Tag Archive: anti-police

A Statement from a Comrade and Baltimore Native About the Uprising There


From SIC

Im heading home in two days.

There is something very important happening not only in Baltimore, but across black America. As of now there have been no reported deaths at the hands of protesters in a city where 250 people are killed a year, nearly all of those homicide victims being black. In spite of the fires and the looting, the young people of Baltimore are still showing a greater restraint in their conflicts with police and store-owners than they have shown in their conflicts amongst each other. I say this because for years it has been my family too that has done some of the killing and much of the dying.

Why is it that the current uprising has, in spite of its violence, not tilted toward a shooting war between whites and blacks, cops and kids, landlords and tenants, bosses and workers, given the fact that the shooting war between young black men across the region is invariant? Because young black people still value the lives of their structural enemies more than they value their own. The engineering of what is possibly the most efficient self-cannibalizing social organism in history – the nightly shootouts, the stabbings, the overdoses – is a project that has been centuries in the making.

The black youth of Baltimore have been conditioned to view themselves as the problem. Every socio-economic issue that arises is somehow the result of their behavior. They hear this not only from the white cops, the filipina teachers, the korean liquor store owners, but also from too many of the blacks who attended Coppin or Morgan and secured decent jobs and decided that the reason the police still profile them, or their home values dont rise, or they didnt get that pay raise, is because “the niggas” moved out the county, or they are still robbing each other, or they make “the rest of us” look bad. (more…)

Nonviolence as Compliance


Officials calling for calm can offer no rational justification for Gray’s death, and so they appeal for order.

From The Atlantic/ By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Rioting broke out on Monday in Baltimore—an angry response to the death of Freddie Gray, a death my native city seems powerless to explain. Gray did not die mysteriously in some back alley but in the custody of the city’s publicly appointed guardians of order. And yet the mayor of that city and the commissioner of that city’s police still have no idea what happened. I suspect this is not because the mayor and police commissioner are bad people, but because the state of Maryland prioritizes the protection of police officers charged with abuse over the citizens who fall under its purview.

The citizens who live in West Baltimore, where the rioting began, intuitively understand this. I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today’s riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution. People write these feelings off as wholly irrational at their own peril, or their own leisure. The case against the Baltimore police, and the society that superintends them, is easily made:

Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson ….

And in almost every case, prosecutors or judges dismissed the charges against the victims—if charges were filed at all. In an incident that drew headlines recently, charges against a South Baltimore man were dropped after a video showed an officer repeatedly punching him—a beating that led the police commissioner to say he was “shocked.”


We must disband the police: Body cameras aren’t enough — only radical change will stop cops who kill


The courts, the media, and the political system are designed to back killer cops. Only radical change will work


After Michael Slager gunned down Walter Scott in a North Charleston park, a deafening chorus of voices has emerged, insisting that “the system worked.” And they are right. The system did work, just not in the way that they mean.

The system didn’t only begin to work when the video of the shooting emerged days later: it went into motion immediately. The system began to work when Slager cuffed a dying man and then ran (ran!) back to grab his alibi, the Taser he would then plant near Scott’s failing body (as some have noticed, Slager did so in an eminently practiced way).

The machinery continued to whirr smoothly as the second officer on the scene—Clarence Habersham, who is Black—ignored the planted evidence, raised no questions, and did not administer CPR. Habersham insisted that he immediately applied pressure to Scott’s wounds, but recently synched audio suggests that he was instead counting the bullet holes in a still-dying man. Multiracial policing, after all, is still just policing. (more…)

Ferguson and the Criminalization of American Life

bluefistFrom Gawker/ By David Graeber

The Department of Justice’s investigation of the Ferguson Police Department has scandalized the nation, and justly so. But the department’s institutional racism, while shocking, isn’t the report’s most striking revelation.

More damning is this: in a major American city, the criminal justice system perceives a large part of that city’s population not as citizens to be protected, but as potential targets for what can only be described as a shake-down operation designed to wring money out of the poorest and most vulnerable by any means they could, and that as a result, the overwhelming majority of Ferguson’s citizens had outstanding warrants.

Many will try to write off this pattern of economic exploitation as some kind of strange anomaly. In fact, it’s anything but. What the racism of Ferguson’s criminal justice system produced is simply a nightmarish caricature of something that is beginning to happen on every level of American life; something which is beginning to transform our most basic sense of who we are, and how we—or most of us, anyway—relate to the central institutions of our society, in ways that are genuinely disastrous.


How Police Body Cameras Were Designed to Get Cops Off the Hook



In the wake of protests over police violence against black men, many civil rights activists are calling for a high-tech solution: strapping wearable body cameras to cops. The idea is to hold police accountable for unnecessary violence. But the history of police body cams reveals that the devices have often had the opposite effect.

On the afternoon of March 1st, a band of Los Angeles Police shot a homeless man. Video of the incident was captured by both a witness armed with a cell phone, and by body cameras strapped to the officers. Despite the evidence, what actually happened on Skid Row before police shot Charly Keunang remains a matter of dispute. How it went down depends on who you ask — and, more importantly, on whose video you’re watching.

The civilian shot video from a short distance away, and the footage shows officers circling Keunang before a physical struggle erupts. Keunang is thrown to the ground. Officers struggle to contain him. He’s resisting but subdued. He’s not going anywhere but he hasn’t been cuffed. Then after some yelling, three officers open fire. (more…)

One Four Seven: some notes on tactics and strategy from Durham’s recent anti-police marches


some notes on tactics and strategy from Durham’s recent anti-police marches

On Friday, December 5th, ten days after hundreds of protesters took over the Durham Freeway in response to the ongoing murder of Black and Brown people, Durham took to the streets again. This protest was most immediately a reaction to the decision of a New York Grand Jury to not press charges against the cop who murdered Eric Garner, but it was clearly part of the same trajectory initiated by the August uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. A movement against the police has begun. This thing we are experiencing contradicts itself constantly, expressing itself simultaneously with molotov cocktails, flipped police cruisers, and outright hostility to police on the one hand and platitudes about peaceful protest and demands like body cameras and racial sensitivity training on the other. Nonetheless, a movement it has clearly become. At this point demonstrators have blocked highways and bridges in over 170 cities around the country, sometimes violently confronting police and burning or smashing entire city blocks. The East Bay has not stopped rioting for three weeks. Smaller or less spectacular actions—rallies, die-ins, teach-ins, etc—have occurred probably in the thousands. For many of us, this has become the most important social struggle of our (young) lives. Skills we learned in earlier movements apply now with urgency, and new skills and new ideas take hold at a rapid rate.

This movement was catalyzed and has been led by the uncompromising revolt of Black people, initially from those in a small, poor midwestern suburb few of us had ever heard of. Its central expression is an antagonism towards the white supremacy that defines modern American policing, echoed in the common chant “Black Lives Matter,” but its roots also reach deeply into other realms of class, economy, and gender. These deep roots, and the fact that continued demonstrations are no longer responding to any one single killing but rather a deep-set pattern, make cooptation or recuperation by authorities difficult. What could a single police chief or politician possibly do to assuage enough people’s concerns? What responsible Black leader could possibly lead the country into an era of “humane” policing? Realistically, there are no demands to be made, no leader or party who could “fix” the police, because the police are not broken. They’re doing exactly what they have been historically designed to do.

In line with such a perspective, we’ve focused this account of Durham’s most recent march not on questions of “the political” like making demands or pressuring city officials, but rather on how we can continue building our own power as a diffuse but growing crowd-in-motion. When we blockade or occupy the streets or buildings of our city, what makes us powerful? What are the strategies used by the police to contain our rage during protests, and how can we defeat them? These are questions of social relations, the trust and communication we have or have not built between us, and they are also questions of infrastructure, tactics, tools, movement, and space. Even for those still committed to reforming the police as an institution, with whom we firmly disagree, these questions are crucial, as the only way even modest reforms will take hold will be if we can succeed in becoming an actual threat to those in power. (more…)

Durham: Demo Announced in Response to Murder of Eric Garner

ferguson-protest-durham-freeway-112514-jpgAt 7pm on Friday, there will be an emergency demonstration to join in the chorus of outrage against the NYPD, whose murderer-cop was just let off with no charges after choking Eric Garner to death, on video. Garner was selling “loose cigarettes,” which in NYC is a petty crime, part of the state’s larger strategy of managing populations in poorer areas.

Whether the murderer is indicted or not really makes no difference. Whether cops wear body cameras, are forced into sensitivity trainings, or “are from the community” will make no difference. The cops are a historically white supremacist force, used to repress and manage poor people and people of color. There is no escaping this fact.

A year ago Durham took to the streets repeatedly in protest of the police murder of Chuy Huerta. On Tuesday November 25th we marched with Ferguson, shutting down NC-147 in a broad effort at disruption. That was just the beginning. Please show up Friday night with all your rage and anger at this disgusting, racist system.

Updates and alerts can be found by following @NC4Ferguson via twitter or by texting “Follow @NC4Ferguson” to 40404.


“We Remember” – Some Brief Accounts from Durham’s Ferguson Solidarity March, November 25th

IMG_20141125_233915The following is a series of vignettes from the march that took place in downtown Durham on Tuesday night, November 25th, in solidarity with the struggle in Ferguson. The march was promoted online as well as with handbills and posters distributed in the thousands all over the city, and occurred before and simultaneously with a rally organized by multiple leftist groups. This series of personal accounts does not seek to establish a linear or all-encompassing narrative of what occurred, so much as provide some impressions, sights, sounds, and emotional reactions.

* * *

There’s not many of us at the front doors to the library, only a few pockets of people looking curious if they’re in the right place, but more show up soon. Eventually a large crowd of hundreds has gathered. Media people walk around asking, “Who organized this?” When it becomes clear no one plans to claim ownership of this moment, a series of older Black women start to speak. The topic is familiar: the fear of losing a son or brother, the cheapness of Black life in this shit world. One woman carrying a large white sign with pictures of her son, killed by cops in Winston-Salem, brings the crowd to tears. A bus driver still in her neon vest says a prayer, but she’s followed up by a young black man who’s visually enraged, screaming about how prayer isn’t gonna do it, that it’s “time to burn something.” Finally the crowd releases, cheers, claps, people scream “fuck yeah.” A young women I know only vaguely from weird Leftist circles confesses, “I’m ready to smash something.” Skaters show up. Another guy who I haven’t seen since the Trayvon marches shakes my hand. (more…)

“Silence Mumia Law” Protesters Drown Out PA Governor

mumiaFrom emajonline / By Betsey Piette

OCT 21, 2014

Lots of media were on hand Oct. 21 to record the moment when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett put his signature on the “Revictimization Relief Act” – dubbed the “Silence Mumia Law” by civil rights activists. The problem was that none of media could hear Corbett speak. Nearly 50 protesters standing a short distance away from Corbett’s press conference at 13th and Locust Sts in Philadelphia drowned him out with constant chants of “Our brother Mumia is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “One term Tom!”

In what would seem to be a Hail Mary effort to revive his failing reelection bid, Corbett, his political business allies and the Fraternal Order of Police cynically set up shop on a sheltered portable stage at the location where Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed in Dec. 1981. Political activist and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who happened upon the scene, was framed by police for the shooting and subsequently served over 30 years on death row before being released into general prison population in 2011. Abu-Jamal maintains his innocence.

The same movement that has steadfastly fought to free Abu-Jamal responded with less than 24-hours notice to turn out on a weekday to confront the state’s latest effort to silence him. They were joined by prisoner rights groups and civil liberties forces that see the anti-Abu-Jamal law as a blanket attack on the constitutional rights of all prisoners, and a dangerous precedent at a time when more attention is focused on mass incarceration. (more…)

When Cops Stay Hiding & Go Running: A Report Back from 8/8 Night of Action & 8/30 March for Ryan Ronquillo in Denver, CO


From Anarchist News

When Cops Stay Hiding & Go Running:
A Report Back from 8/8 Night of Action & 8/30 March for Ryan Ronquillo in Denver, CO

As the event to raise funds for Ryan Ronquillo’s family drew to a close and the banner reading “Justice for Ryan Ronquillo” was lowered, the crowd seemed anxious. There were about 60 people left of the 250 who came through the door for the event that was co-organized with the family and their friends, along with local hip hop artists Brer Rabbit, Sole, Molina Speaks, Stay Tuned, Jonny 5, and Time. Maybe anxiety wasn’t really the feeling going around that night. People were on edge, sure. But mostly people. The District Attorney Mitch Morrissey had just made the decision to close the “investigation”—If you can call it that—of Ryan’s assassination at the Romero Funeral home on July 2nd of this year (2014). He concluded that because he was in a car, he wielded a deadly weapon and thus his death was justified and all the cops involved would face no further scrutiny. His parents didn’t even know about the DA’s decision until some of their friends found out on 9 News, and were in complete shock. They were shut out of the entire investigative process, and still hadn’t been able to learn the names of those who murdered their son until that night, with the publication of the DA’s decision. (more…)