Tag Archive: Mike Brown

Taser International and Cops Profiting from Police Brutality

antipoliceFrom AlterNet/By Michael Arria

Taser International, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of body cameras, has direct connections to some police chiefs who have been advocating on its behalf.

According to an AP report, the company is covering travel costs for cops that praise their products at international conferences. It’s also hiring retired chiefs as consultants, after their cities sign contracts with Taser. After the police chief in Fort Worth, Texas obtained a contract with the company, he wrote one of their representatives an email, insisting that he deserved a raise. In Salt Lake City, the police department bypassed City Council approval to secure a contract with Taser and, in Albuquerque, Taser’s connection to the police chief sparked an investigation by the city’s inspector general.

After the death of Michael Brown, body cameras became a staple of calls for police reform. President Obama proposed a $75 million effort to equip departments with the cameras, in an attempt to quell distrust of police. The move was supported by a number of liberals, but it was also adamantly supported by Taser International. According to aNation story by Raven Rakia, Taser has seen its stock price double since Michael Brown was killed. The company viewed Brown’s murder as, ” massive awareness campaign’ for police body cameras.” (more…)

The Ex-Worker #32: White Supremacy and Capitalism, From 1492 to Ferguson

cop sniperFrom Crimethinc.

#32: White Supremacy and Capitalism, from 1492 to Ferguson – Rebellion has erupted around the country in the aftermath of grand jury decisions to allow the murderers of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York to go free without legal charges. Why did this happen, when authorities knew that this would spark furious protests and international condemnation? In Episode 32 of the Ex-Worker, Clara and Alanis try to understand the persistence of racist police violence by delving into the historical roots of capitalism and white supremacy in European conquest and colonization of the Americas and the transatlantic slave trade. Along with a survey of resistance and backlash since the grand jury announcements, we share excerpts from the recent feature “The Thin Blue Line is a Burning Fuse,” tracing the role of anti-police anger in catalyzing nearly all recent major social upheavals around the globe. [Agency] http://www.anarchistagency.com), a new anarchist media project, shares an excerpt from an article analyzing the Ebola outbreak and anarchist perspectives on public health. We run through a wide range of news, discuss listener comments on transcripts and international coverage, and even offer a radical holiday song!

You can download this and all of our previous episodes online. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email to podcast@crimethinc.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.

The Nature of Police, the Role of the Left

by PETER GELDERLOOS

A young black person was killed, many people brave enough to take to the streets in the aftermath were injured and arrested, and the only real consequences the police will face will be changes designed to increase their efficiency at spinning the news or handling the crowds, the next time they kill someone. Because amidst all the inane controversies, that is one fact that no one can dispute: the police will kill again, and again, and again. A disproportionate number of their targets will be young people of color and transgender people, but they have also killed older people, like John T. Williams, Bernard Monroe, and John Adams, and white people too. The Right has seized on a couple cases of white youth being killed by cops, like Dillon Taylor or Joseph Jennings, throwing questions of proportion out the window in a crass attempt to claim the police are not racist.

Essentially, the point being made by right-wing pundits is that the cops are killing everybody, so it’s not a problem. The fact that they can make this argument and still retain credibility with a large sector of the population shows how normalized the role of the police is in our society. The true meaning of the evidence used manipulatively by the Right is that the police are a danger to anyone not wearing a business suit.

In a serious debate, however, it would be hard to deny that the police are a racist institution par excellence. They kill young black, latino, and Native people at a disproportionately higher rate than white youth, and the institution itself descended from the patrols created to capture fugitive slaves in the South and police urban immigrants in the North, as masterfully documented in Kristian Williams‘ landmark book, Our Enemies in Blue. What’s more, the criminal justice system that the police play an integral role in, both feeding and defending the prison-industrial complex, grew directly out of the 13th Amendment’s approval of slavery in the case of imprisonment, illuminating the path by which the United States’ advancing economy could leave plantation slavery behind, first with the pairing of sharecropping and chain gangs, and more recently with the pairing of a precarious labor market on the outside and booming prison industries on the inside. (more…)

A Short Communique from Durham

ferguson-protest-durham-freeway-112514-jpgRe-posted from Anarchist News

On Tuesday night November 25th, a group of people enraged by the police murder of Mike-Mike Brown, and inspired by the rebellious acts that have spread across the country, vandalized the Durham National Guard Armory on Stadium Dr. Messages were painted on the front doors and over a dozen windows were smashed out.

The National Guard is now on the streets of St. Louis and Ferguson, continuing the racist cops’ war on behalf of the rich against the poor.

This act followed an exciting night of protest in downtown Durham, in which a diverse hundreds of people spoke out about their experiences at the hands of the police, blocked streets, set off fireworks, spray-painted buildings with anti-police and anti-prison messages, and blocked the northbound side of Highway 147.

We hope all of these acts contribute to a continued escalation in local, combative struggle against racism, capitalism, and the state.

For anarchy,
XXX

The Thin Blue Line Is a Burning Fuse

fuseFrom Crimethinc.

Why Every Struggle Is Now a Struggle against the Police

It should have come as no surprise yesterday when the grand jury in St. Louis refused to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Missouri. Various politicians and media outlets had labored to prepare the public for this for months in advance. They knew what earnest liberals and community leaders have yet to acknowledge: that it is only possible to preserve the prevailing social order by giving police officers carte blanche to kill black men at will. Otherwise, it would be impossible to maintain the racial and economic inequalities that are fundamental to this society. In defiance of widespread outrage, even at the cost of looting and arson, the legal system will always protect officers from the consequences of their actions—for without them, it could not exist.

The verdict of the grand jury is not a failure of the justice system, but a lesson in what it is there to do in the first place. Likewise, the unrest radiating from Ferguson is not a tragic failure to channel protest into productive venues, but an indication of the form all future social movements will have to take to stand any chance of addressing the problems that give rise to them.

A profit-driven economy creates ever-widening gulfs between the rich and the poor. Ever since slavery, this situation has been stabilized by the invention of white privilege—a bribe to discourage poor white people from establishing common interests with poor people of color. But the more imbalances there are in a society—racial, economic, and otherwise—the more force it takes to impose them. (more…)

In Defense of Looting

lootingFrom The New Inquiry

For most of America’s history, one of the most righteous anti-white supremacist tactics available was looting.

As protests in Ferguson continued unabated one week after the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr., zones of Twitter and the left media predominantly sympathetic to the protesters began angrily criticizing looters. Some claimed that white protesters were the ones doing all of the looting and property destruction, while others worried about the stereotypical and damaging media representation that would emerge. It also seems that there were as many protesters (if not more) in the streets of Ferguson working to prevent looting as there were people going about it. While I disagree with this tactic, I understand that they acted out of care for the struggle, and I want to honor all the brave and inspiring actions they’ve taken over the last weeks.

Some politicians on the ground in Ferguson, like alderman Antonio French and members of the New Black Panther Party, block looting specifically in order to maintain leadership for themselves and dampen resistance, but there are many more who do so out of a commitment to advancing the ethical and politically advantageous position. It is in solidarity with these latter protesters–along with those who loot–and against politicians and de-escalators everywhere that I offer this critique, as a way of invigorating discussion amongst those engaged in anti-oppression struggle, in Ferguson and anywhere else the police violently perpetuate white supremacy and settler colonialism. In other words, anywhere in America. (more…)

From Occupy to Ferguson

1a2From Crimethinc.

In early 2011, in response to austerity measures, protesters occupied the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a localized struggle, but it gained traction on the popular imagination out of all proportion to its size. This clearly indicated that something big was coming, and some of us even brainstormed about how to prepare for it—but all the same, the nationwide wave of Occupy a few months later caught us flat-footed.

In August 2014, after white police officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a week and a half of pitched protests shook the town. Once again, these were localized, but they loomed big in the popular imagination. Police kill something like three people a day in the United States; over the past few years, we’ve seen a pattern of increasing outrage against these murders, but until that August it hadn’t gained much leverage on the public consciousness. What was new about the Ferguson protests was not just that people refused to cede the streets to the police for days on end, nor that they openly defied the “community leadership” that usually pacifies such revolts. It was also that all around the country, people were finally paying attention and expressing approval.

Like the occupation of the capitol building in Madison, this may portend things to come. Ferguson is a microcosm of the United States. Could we see an uprising like this spread nationwide? It seems almost possible, right now, as the governor of Missouri has declared a preemptive state of emergency and people all over the US are preparing demonstrations for the day that the grand jury refuses to indict Darren Wilson.

(more…)

Hip-Hop’s Biggest Names Release Song After Ferguson: ‘Don’t Shoot’

From Colorlines

Some of hip-hop’s biggest stars got together to record a new track dedicated to Michael Brown called “Don’t Shoot.” The song features the Game, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Fabolous, Wale, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz, Yo Gotti, Currensy, Problem and King Pharaoh & TGT. It also names other victims of police and vigilante violence, including Ezell Ford and Trayvon Martin.

Ex-Worker #27: Anti-Police Riots in Ferguson

fergusoncrimethinc.From Crimethinc.

#27: Anti-Police Riots in Ferguson – Since the murder of Mike Brown by police on August 9th, Ferguson, Missouri has been the site of intense riots, looting, and clashes with police. In this episode, we share first-hand accounts from participants and reflections on the rebellion, as well as an analysis which unpacks the designation of “outside agitators.” Two texts discussing other recent anti-police uprisings appear on the Chopping Block: “Unfinished Acts” a discussion of the Oscar Grant riots in Oakland, and “Unforgiving and Inconsolable”, a collection of texts about the response to the death of Chuy Huerta in Durham, North Carolina. Supporters of Luke O’Donovan update us on his trial and how to show solidarity. Clara and Alanis share a slew of listener feedback, exploring the origins of the term feminism, correcting some mistakes about the IWW, and getting into a testy debate over the politics of sports. News, prisoner birthdays, Contradictionary terms, and upcoming events round out another packed episode.

You can download this and all of our previous episodes online. You can also subscribe in iTunes here or just add the feed URL to your podcast player of choice. Rate us on iTunes and let us know what you think, or send us an email topodcast@crimethinc.com. You can also call us 24 hours a day at 202–59-NOWRK, that is, 202–596–6975.