[Pnews] Killer Cops Boost Body Count - The War on Black America

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Apr 9 11:24:30 EDT 2015

April 09, 2015

*Killer Cops Boost Body Count*

  The War on Black America


    “Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the
    monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South
    America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last,
    lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation,
    and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and
    shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival….”

    – Frederick Douglass

The United States produced a bumper crop of what Billie Holiday would 
call “Strange Fruit,” in March: at least 111 bodies, the majority of 
them unarmed men of color, shot down by police in the blood-fertilized 
streets of American cities. If one just counts the unarmed victims, 
that’s a rate of about two extrajudicial executions per day, roughly 
twice the “one every 28 hours” cited by the Malcolm X Grassroots 
Network’s 2012 report, Operation Ghetto Storm 

Yet, in the same month, President Obama declared Venezuela a threat to 
the national security 
of the United States, based largely on the death of 14 “dissidents” 
during a period of anti-government disturbances back in 2014. Many of 
the dead were pro-government activists killed by “dissidents.” By 
contrast, Philadelphia police have been shooting an average of one 
person a week 
for the last eight years, the overwhelming majority of them Black and 
brown, according to a new U.S. Justice Department report. As Frederick 
Douglass said, “for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America 
reigns without a rival.”

All across the country, the granting of impunity for the perpetrators of 
summary execution of Black men, women and children is “everyday 
practice” – now certified as “/best/ practice” by Attorney General Eric 
Holder, who claims court precedents preclude prosecution of killer cops 
except under the most extreme conditions. (See “It’s Not the Law – but 
Prosecutors – That Give Immunity to Killer Cops,” December 10, 2014 

Given the odds against prosecution, officer Michael T. Slager probably 
counts himself the unluckiest white man in South Carolina. A 
neighborhood resident’s phone camera captured Slager firing repeatedly 
into the back of 50 year-old Walter L. Scott, a Black North Charleston 
father of four with no criminal record who had been stopped for a minor 
traffic violation, tussled with the officer, and tried to run away.

Despite his claims to have been in fear for his life, Slager was charged 
with murder – a fate he would surely have avoided had he been under the 
jurisdiction of St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Last year, 
McCulloch’s team led grand jurors to believe that “the law” allowed 
police to use deadly force against unarmed persons fleeing a felony, as 
Ferguson officer Darren Wilson claimed was the case with Michael Brown. 
However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such shootings unconstitutional in 
as every public defender knows – and McCulloch surely knew, as well. The 
South Carolina cop also had the bad judgment to commit murder in clear 
of a private citizen’s well-held camera.

Last weekend in the town of Zion, Illinois, about 30 miles north of 
Chicago, cops killed 17-year-old Justus Howell with two shots to the 
while he was running away, according to the coroner’s office. Initially, 
the police reported no weapon on his body, but later the cops claimed 
the teenager had stolen a gun from another man minutes earlier, leading 
them to give chase. In time, the cops produced a gun,
which they will connect to the other Black man, who was held on $15,000 
bail, and thereby seek to justify the killing of the unarmed, fleeing 
teenager Justus Howell.

Cleveland cop Michael Brelo distinguished himself as the most murderous 
member of a mob of 104 cops on a chase-and-shoot spree in Cleveland, 
Ohio, back in November, 2012. Mistaking a car engine backfire for a 
gunshot, the crazy cop caravan careened through Cleveland at speeds 
reaching 100 miles an hour, cornering Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa 
Williams, 30, in a school parking lot. Russell and Williams, unarmed, 
died in a hail of 137 bullets 
– 49 of them fired by Officer Brelo, now on trial for voluntary 
manslaughter. Brelo and his partner fired 15 bullets through their own 
windshield at the Black victims’ car. Then, at a point when, according 
to the prosecutor, no cop’s life was in danger (except from other 
officers), Brelo jumped on the hood of the victims’ car and fired 15 
more shots at the mortally wounded man and woman. Today, the cop says he 
has no recollection of the entire episode.

In December, the U.S. Justice Department concluded that Cleveland cops 
routinely use excessive force and are unaccountable 
to the public. The month before, in November, a city cop killed 12 
year-old Tamir Rice as he played with a toy gun at a park. The officer 
shot the child twice after observing him for a total of two seconds.

*“*Officer Brelo’s blank memory on the shootings of Timothy Russell and 
Malissa Williams, and officer Timothy Loehmann’s blink-of-an-eye 
deliberations on terminating Tamir Rice, point up the utter lack of 
value U.S. society places on Black lives. The high-profile killings this 
week, the obscene death toll last month, the unreported and delayed 
deaths, are a constant in the bloody history of America. When President 
Obama insists that racism is not, and has never been, “endemic” to this 
country, he is simply identifying himself as an active participant in 
the ongoing slaughter.

The police, as guardians of the State, believe they are simply doing 
their jobs. They must be right, since they continue to receive praise, 
protection and overwhelming white support for carrying out their mission 
as an army of occupation in Black America. The advent of the Internet 
and a heightened Black community awareness of police depredations, 
especially since the murder of Trayvon Martin, in February of 2012, has 
created the perception among many African Americans that police violence 
has dramatically increased in recent years. However, history and 
irrefutable statistics tell us that the “militarization” of the police 
and the criminalization of Black people as a group are fundamental 
aspects of a national mission begun in earnest in the late Sixties. 
Michelle Alexander calls it the “New Jim Crow.” Some of us at BAR prefer 
the term Mass Black Incarceration State, to describe the superstructure 
of Black control that has been erected over the past 45 years, a 
machinery that has so relentlessly criminalized the Black community that 
one out of every eight prison inmates on Earth is an African American. 
Any genuine movement for criminal justice “reform” must, therefore, aim 
to abolish the Mass Black Incarceration State, root and branch, by 
removing the “occupation” army from Black areas and replacing it with a 
force of Black people’s own choosing.

The U.S government set in motion the mass Black incarceration regime in 
the late Sixties for the purpose of counter-insurgency. The structures 
of Black containment, control and incarceration are now central to the 
workings of criminal justice in the United States – to the misfortune of 
lots of white youth who get sucked into the system as unintended 
“collateral damage.” The logic of the project dictates that those who 
attempt to dismantle the Black counter-insurgency regime will be treated 
as insurgents, themselves – a central fact for the Black Lives Matter 
movement to grapple with.

The wave of state violence that smashed the Black Panther Party when it 
challenged the police “army of occupation” in the late Sixties, never 
subsided, but was instead hard-wired into the criminal justice system, 
nationwide. That’s why the system’s operatives are still trying to kill 
Mumia Abu Jamal <http://www.freemumia.com/>, a former Black Panther and 
probably the world’s best known political prisoner. That’s why so many 
other Party comrades are still behind bars – because they are symbols 
and icons of insurgency, and U.S. police and prison structures have been 
on a counter-insurgency mission for nearly half a century. And, that’s 
why the Black Is Back Coalition will hold a national conference on Black 
Community Control of Police <http://www.blackisbackcoalition.org/>, in 
St. Louis, April 18 and 19 – because there will be no justice and no 
peace until the occupying army is gone from our streets.

Black people must decide how that can be accomplished – by any means 

*/Glen Ford /*/edits the Black Agenda Report, where this essay 
originally appeared. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an 
Anthology of American Violence 
<http://store.counterpunch.org/product/killing-trayvons/>. He can be 
contacted at //Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com 
<mailto:Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com>./

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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