of their people was inside, he’d been beaten and needed medical attention. He said, “We’re going to stay right here, Brother Hicks.’ I asked him if he’d come back to my office and talk to the police people. He said, “If you think anything can be accomplished, I’ll go. But only on your word.’ So we went back and walked up to my office at the Amsterdam News – it was on the fourth floor.
“When we got there, Walter Arm started talking. He was in charge of public relations: he’d been a police reporter, and a good one, but he was white. He said, ‘My presence here, and Inspector McGowen’s, and Deputy Inspector Mangum’s, indicates how much concern the police department has for this situation. However, I’d like to say that the police of the city of New York can handle any situation that arises in Harlem, and we’re not here to ask anybody’s help.’
“Well, Malcolm sat there and listened, and then he got up and put on that camel’s hair coat of his – he’d been a hustler and he always dressed sharp – and he told them, “There’s nothing more to be said,’ Just like that. And suddenly he was striding out the door of my office. I can still hear his steps – clump-clump-clump – going into that gloomy city room. All the lights were out; my office was in the back at the end of the corridor, and he walked out into the darkness. Someone said, ‘Where’s he going?’ And I said, ‘He’s leaving.’
“I followed him out. I said, ‘Wait a minute, Mr. X.’ He stopped out in the darkness there. He said, ‘Brother Hicks, I’m only here ‘cause you said something could be accomplished.’ He said, ‘They don’t need me. They say they can handle it. Well, let them handle it.’
“I said, ‘Wait a minute.’
“I went back to the room. Mangum said, ‘Tell him there must be some level we can get together on if he’ll only come back.’ I went back and told it to Malcolm, and he came back. He said, ‘I only came back because I respect Brother Hicks.’ And I said, ‘Have a seat.’
“This time, Arm shut up. Malcolm said, “I have no respect for you’ – Arm – ‘or the police department.’ He may have said something to Mangum, too. [What he told Mangum, according to a police source, was: “I don’t talk with white man’s niggers.” Mangum, this source said, was “very hurt.”] Malcolm said, “One of our brothers has been beaten, and all we are asking is that we be allowed to go in there and see him and determine if he is in need of hospitalization. The evidence we have now is that he should be in the hospital. If we find that he doesn’t need hospitalization, you can go on with your case. If he does, we want him hospitalized.’ So Mangum and Arm agreed. They hadn’t even seen the man themselves. They said, ‘All right, let’s take a look. If he does need hospitalization, we’ll give it to him. Would that be satisfactory to you?’ Malcolm said yes. They said, ‘Will you then get your people out of the block?’ Malcolm said, ‘this is all we asked for and this is all we want.’
“In effect, the police were saying, ‘We can’t handle it without you.’ Nobody got down on his knees. But they bowed.
“So, we walked the three blocks back to the station, and Malcolm’s people were still there. The men were standing in the gutter with their arms folded. Immobile. The women were on the sidewalk behind them with white kerchiefs on their heads. And nobody said a word. The light in the stationhouse was the only light in the block. I remember thinking, ‘Where did they all come from? – a movement like that growing up right under your nose. When we got to the station, there was a black sergeant on the door. I heard him saying, “Goddamn Muslims – who the hell are they anyway? Turn me loose with this club and I’ll clear this block.’ John X, who was with Malcolm, turned and just stared at him, and I said to McGowen, ‘You better get that sergeant off the door.’
“We went on in and saw the man, and they had torn his head off – [sic]. One look and McGowen said, “Get him to the hospital.” He said, ‘Mr. X, he’s going to be sent to Harlem Hospital – is that all right? Malcolm said, ‘That’s all we asked.’ McGowen said, ‘Would you take the responsibility of sending your people home? Malcolm said, “I’ll do that.’
“And then, in that dim light, Malcolm stood up and waved his hand, and all those people just disappeared. Disappeared. One of the police people said to me, ‘Did you see what I just saw?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, “This is too much power for one man to have.’ He meant one black man. I’ll never forget that.”
Johnson X survived his assault but had to have multiple brain surgeries and live with a metal plate in his head. Johnson X filed a lawsuit against the NYPD. An all-white jury awarded $70,000 to him; this was (at the time) the largest police brutality settlement in New York City.
In his book “The Savage City,” T. J. English writes of the Johnson X incident: “It was the beginning of a new kind of relationship between blacks and the police in the city of New York.” Malcolm X had stood up to the NYPD and won. No one in Harlem would soon forget that.
India: “…1.8 million victims of police torture and violence every year…”
India’s record on custodial torture dismal
Anahita Mukherji | The Times of India | June 28, 2012
NEW DELHI: The Torture Convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1984 (resolution 39/46) and it came into force on 26 June 1987 after being ratified by 20 nations. The Torture Convention completed 25 years of its presence earlier this week and it’s an opportune moment for India to introspect on its dismal track record of custodial torture.
According to a recent report on human rights in India, a study of 47 districts over a period of more than two years shows that on an average 1.8 million people are victims of police torture and violence in India every year . The release of the report, prepared by the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR), a coalition of human rights bodies, coincided with India’s Universal Periodic Review on human rights at the United Nations.
The report cites data released by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which reported an average of 43 deaths in police or prison custody every day in the decade 2001 to 2010. “These figures represent only a fraction of the actual number of deaths in custody as they reflect only the cases registered before the NHRC,” says the WGHR report.
The report points to the widespread and routine use of torture in conflict areas, leading to both physical and mental disabilities as well as impotence. “Common methods of torture in Kashmir and the North-East include assault, placement of an iron rod on the legs on which many people sit, placement of a burning stove between the legs and administration of electric shocks to the genitals,” adds the report. Continue reading
The police violence that many have always known, and others now discover
Guardian, UK: “There is a context to London’s riots that can’t be ignored”
Those condemning the events in north London and elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture
by Nina Power, guardian.co.uk, Monday 8 August 2011
Since the coalition came to power just over a year ago, the country has seen multiple student protests, occupations of dozens of universities, several strikes, a half-a-million-strong trade union march and now unrest on the streets of the capital (preceded by clashes with Bristol police in Stokes Croft earlier in the year). Each of these events was sparked by a different cause, yet all take place against a backdrop of brutal cuts and enforced austerity measures. The government knows very well that it is taking a gamble, and that its policies run the risk of sparking mass unrest on a scale we haven’t seen since the early 1980s. With people taking to the streets of Tottenham, Edmonton, Brixton and elsewhere over the past few nights, we could be about to see the government enter a sustained and serious losing streak. Continue reading
Kashmir police arrested in deadly misconduct cases
(AFP) – 8/7/11
SRINAGAR, India — Three policemen and an army officer have been arrested in Indian Kashmir as part of separate investigations into the death of a man in custody and an allegedly faked gunbattle, officials said Monday.
Last month, Nazim Rashid, a 28-year-old shopkeeper, died after being detained by counter-insurgency police in the northern town of Sopore in connection with an unsolved murder.
The cause of his death was not disclosed, but it resulted in a one-day strike across the Himalayan state and promises from chief minister Omar Abdullah of “swift and exemplary action”.
“Two policemen have been arrested and a few others are under the scanner,” a police officer told AFP on Monday on condition of anonymity, adding that the arrests were made at the weekend. Continue reading
5 NOPD officers guilty in post-Katrina Danziger Bridge shootings, cover-up
[It took six years of mass struggle, keeping the spotlight of the world on New Orleans and Katrina, and the determined and unstoppable push of the victims families, to force this verdict out of a system that was blocking justice at every turn. — Frontlines ed.]
Friday, August 05, 2011
By Times-Picayune Staff — A jury this morning convicted all five New Orleans police officers accused in the Danziger Bridge shootings, which took place amid the chaos after Hurricane Katrina and claimed the lives of two civilians, and a cover-up of startling scope that lasted almost five years.
The verdicts were a huge victory for federal prosecutors, who won on virtually every point, save for their contention that the shootings amounted to murder. The jury rejected that notion, finding that the officers violated the victims’ civil rights, but that their actions did not constitute murder.
Sentencing for the five officers, all of them likely facing lengthy prison terms, has been set for Dec. 14 before U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt.
Four of the five officers — Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso — have been in custody since their arraignment.
The fifth, retired Sgt. Arthur “Archie” Kaufman, who was not involved in the shootings but headed the police investigation into them, remains free on bail.
Story by Laura Maggi and Brendan McCarthy, Staff writers
In remarks on the courthouse steps shortly after the verdicts were rendered, lead prosecutor Barbara “Bobbi” Bernstein said she was “in awe” of the relatives of the bridge shooting victims. Without their persistence, she said, the truth about the incident would never come to light. Continue reading
Seven Black men killed by Miami Police–Where can Justice be found?
Miami mayor seeks federal probe of police
MIAMI, Aug. 4 (UPI) — Miami’s mayor asked the U.S. Justice Department to probe the city police department after seven deadly police shootings of black men rocked Miami’s inner city.
“In light of the growing concern in the community regarding police practices and police accountability, I have concluded that an external investigation by [the Justice Department] would provide the resources, expertise and independence to begin to transform the department and assuage police-community tensions,” Mayor Tomas Regalado wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday.
Regalado — who has engaged in a public battle with Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito for more than a year — wrote he was concerned not only about the “pattern” of shootings but also about the “apparent lack of response” to questions from relatives and the community, The Miami Herald reported.
All but one of the shooting deaths remain under investigation by the state attorney’s office and police. Both agencies refuse to discuss open investigations.
Exposito told the Herald he “welcomed any federal probe into our police department.”
He said the same thing in February in a letter to the Herald after the last of the shootings after earlier demands for a Justice Department review. Continue reading
In Miami, 12 officers shoot Haitian man over 100 times (5/30/11)
Miami Beach Memorial Day Shooting May 30th 2011, cellphone video
According to CNN, Narces Benoit filmed the officers shooting at Raymond Hérissé, 22, more than 100 times, for driving recklessly. After the shooting an officer saw Benoit recording the incident, chased him down, handcuffed him, piled him and his girlfriend, Ericka Davis, into the back of a police car, smashed the phone and tossed it back to him. Benoit then slipped the memory card out of the phone and into his mouth.
In Miami, 12 officers shoot Haitian man over 100 times
August 5, 2011
by Jean-Guy Allard
Not one word has yet been published by the international press agencies, which are so prone to broadcasting the minor incidents that happen in countries who confront the American imperial power, about the execution in Miami of a 22-year-old-Haitian man by 12 police officers who fired on him 100 times while he was unarmed in his car.
In Miami itself, the local press – characterized by its blind cooperation with calls from law enforcement – has diverted public attention with a controversy over a cellphone, whose owner, Narces Benoit, was filming the savage police intervention that ended with the death of young Raymond Hérissé.
Apparently the murder of this son of a humble Haitian immigrant doesn’t interest anyone, including those holders of power in this city with their persistent traits of racial hate and segregation. According to YouTube, however, Narces Benoit’s video has been viewed 764,125 times.
Criticized for confiscating and destroying cameras and mobile phones after killing Hérissé during the hip-hop festival, Urban Beach Week, the municipal authorities of Miami Beach questioned Benoit’s testimony that said a police officer had aimed a gun at his head, handcuffed him and destroyed his mobile phone by kicking it.
The police detained the witness, an African American, not because he was filming, they said, but because he was “very similar” to the description of the suspect that was supposedly seen fleeing. This is a version of the story whose racist tones don’t escape anyone. Continue reading
Surge in police shootings seen in Chicago
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
People’s Hearing: “Charge the SFPD with Murder of Kenneth Harding and Serial Murders in the Black Community!”
People’s Tribunal on Racism and Police Violence
- Charge the SFPD with Murder of Kenneth Harding and Serial Murders in the Black Community!
- Unite to Create an Independent Investigation to Indict the Murderers!
- Justice for Kenneth Harding! Stop the Cover-up!
- Stop Pushing Black People out of San Francisco! NO to “Ethnic Cleansing”!
On Saturday, July 16, 2011, the SFPD killed Kenneth Harding, a 19 year-old Black man, in the Bayview area of San Francisco. Kenneth had just stepped off of a Muni-Metro train and onto the platform, where police were checking people for proof of fare payment.
Called “checkpoints,” these are common ways of criminalizing poor people, especially in neighborhoods undergoing gentrification and resettlement. Checkpoints have multiple purposes. They are used to harass and trap people, violating the human right to freedom of movement. They also help to facilitate the displacement of communities of color and families who come from the Bayview area and have lived there for generations. Checkpoints allow the police to monitor community members’ movements, putting people of color in great fear and ultimately forcing them to relocate from their homes and neighborhoods to ensure their own safety. This paves the way for the area to be redeveloped by major corporations and resettled by whites. In effect, checkpoints are a necessary tool of apartheid and genocide, historically used both in the United States and throughout the world.
The case of Kenneth Harding is a perfect example. When the police approached Kenneth, he ran for his life and they fired at him repeatedly. He died at the hands of the police and another life was lost in their ongoing campaign of genocide against the Black Nation. This terror campaign is happening not only locally and not only to African Americans, but it is happening statewide and nationally, to people of color and poor people overall. Continue reading
Puerto Rico: Violence Against Student Strike Escalates With Police Brutality and Rubber Bullets
Maritza Stanchich, Ph.D.,Associate Professor of English, University of Puerto Rico
More than 150 students practicing civil disobedience have been arrested in Puerto Rico and riot police on Thursday escalated violent repression of a university strike with brutal arrests and rubber bullets during a sit-in demonstration at the Capitol. As President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for governmental prudence during a historic revolt in Egypt, the most basic free speech rights are under attack with apparent impunity in this U.S. territory of about four million U.S. citizens still grappling with a century-old colonial relationship with the United States.
Meanwhile, the Reaganite Republican and pro Statehood Governor, Luis Fortuño, was again traveling on Friday, with a trip to California sponsored by The Heritage Foundation, though he denied attending a controversial event nearby with the billionaire Koch brothers behind the Tea Party movement. Fortuño’s bold austerity measures and ruthlessness have made him a Republican Party darling, as strategists scramble for Latino leaders they can promote while rejecting immigration reform and with Tea Party followers spewing hate speech against Latino immigrants. Continue reading