This past weekend at Everett & Jones restaurant in Jack London Square, there was a gathering of more than 10 mothers and members of their family who have all lost sons, daughters and husbands to police violence over the past 2 years…It was sobering, powerful and healing. It was also shocking to see so many families and hear story after story of how they lost loved ones to police terror. We heard from the mothers of Kenneth Harding, Derick Jones, Derrick Gaines, Rahiem Brown Jr, James Rivera and Oscar Grant..all gunned down by police.
The families came together for the second anniversary of Oscar Grant Verdict Day.. This was the day that a jury in Los Angeles, handed down their controversial decision about Johannes Mehserle, the killer cop who shot an unarmed handcuffed Oscar Grant in the back at point-blank range in front of hundreds of BART subway riders in Oakland, Ca on New Years morning 2009. Millions of people all over the world saw the shocking video and just knew that Mehersle would go to jail for a long time over his egregious actions.
On July 8th 2010, the LA jury came back with a verdict of involuntary manslaughter which left thousands of people who had gathered in downtown Oakland stunned. Adding insult to injury, the Grant verdict was overshadowed by another ‘controversial decision’ being made that day-What basketball team NBA star Lebron James would choose. Many in the national media gave their time and attention to James and the NBA while folks in Oakland and the Bay Area were left pondering the injustice that was served before them after 18 long months of organizing and jumping over legal hurdle after legal hurdle.
Many that day walked away thinking that while the verdict was unjust that hopefully police got the message and would change their ways. There would be more caution and concern exercised by police departments, not just in Oakland, but all over the country. This weekends gathering was proof that if anything the Grant verdict emboldened police to act with reckless abandon.
Instead of a decline in police violence we seen a marked increase. Since the Grant verdict day, we’ve seen an outrageous 680 thousand people stopped and frisked in New York with over 90% of those stops being Black and Brown men with less than 5% resulting in any weapons recovered. Stop and Frisk led to the shooting death of unarmed Ramarley Graham We’ve seen police shoot a motorist Hernendez L Dowdy in Memphis, Tn after someone falsely accused him of car jacking. We’ve seen police in Pasadena shoot 19-year-old Kendrec McDade falsely accused of stealing a computer. We seen an officer in Chicago shoot an innocent bystander named Rekia Boyd after he mistakenly thought the man standing next to her had a gun.. We seen police in White Plains New York shoot unarmed army vet, a senior citizen named Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.. who accidently set off his medical alert pendant. The officer at the center of the killing has a sordid history of brutality and racism. .. We seen Oakland police shoot high school senior Alan Bluford in the back and then lie about the self-inflicted wound the officer suffered. He shot himself and blamed Bluford. OPD has still refused to officially identify the officer.
We could go on for days citing story after story along with the fact that in many cities all over the United States police brutality incidents and police killing civilians are on the rise..For example, in Los Angeles which was supposed to have drastically reformed their police department, we seen a huge increase in police shootings. The department tried to blame it on citizens attacking them more. That assertion has since been disputed.Whats crazy about LA is that police pushed to get the city council to support a law that will keep officers records sealed from the public.
The bottom line is this.. Police are out of control and when it comes to Black people they are even more so..Today the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a Report on Extrajudicial Killings …Its pretty detailed and extensive.. It shows that since Jan 1 2012 , they have documented 110 Black people being killed. That amounts to one Black person being killed by police every 40 hours.. Since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin police and shot and killed over 80 Black people..This is outrageous and unacceptable..
Here’s the official press release and links to the report..
“Report on Extrajudicial Killings of 110 Black People since January 1st, 2012.”
Every 40 hours in the United States one Black woman, man or child is killed by police, and by a smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes. These are the startling findings of a new Report on Extrajudicial Killings of Black People released July 9, 2012.
What motivated the round-the-clock research for this new Report? More than two years ago, on New Year’s Eve, police killed two innocent men: Oscar Grant in Oakland, Adolph Grimes in New Orleans and shot Robert Tolan in a Houston suburb. Based on research started in 2009 after those murders, we learned there were a lot more killings that had not yet been uncovered. Then, after Trayvon’s murder, there was a huge public outcry and a few headlines about more killings. More grieving families and more calls for investigation. Further research became urgent and it demonstrated that Trayvon’s death was not an isolated tragedy. Between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012, at least 110 Black people were killed by police and their “deputies”.
“Any one of these people killed could have been my son or your husband or daughter”, says Arlene Eisen, member of the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee and co-author of the Report.
Rosa Clemente of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement elaborates, “Nowhere is a Black woman or man safe from racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance, and overriding suspicion. All Black people – regardless of education, class, occupation, behavior or dress – are subject to the whims of the police in this epidemic of state initiated or condoned violence.”
The Report, produced by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the “No More Trayvon Martins” campaign, is part of a larger effort. Kali Akuno, MXGM member and report co-author explained, “The Report shows how people of African descent remain subjected to institutionalized racist policies and procedures that arbitrarily stop, frisk, arrest, brutalize and even execute Black people. The killing will continue despite calls for investigations and lawsuits. We urge people to read this Report and join us in demanding that the Obama administration implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to stop these killings and other human rights violations being committed by the government”.
To read the report visit www.mxgm.org. For information on the petition visit http://www.ushrnetwork.org/content/webform/trayvon-martin-petition.
On Tuesday July 10th we will be doing a special broadcast on 94.1 fm KPFA at 8am PST.. www.kpfa.org This broadcast will include members of MXGM as well as family members who lost loved ones to police violence.. There will also be information on upcoming actions to take place around police violence. We will also be premiering a new song from Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X called Riot which addresses the police violence and this report..