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News :: Human Rights
Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
10 Mar 2006
oct22logo.jpg
Boston--Police brutality has reached epidemic proportions in the communities of color in Boston and nationwide... But a network is developing to support all youth and others in the city terrorized by the police and other state agents.

Police terror from Benton Harbor to Boston to Cincinnati to Houston to Los Angeles to Milwaukee to New York City, is institutionalized within this capitalist society especially in relation to youth, including lesbiain/gay/bisexual/transgendered (LGBT) youth.
A March 2 article, “Hub youths say police harassment is constant,” in the African American weekly The Boston Banner describes the wholesale occupation and terror of oppressed communities in Boston. Numerous Black, Latin@ and Cape Verdean youth speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, described semi-apartheid conditions including police wantonly stopping and frisking, racist verbal and physical threats, coercion and beatings, random questioning and worse before, during and after school and work hours. “I basically get stopped every day,” said one youth of color to the Banner. “They ask you questions, ‘what’s your name? What’s your address? What school do you go to?’ They search you. They know us all. But they do it all the time. And they always ask us the same questions.”

Other youth in these communities interviewed by this reporter say that in the evening and late-night hours nothing less than police-state occupations take place. They say local, state, and federal agents invade communities of color mostly in Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury, under the guise of fighting “the war on drugs, gangs and violence.” The youths say the real role of the police is to terrorize and subjugate mostly working and poor people of color who suffer from horrific social conditions.

If arrested these youths and others’ names are placed into a Massachusetts state database called “criminal offender record information” or CORI where an arrest, even if later dropped, is accessible by employers, schools, government agencies, newspapers and more. Attempting to expunge a so-called “record” can take years and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

In the March 9 Banner reporter Yawu Miller continued his ongoing coverage of police terror in Boston. In his most recent article, "Activists: Cops Terrorize teens with stop-and-frisk tactics," Miller interviewed Muse Mohamed. A student at Roxbury Community College and a worker at the Boston Convention Center’s commissary, Mohamed described in detail how he's been stopped and questioned by police over 30 times since he was 14, most recently at the Bromley Heath housing development in Roxbury. “It feels like you’re guilty before you’ve done anything,” said Mohamed. “It’s just because you’re black.”

In tandem with this physical and psychological brutalization and trauma, many, mostly people of color and the poor, are killed daily by police and other state agents across the United States-including Boston. Nationally, at least over 2,000 human beings, mostly African American and Latin@, have been killed by police since 1990 according to the book “Stolen Lives: Killed by law enforcement,” published by the Oct. 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation (www.october22.org).

Oct. 22 and others fighting police brutality say that this figure is a conservative estimate because the majority of police departments don’t compile statistics on those killed by police and none are compiled by the federal government. The statistics in the Oct. 22 book was compiled by family, friends and anti-police brutality activists.

DEVONE JACQUES

Bishop Filipe Teixeira is a well-known anti-police brutality activist in the Greater Boston area and member of the Boston Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Coalition (BRPHRDC). He supports those like 18-year-old Devone Jacques, a Haitian man brutally beaten by the Boston Municipal Police in front of his home in Dorchester Feb. 24. Teixeira, along with over a dozen witnesses including Jacques’ mother witnessed 10 to 12 police officers kicking Jacques on the ground as he was handcuffed at his wrists and ankles. The police then picked him up and threw him into a police van where Jacques slid out and banged his head on the street. Upon throwing him back in the van, police maced him. Jacques was slowly transported to the hospital, placed in jail for three days and released on bail charged with assault and battery on a police officer.

Despite police harassment against supporters like Teixeira who has been issued minor municipal citations such as parking tickets after speaking out, a network is developing to support Jacques and all youth in the city terrorized by the police and other state agents. Teixeira said this will include raising as a major theme the fight back against police terror at the upcoming March 18 "Stop the War, Stop the Violence At home and Abroad," march and rally.

THE SOMERVILLE 5

As seen in the Banner articles and the Jacques case, the Somerville five’s unjust treatment is part of an institutional practice of racial profiling and police brutality in the Greater Boston area and nationwide.

The Somerville 5-Calvin Belfon, 17, Cassius Belfon, 15, Earl Guerra, 16, Isiah Anderson, 17, and Marquis Anderson, 16-were victims of racial profiling and a brutal, unprovoked attack by Medford police on April 20, 2005. This attack by racist police was quickly covered up. The police, courts, D.A., local media and press and education officials have all worked together to frame these young men.

The five went out to enjoy a carnival in Medford, Massachusetts. But the night turned into one of horror that changed their lives forever. The five were beaten, maced, arrested and psychologically traumatized by 10 white Medford police. False charges against them include assault with a deadly weapon, assault and battery, and disorderly conduct. The five young men, all high school students, have endured, along with their families, unjust expulsion from school even before their cases are heard and have had to spend thousands of dollars for lawyers to rebut their racist frame-up.

“These young men are good students and fine athletes. They have no prior records. This is nothing but an orchestrated cover-up by the police and the D.A. and the media to take the focus off of who the real criminals are here,” said Robert Trayhnam of the Committee to Defend the Somerville 5. “It is the Medford police who should be put on trial for racial profiling and police brutality. We must keep the pressure on and make our voices heard,” Trayhnam concluded.

On Saturday, March 25 a “Fight for Justice: Benefit Concert for the Somerville 5,” will take place at the Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury, Massachusetts. Events scheduled include cultural presentations, a fashion show and a speak-out against racial profiling and police brutality. Tickets are $3 for youth and $20 for adults; no one turned away for lack of funds. All proceeds will go to defray the five’s legal expenses.

Readers are urged to contact Middlesex District Attorney Martha Coakley, 40 Thorndike St., Cambridge, MA 02141, phone (617) 679-6500, fax (617) 225-0871, and make the following demands in regard to the Somerville 5: drop the racist-frame-up charges against all five youths immediately; independent community investigation into Medford Police; stop racial profiling and police brutality.

-- 30 --

Union labor donated
See also:
http://www.bostonrosaparkshumanrightsday.com
http://www.baystatebanner.com

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
10 Mar 2006
this is just another reason why we don't have the luxury of refusing to work together with all honest forces, regardless of political differences. the solution to these and related societal problems lies in strong, principled resistance from the ground up, in cooperation with everyone who is committed to working toward social justice.

call people out for undemocratic behavior at meetings if necessary, but go to the meetings committed to building a common front against our common enemies. don't be afraid to make mistakes, and don't expect everyone you meet always to be mistake-free. we'll only go down the path that we forge together.
Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
10 Mar 2006
To play devil's advocate, it's easy to scream about police brutality in the communities of color, but the fact is, when you look at communites that have the most highest rates of violent, they tend to be communites of color. Many factors are responsible for this, the biggest one being poverty, which spirals into other related factors ( drugs, unwed mothers, domestic violence, etc.). Like it or not, if there was not a heavy police presence in these neighborhoods, crime would be 10 times worse than it already is. ( examples: New Orleans after Katrina, LA 1992, and pretty much any other city where the police become overwhelmed by whatever the circumstances at hand may be). Are there bad cops. Absolutely, just like there are doctors who write false prescriptions, teachers who rape their students ( sexually and mentally, think Colorado), and a thousand others.
Battle of Los Angles etc..
10 Mar 2006
I was there, the media reports were as usual all lies. But without going too much into what really happened (at least around me), I'd like to look at why in a general way that I hope relates to here and now as well as there and then.

The row of shops 3 feet from my apartment building burned to the ground and the building I was in was damaged by fire and condemned. There was rubble just about every block from Century Blvd in South Central all the way up to Hollywood.

But "Law and Order" enforced by the National Guard was not a meaningful solution, nor is "police presence" today.

I agree that poverty, or rather the causes of poverty, are the real problem. Law enforcement, is not the answer. If you're going to be treated like a criminal, why not be a criminal, that's a big factor. Think about it, it easy to dismiss off hand but if you're told something every day all your life you do begin to internalize it in someway.

If LA had been abandoned by the police state, I fully expect it would have gotten worse before it got better, but I also fully believe it would have gotten better.

Police harassment and intimidation both creates tension and holds that tension in place, when it's removed all the stored tension is released in a violent reaction. There are many riots that are examples of this, but turning the screws tighter only makes it worse.

So what is to be done? The only course I see is a gradual stand down. First by getting the police to behave better and respect the communities they police. This is probably best achieved by increasing both the amount of training officers receive and the number of cops on the street. To many this will seem dangerous, but people act worse when they're afraid and a lot of cops out there are scared, because people hate them , because cops behave poorly, which makes them more afraid and more hair triggered which feeds the cycle.

Maybe there's a better way, but clearly the cycle needs to end and the greater responsibility lies with those who have greater resources, the police and the state generally.
You Make Some Good Points...
10 Mar 2006
.. Jon, but it goes way beyond just changing the way the police do their job. Glorifying gang culture is one thing that must be changed, and I won't even go into the court system. What people on the "outside" (not living in the inner city) must realize is that when you let a neighborhood turn into a state of anarchy ( no offense intended RYA and others), the people who suffer are the ones who stay hunkered down in their homes while the "predators" who were being "harrassed" by the police run wild. Not to use the same example 2x's, but just look at the news footage of New Orleans before the pc media began to scale it back.I can seen looting food stores, but car dealers, electonics stores, gunshops, liquor stores... I also heard some first hand accounts from reservists I know who were there.... Ok, enough said.
Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
10 Mar 2006
Sure, glorifying violece is part of the cycle. I'm not saying that police reform is the whole solution. But the police have a centralized organization that is ostensibly accountable to the people, "culture" does not.

The NO '05 situation is very much the LA '92 situation. It's like the police are the cap on a soda bottle, but they're also shaking the can. If you open the can suddenly there's a big, if you stop shaking it for a while then you can open it safely.
Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
10 Mar 2006
.
If you can put a name on it you can understand it. If you can understand it you can resist it.

The american ghettos and neighboors are being subjected to the long process of colonization.

The intentional and coerced transfer of the ownership and fruits of all resources including homes, land, labor and consumption from the local many to the foriegn few.

The police are the armed in Armed Robbery.

Block busting, gentrification, envirnomential racism, chemical warfare (alcohol and CIA drugs), the prison industrial complex, pawn shop strip mines, loan sharks, the boys in blue, uncle sams army, the judge, DA, probation department and gun makers all target communities of color to take a cut from their total destruction or enslavement.

The media takes its share to demonize the victim and justify or obscure the rape.

.
Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
10 Mar 2006
the only way the police are publicaly accountable is if we use the camcorders and cameras. internal affairs is just a pd cover-up. iv'e seen that happen in evansvill,indiana. several times. the police pick what crimes to file reports about. ad nauseum
Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
11 Mar 2006
looks like we can all agree that the problems are *systemic* and not just a few bad apples, or one or two issues. the legal system, the 'justice' system, the economic system- all of it needs to be chucked and we need to revoke their ghetto passes. but before that, let's please get working on alternatives which can work.

we could try out on a small scale new ideas or imported systems from similar places where they have worked, demand the right to implement these just, effective and constructive alternatives in our communities, and gain the trust of our neighbors. there are already some people working on alternatives right now- in community justice circles, in alternative sentencing, definitely in cooperative economics. before you know it, enough people will be on board that it becomes viable on a large scale.
Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
13 Mar 2006
black youths commit eight times as many felonies as white youth per capita. police correctly eye black youth who are threatening people wilth suspicion.

the idea that the large number of thugs in the black community should get a free pass because of their color is hilarious, and only would be taken seriously by the tiny amount of leftists still remaining in the united states. african americans, especially males, are going down, down down in achievement because of aversion to study and hard work. the hip hop revolutiion might have been created by the Ku klux klan; since hip hop, black college drop out rates, college admissions, employment in professions for black youth plummet. Arrests skyrocket.

ask the average black urban kid who malcom x was and when he lived, or who frederick douglass is. they don't know or care. black youth are about material consumption, immediate gratification.

they are having the s popped out of them in the blue collar job market as well as in the drug and gang wars by the hispanics. that will be one more thing they can scream racism about and get a few moron leftists to support them on.
Re: Communities of color fight back against police invasions and terror
20 Mar 2006
"We Can't Blame White People"
Wed, 7 Sep 2005 15:23:29 EDT
by BILL COSBY

"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk:
Why you ain't,
Where you is,
What he drive,
Where he stay,
Where he work,
Who you be...
And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk.
Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living. People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an education, and now we've got these knuckleheads walking around.
The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.
These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids. $500 sneakers for what? And they won't spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics. I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.
Where were you when he was 2? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol? And where is the father? Or who is his father?
People putting their clothes on backward: Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong?
People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something? Or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?
What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don't know a thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.
Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person's problem.
We have got to take the neighborhood back.
People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different 'husbands' -- or men or whatever you call them now. We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
We have million-dollar basketball players who can't write two paragraphs. We as black folks have to do a better job. Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us.
We have to start holding each other to a higher standard. We cannot blame the white people any longer."