Tag Archive: anti-police

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.

(more…)

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

bodycam1

From GIZMODO

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

ONE FOUR SEVEN

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.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 5TH CCB PLAZA 7PM

“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

fuckthepolice

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…)

Accomplices Wanted: A few notes on race, legitimacy, and solidarity with the struggle in Ferguson

CAM01615-1

On August 9th, a white police officer murdered an unarmed Black teenager named Michael Brown (“Mike-Mike”) on the streets of Ferguson, MO, a couple miles north of St. Louis. Nothing about this was abnormal or newsworthy in any way; it was simply another reminder of the cheapness of poor Black life in the United States in 2014. Typically, such tragedies are swept under the rug with ease, by the usual combination of go-nowhere state investigations, mild officer reprimands, and calls for calm, prayer, and peace issued by Civil Rights and church leaders and echoed by the liberal media.

But in Ferguson, something different happened. Black residents, along with a few white people from the immediate and surrounding areas, fought back against the white supremacist authority of the police. They took over the main street of town, pushing police out of the area entirely. Pavement was broken up for projectiles, stores were looted and attacked, the QT where a customer had called the cops on Mike-Mike was burned to the ground. Until it was fenced in, the QT lot became a kind of gathering place, covered in spraypainted anti-cop lyrics and references to revolutions of the past. (more…)

Students Express Support for Attack on Police Headquarters

durmcopbannerFrom The Daily Tar Heel

An anonymous group of local anarchists took responsibility for vandalizing Chapel Hill police cars last week.

Someone smashed in the back window of three Ford Crown Victoria cars parked at the Chapel Hill Police Department at 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, according to police reports .

Another car was spray-painted. Total damage was valued at $2,200 to the four cars, which ranged in years from 2008 to 2011, the police reports state .

The anonymous anarchists posted a blog taking responsibility for the vandalism on the Prison Books Collective website. (Prison Books Blog Editors’ note: the blog post referenced was reposted from anarchistnews.org and is not original content of the Prison Books Collective. We thought this was quite obvious, but local journalists seem to be having a problem with this.) The Prison Books Collective meets monthly at the Internationalist Books and Community Center to write letters to political and politicized prisoners in the United States .

Lt. Josh Mecimore, a spokesman for the Chapel Hill Police, did not return requests for comment.

Jesse Gardens , a member of the student anarchist group UNControllables, said his group wasn’t affiliated with the damaged cars, but he supports the demonstration.

Gardens said after Chapel Hill police, armed with assault rifles, arrested eight people who were occupying the Yates Motor Company building on Franklin Street, it’s good for police to know residents are watching .

“People here have a good reason to want to disable the weapons and equipment police here have,” Gardens said. “The smashing of the police cruisers sends the message that people are watching.” (more…)

Shred for Chuy Sk8 Comp Rescheduled, Set for This Saturday

chuyHey yall,

A quick announcement that the Shred for Chuy Skate Competition, originally set for last Saturday before the forces of evil (rain) forced a rescheduling, has been reset for this coming Saturday. The details are now:

Saturday, April 26th
11am to 5pm
Durham Skate Park
524 Rigsbee Ave, Durham, North Carolina 27701

Come hang out April 19th for a skate competition at Durham’s Skate Park.

We are doing this in honor of Chuy Huerta and we will be collecting donations in order to build a memorial in his name.
There will be prizes and no entry fee for the brave ones that want to compete!

Come and have a good ol’ time with Games! Food! Shirts! Music!
We’ve always heard from Chuy’s friends and family that he was full of life and happiness, let’s celebrate his life and join forces in making sure this city never forgets who he was.