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by MAI Saturday, Aug. 31, 2002 at 3:21 PM
/ / /

The following post is for the October 22nd coalition that is planning demonstrations against police brutality in cities across the U.S. Check the new call and contacts in your area.


Since September 11, 2001, the authorities have rapidly imposed a resoundingly repressive atmosphere. Law enforcement on both the local and national level has been given broad new powers. Laws and policies that drastically restrict civil liberties have been put into place. A throw back to COINTELPRO of the 1960s, coordination between the CIA, FBI, local police departments, and the INS is intense and now public.

Because the October 22nd Coalition memorializes and fights for justice for the thousands who have been killed or brutalized by police and other law enforcement agents in this country, we know what it’s like to have a loved one leave home in the morning and never return. Our hearts go out to those who lost friends and loved ones on September 11th.

At the same time, we cannot and must not allow the authorities to get away with using September 11th to let cops who brutalize and kill people go free. We cannot allow the authorities to legitimize heinous practices like racial profiling. We will not allow our hard fought and won victories to be snatched away from us, nor will we be told to shut up. It is more important than ever that people from different ethnicities and backgrounds take to the streets in cities and towns across the US on October 22, 2002, the 7th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

This is important because since September 11, 2001:

* All over the US people are being killed by law enforcement officers at an escalating rate. The numbers we have been able to document so far include twenty-one people from LA, twenty in Chicago, twelve people in the Seattle-Tacoma area, eleven in New York/New Jersey, six in San Francisco/Bay Area, six in North Carolina, two in Atlanta, and many more. Their stories join the already too long list of over 2,000 cases documented in the book, Stolen Lives (and Spanish edition, Vidas Robadas). Cops who kill and brutalize are not heroes!

* In city after city, cops viciously beat people, confident that they will face no punishment. The recent beating of the Inglewood, California youth, captured on videotape, is no isolated incident. As cases in Detroit and elsewhere have shown, even the existence of videotape catching police in the act of brutalizing someone is no guarantee they will be punished for their crimes!

* The authorities have used the post-September 11th atmosphere to exonerate cops convicted of brutalizing people and to continue to allow cops who brutalize and kill to get off either completely free or with a wink and slap on the wrist. Detroit and other cities are now refusing to pay civil damages for killings and brutality done by members of their police forces. Three of the cops convicted for torturing Abner Louima or helping to cover it up afterward have had their convictions thrown out by an appeals court. Now Abner Louima himself is being portrayed in court as a malicious liar who wrongfully accused an innocent cop. In Chicago, authorities recently decided that the cops who killed LaTanya Haggerty and Robert Russ would not be charged. In Detroit, Eugene Brown, a cop who has killed 3 unarmed men and shot at least 6 others who survived, is offered a 0,000 buy-out by the city to leave the police force! Just before September 11, 2001, it was exposed that cops in Miami regularly plant guns on the bodies of people they kill to try to justify the murder, a news story which got buried in the post-September 11th atmosphere.

* Racial profiling, which had been widely exposed and discredited through people’s struggles, has now come back with a vengeance. Airport searches, checkpoints, and traffic stops for individuals based solely on their religion or national origin are promoted and defended by the authorities.

As Saikou Diallo, father of Amadou, said, “My son fell victim to racial profiling and it cost him his life. His only crime was the color of his skin. Today even more people are being singled out and persecuted because of race. We cannot allow this to continue. We must stand together in our fight against racial profiling. If we don't stand up for each other, who will? What happened on September 11th was a terrible injustice. Many innocent people lost their lives in this relentless display of violence. But to allow Muslims, Arabs, South Asian immigrants or any person to be denied legal representation or to just quietly disappear is also an injustice and must be stopped.”

* Since September 11th thousands of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians have been rounded up, detained and disappeared. The Department of Justice refuses to give an accounting of who has been detained, for how long and under what charges. Hundreds still languish in correctional facilities across the country without access to family, friends or legal representation, and suffer inhumane conditions and even beatings by corrections officers. So far at least one person has died while incarcerated. Thousands have been subjected to so-called “voluntary” interrogation by the government.

* Hard won civil liberties and protections have been stripped away as part of the government’s “war on terrorism.” The USA-PATRIOT Act brings in a new set of repressive laws and restrictions on people and grants even greater power to law enforcement agents of all kinds. We know exactly in what direction this road will lead us—total repression and criminalization of all questions and dissent. The basic principle of attorney-client privilege was threatened with the arrest of Attorney Lynne Stewart. Already, bookstores and libraries have been forced to snitch on their customers and turn over book lists. Services at mosques and events sponsored by progressive organizations are now subject to FBI, CIA, and other law enforcement surveillance, recording, and photographing. In the case of Jose Padilla (Abdullah al Mujahir), the government is saying that even US citizens will be subject to detention without trial or even charges.

* The very right to protest is under serious assault, as the authorities give the FBI, the police and the courts broad new powers to investigate and target people who question government actions and organize against them. Peaceful protests have been met with police brutality and rubber bullets. Emergency room physicians recently called for an end to the use of rubber bullets because they are life threatening. Activists have found themselves hauled into court because of their protests of police brutality. Examples of this include the Barber family and their supporters in North Carolina and Efia Nwangaza in South Carolina.

* For those who have traditionally suffered the brunt of police brutality, harassment and murder—youth from certain neighborhoods, immigrants desperately crossing the border to be able to live, people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities—these new repressive laws give law enforcement agents the green light to come down on them even more viciously.

Everyone who is opposed to such injustice should join us in the streets and in resistance in other ways on October 22, 2002, the 7th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation.

We must do this for Patrick Dorismond, Anthony Rosario, Tyisha Miller, Lamar Grable, Gil Barber, Idriss Stelley, for all of the 2,000 cases detailed in the Stolen Lives book, and for the many others whom we don’t even know yet whose lives have been stolen by those who are sworn to protect and serve. Those killed by law enforcement can no longer speak for themselves—so we must speak, and act, for them.

We must also do this for ourselves. We are the survivors of those whose lives have been stolen by law enforcement, and we are also at risk.

We must do this for Mumia Abu-Jamal, political prisoner still sitting on death row in Pennsylvania, and for Leonard Peltier, another political prisoner, who consistently speak out against police brutality and repression from behind bars.

We must do this for the youth of the communities who have always been under the gun, even before September 11th. In Black and Latino communities cops stop and frisk, beat up, jail or even murder youth for nothing more than being young and dressed in the style popular among urban youth. This brutality also spills over into the suburbs where police harass youth who don’t seem to fit in. BEING YOUNG AND NOT GOING ALONG WITH THE STATUS QUO IS NOT A CRIME!

We must stand up on October 22nd because, as Frederick Douglass said, the limits of what an oppressor will do to the people is set by the limits of what those people will accept. We must speak out on October 22nd. By uniting and stepping out to fight back, we can beat back some of the vicious attacks coming down on us. We are building a movement that is advancing the fight against injustice despite rising odds.



National Protests are being planned please get in touch with people in your area:

Atlanta Georgia USA 770-281-3119

Athens Georgia USA 229-438-5878

Austin Texas USA

Bonsebour Alabama USA

Boston Massachusetts USA 617-492-5443

Chicago Illinois USA 773-528-1701

Cincinnati Ohio USA

Cleveland Ohio USA 877-418-7600 ext. 055

Columbus Ohio USA

Denver Colorado USA 303-742-9928

Detroit Michigan USA 313-921-8790

Eugene Oregon USA 541-344-8351 (fax)

Fresno California USA

Greenville South Carolina USA 864-242-3039

Greensboro North Carolina USA 336-275-8060

Honolulu Hawaii USA

Houston Texas USA 713-541-4421

Kansas City Missouri USA 813-483-4138

Little Rock Arkansas USA 501-985-6734

Los Angeles California USA 323/957-4461

Louisville Kentucky USA

Minneapolis Minnesota USA 651-649-4579

New Haven Connecticut USA 800-770-9067

New York New York USA 212-673-6008

Philadelphia Pennsylvania USA 215-476-5416;

Phoenix Arizona USA 602-241-6353

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania USA 412-261-1086 Khalid Raheem

San Francisco California USA 510-464-4563

St. Louis Missouri USA 314/454-9005

St. Martinville Louisiana USA 337-364-9120

Seattle Washington USA 206-264-5527

Virginia Beach Virginia USA

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