Black Grand Jury to Judge Cop that Killed Michael Brown
A Black People’s Grand Jury will convene in St. Louis, January 3 and 4, in response to a mostly white grand jury’s failure to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. “Already, there is so much evidence that the grand jury process was manipulated by the prosecutor,” said Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Network. “We’ll see whether or not Africans will come to the same conclusion, with more or less the same evidence.” The Black People’s Grand Jury will call additional witnesses, including Black police officers from the region. “It’s a tool that can be used by African people in any city in this country to deconstruct the colonial relationship that we have with white power,” said Yeshitela.
Movement Will Resist Pressures to Retreat
The anti-police violence movement will not waver, despite calls from politicians to “tamp down” on supposedly “divisive rhetoric” out of “respect” for the two New York City cops killed by a lone Black gunman. “The fact that they seem to be more concerned with the lives of police officers than with the lives of young Black people is going to create a greater crisis of legitimacy, not just for the police, but for the American government and its local representatives around the country,” said Dr. Johanna Fernandez, professor of history and African American Studies at Baruch College. Twenty-five thousand police staged a show of force at one of the officer’s funeral. Protests have continued, however, “a sign that the movement is not going to easily disappear into the night,” said Fernandez.
Mumia: “Respect for Whom?”
The nation’s best known political prisoner, Mumia Abu Jamal, rejects calls to suspend demonstrations “out of respect” for police. “Who respects whom?” he asked. “When cops killed Mike Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, who showed respect for them?” Concerning Eric Garner’s death at police hands, in New York, Abu Jamal said: “Choking a man to death for suspicion of selling a cigarette – real respectful, huh?”
Rogue Cops are Terrorists
Matthew Fogg, a former deputy U.S. Marshal, whistleblower, and activist with Hands Up Coalition DC, said the so-called War on Drugs “changed the paradigm” of police behavior, giving officers a larger “discretionary window” to use deadly force. “A rogue cop is the same as a terrorist,” said Fogg, founder of the Congress Against Racism and Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE). “He has the training, the skills and the means to hurt people and to kill folks.”
Cop-Watch in Ferguson Distributes Cameras
The Canfield Watchmen, named for the apartment complex near the street where Michael Brown was killed, has raised thousands of dollars to equip residents with 210 body-cameras and to conduct “know your rights” classes. But the group’s first task was to prevent the police from destroying a makeshift memorial to Brown. “The Canfield Watchmen’s primary goal was to ensure that the memorial was going to be here, and that the people that come down here to visit wouldn’t have to worry about anybody attacking them,” said co-founder David Whitt.
It’s Not Victims’ Families Job to Call for Non-Violence
Dontre Hamilton was shot 14 times, last April, by a white Milwaukee cop who claimed the young Black man was trying to hit him with his own police baton. “This is a Beast, and only the people can take down the Beast,” said Hamilton’s brother, Nate. “So, we’re activating the power of the people.” The families of police victims are not obliged to be the voice of reason, said Hamilton. “My family doesn’t have to be that voice of reason, to come out and say, ‘No violence.’ The mayor has to be that voice of reason. The police chief has to be that voice of reason. The district attorney has to be that voice of reason – not my family, not any family that has to go through injustice.”
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