Call for October 22, 2009: National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
We don’t want to live like this! We resist! On October 22nd, wear black! Join our protest and fight back! NO MORE STOLEN LIVES!
The year 2009 started off with at least six cases nationally of police killings and brutality on New Year’s Day. Oakland, California erupted in outrage over the killing of Oscar Grant, shot in the back while handcuffed in front of many BART commuter witnesses. That same day, Adolph Grimes from New Orleans was killed by 48 bullets while sitting in his car in front of his grandmother’s house. In a suburb of Houston, Robbie Tolan was shot in his own driveway (but survived), after protesting the way the cops roughed up his mother. Deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers were also reported from Los Angeles, Grand Rapids, Sacramento, and Seattle.
In Memorial Day week (May 24 –30) law enforcement killed at least 23 people nationally in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
In May, many watched in horror the Youtube video that captured Toledo, Ohio police beating and choking fourteen-year old Trevor Casey. There are numerous videos of police brutality, including the tasering of 37-year-old Audra Harmon while her children watched from the car, after she was stopped by an Onondaga County cop for allegedly talking on her cellphone. While arguing that tasers are “safe” and “humane,” police throughout the country have killed with tasers, and have gone so far as to taser pregnant women, 72-year old grandmothers and six-year olds, and sodomize a handcuffed man with a taser.
Police brutality is as intense as ever throughout the nation, and resistance is even more important now when too many have bought into the illusions of a “post-racial society.”There are some who believe that because we have a black President in office that everything will be okay now, that we no longer need to struggle and protest. The racial profiling arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the shooting death of off-duty black police officer Omar Edwards by fellow NYPD should have proven that false. This year, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeal has been denied, as was probation for Leonard Peltier.
The truth is that we have never achieved anything without a fight. In August 2009, Juanita Young’s entire family was brutalized and arrested in a police raid. As Juanita (mother of Malcolm Ferguson, killed by NYPD in 2000) says,
“You can’t give in. They will try to make an example out of you, try to break your spirit. If you don’t resist and keep on fighting, they will be able to get away with what they’re trying to do to us.“
Immigrant families across the country are being torn apart. The expansion in July 2009 of 287(g) of the Illegal Immigration Law, empowering local law enforcement agencies to make immigration arrests, has resulted in an increase of racial profiling arrests (DWH, Driving While Hispanic.). ICE recently revealed that there were ten deaths of immigrants in their custody that were not previously reported, which makes the total number of detainees who have died under ICE custody up to 104 since 2003. There have also been many reports of physical and sexual abuse of inmates by prison staff in federal prisons and detention centers across the nation.
October 22nd is a powerful day for going up against this repression, because it brings together those directly under the gun of police violence with other sections of society not under the gun. It challenges the “divide and conquer” that keeps us apart, bringing people of different backgrounds to stand together to expose and oppose these outrages. October 22nd is the day when people all over the country demand a STOP to police violence, repression, and the criminalization of a generation. In different cities and through different means of expression, we raise a resounding "NO" to these police raids, attacks on the youth and immigrants, and destroying of lives.
Link up to the nationwide protests through the October 22nd website. Email information on your own plans to firstname.lastname@example.org Endorse this call, give financially, spread the word, and step out on October 22nd!
Organization (if the organization is the endorser):
October 22nd Coalition
P.O. Box 2627, New York NY 10009
October 22, 2008
13th Annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality,
Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation We ask you to endorse this call for action. Check www.october22.org for events in your area. Write to email@example.com to become part of organizing an event in your area on October 22nd.
Why do we need to act on October 22, 2008?
The current economic crisis looms large in people’s thinking, and the media talks endlessly about the upcoming elections, as if nothing else is happening in the world. Meanwhile, attention is diverted from the increasing incidents of repression and violence toward people in certain neighborhoods, toward immigrants, and toward political dissent. Verdicts from the court system in recent years have clearly established that all the police need to do is invoke the "terrorism" word, or say that they “thought” there might be a danger, and they get a free pass to raid, beat, bomb, gas and arrest.
We need to put a stop to this, and drag the truth about the nationwide epidemic of police violence and repression into the light of day for all to see. Many people would be outraged if they knew what was happening. It’s up to us to let them know, and call on them to join us in the streets. October 22nd is a day to rely on ourselves, not the politicians. People of all different communities come together in events in local areas to say, “No More!”
2008: What’s been happening across the country?
Not-guilty verdicts in New York for the three detectives who shot Sean Bell 50 times on his wedding day. The court system once again put its stamp of approval on any action taken by a police officer, no matter how outrageous. Then in July, a Grand Jury was led not to indict the NYC officer who killed 25-year old Jayson Tirado in a fit of “road rage.” District Attorney Robert Morgenthau described the incident as “a justifiable shooting in unfortunate circumstances.”
A police “surge” in Chicago leaving six people dead in a month. Between June 11th and July 5th in Chicago, police shot twelve people, all Black and Latino. Six were killed, six wounded and survived. The Governor of Illinois responded by suggesting that state troopers be sent into Chicago to help control “violent crime”! More than forty killings by police in LA County, including four by Inglewood police alone in four months. 19-year old Michael Byoune was killed by Inglewood police in the parking lot of a burger stand – bullets rained into the car until his body fell out. Six weeks later, Inglewood police shot 23-year old Ruben Walton Ortega five times, killing him in an alley. Kevin Wicks was blown away in his own apartment by the same cop who killed Michael Byoune. Then, Inglewood police shot 47 times at an unarmed homeless man, Eddie Felix Franco. One of the seven cops suspended also killed 20-year old Richard Tyson just last year, shooting him in the head and back while he was on his bicycle.
17-year old Carlos Rivera was killed by Newton Division police in South Central, shot at more than 20 times as he was hanging out with a friend in front of his house, then shot again in the head as he lay on the ground.
46-year old Roketi Su’e was killed by Long Beach police in front of a birthday party. A nurse at the party who tried to help him after he was shot was handcuffed and put in the police car until Roketi was dead.
More than twice as many people have been shot and killed this year in Maryland by Prince George's County police than in all of last year. County police have killed seven people this year, compared to three in 2007.
Massive raids and round-ups of immigrants ripped from their families and sent to detention centers and prisons. There were six hundred people arrested during raids in Mississippi, 321 arrested in South Florida. Hypothermia-inducing tactics have been used on many detainees in order to get them to sign a waiver of rights to deportation.
Prison-like schools and the school-to-prison pipeline. In Tampa, FL, 14-year old Keon Dawson was dragged from his classroom, detained and searched as part of the ongoing harassment against him and other witnesses to a cop’s murder of his brother, Javon Dawson. A 10-year old girl in Marion County, FL was arrested in school for bringing a knife from home to cut her sandwich. After throwing a tantrum at school, 5-year old Dennis Rivera was handcuffed by NYPD and then taken to a psych ward.
Increased police state and attacks on political dissent. FISA Amendments of 2008 legalized wiretapping and email spying Protesters against the moving of war equipment (Strykers) to Iraq in Olympia, Tacoma and Fort Lewis have been met with tasers, rubber bullets, and more. The highly repressive conduct of police during both the DNC and RNC went largely unreported in the major media. Torture and death by police taser. Andre. D. Thomas, a 37-year old in Swissdale, PA, was killed by taser after he was handcuffed. Although there has been documentation of death by taser, Taser International has recently developed and marketed new “less lethal” weapons for use by law enforcement.
STOP POLICE BRUTALITY, REPRESSION AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF A GENERATION!
NO MORE STOLEN LIVES! FIGHT BACK! ON OCTOBER 22nd, WEAR BLACK!
We wear black on October 22nd in memory of those whose lives have been stolen from us.
The October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation has been mobilizing every year since 1996 for a National Day of Protest on October 22, bringing together those under the gun and those not under the gun as a powerful voice to expose the epidemic of police brutality.
The Coalition also works on the Stolen Lives Project, which documents cases of killings by law enforcement nationwide. The second edition of the Stolen Lives book documents over 2000 cases in the 1990's alone. The second volume to this book is now in the works, and volunteers are needed to help with the research and editing. Please contact the National Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.