Police State Repression
Know Your Rights!
Ten Years Later: Surveillance in the Homeland (a joint project of the ACLU of Massachusetts and Truthout)
On Black Friday, activists from the World Can't Wait - Bay Area chapter united with other groups including The Light Brigade to protest the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. A hundred people converged on the municipal tree-lighting ceremony with the message “Black Lives Matter,” with many thousands viewing the Light Brigade signs, and hearing powerful messages.
The first article of this series’ main point was that the unjust and murderous actions of officers such as Daniel Pantaleo and Darren Wilson are not aberrations but in fact a logical outgrowth of, entirely consistent with, inspired by, and necessary corollaries to, US governmental policies, both here and abroad.
This is the dilemma that those who run this political and economic system confront with the incredible popular upheaval in city after city, the likes of which I have never seen, even when comparing it to the 1960s:
If authorities were to do anything that would in any way cause the police to feel that they did not have complete license to constantly harass, brutalize, and kill, then this system could not continue.
Officer Darren Wilson has announced that he's resigning. That's great. He will no longer be wearing a badge when he looks at black people and thinks "demon, I must kill it." All of the blacks who have been dying at the hands of police, at a rate of one every 28 hours in the US, can now rest easily. Because Officer Darren Wilson has been responsible for each and every one of those deaths, past and future, and black and brown lives will now matter finally, right?
If we take Officer Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony and treat it as 100% true and he really was so frightened and intimidated by unarmed 18 year-old Michael Brown that he just had to shoot him to death, then this must also mean:
you have an officer who, despite being specifically trained to handle difficult and at times violent incidents – precisely what a cop’s job is – is too afraid to do his job and is the last person who should be given a gun and a license to kill.
Many years ago when a group of political activists (dubbed in the press the “Mao Zedong Defendants”) were arrested and put on trial for allegedly attacking a large group of police officers, I sat in the courtroom in Honolulu State Court on the defendants’ bench and listened with fascination at the parade of cops telling their version of the events of that day of our arrests.
Officer Wilson, why did you shoot and kill Michael Brown, when he had his hands up and was telling you he gives up, why did you have to shoot him six times?
“The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.”
Updated November 18: Upon hearing that Missouri's governor Jay Nixon has today called upon the National Guard, declaring a state of emergency for Ferguson and St. Louis, even before the grand jury issues its findings on whether or not to indict officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, do you think to yourself:
“The Drug War was indeed the New Jim Crow”
This is a transcript of Dennis Loo’s prepared remarks at a Cal Poly Pomona Symposium on Stop Mass Incarceration, Police Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation on the evening of October 21, 2014.