On May 5th in Toronto, Canada, an 18 year old ran from the cops. The punishment he received for running? Death.
Junior Alexander Manon was a Dominican living in Toronto.
Junior was in a car that was randomly pulled over by the police. He ran out of the car, away from the police. Police chased him down, tackled him, and beat him to death.
The police are claiming that Junior died from a random heart attack. However, aside from how rare heart attacks are for 18 year olds, the pool of blood left behind at the scene. Family members say Junior’s neck was in a brace and face showed signs of beating.
The case is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit, which unfortunately has many ex-cops as members. The media is also presenting reports that Junior had no visible injuries.
The MOVE Organization was a black liberation group whose members adopted the last name AFrica, and promoted a back-to nature lifestyle. They were based in Philadelphia. They were something of a primitivist group, who promoted the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
There were 2 instances where the Philadelphia Police confronted them- once in 1978 and once in 1985. In 1978 police came to evict the MOVE members from their communal house. During the incident, there was a shootout. One pig was killed. 7 other pigs, 5 firefighters, 3 MOVE members, and 3 bystanders were injured.
9 MOVE members were found guilty of 3rd degree murder. THEY ARE STILL IN PRISON. 7 of the 9 became eligible for parole in 2008, but have been denied. They come up for parole every year.
On May 13, 1985 the Philadelphia Police Department again tried to evict the MOVE organization from their new house, based on neighbor complaints over things like Bullhorn announcements and compost piles. When the MOVE members refused to leave the police attacked the house with tear gas, and the fire department sprayed it with water cannons. After that a burst of gunfire came from the house, which resulted in 90 minutes of return fire from the police- thousands of rounds were shot at the house. Then, the Philadelphia Police dropped a BOMB on MOVE headquarters. The bomb set the house, and eventually an entire city block on fire.
John Africa, 5 other adults, and 5 CHILDREN died in the fire. There were only 2 surviving children.
The city was found to have overreacted, and money was paid out to a survivor and relative of someone who died. However, there does not appear to have been any culpability given to individual police involved- none of them have served jail time for the 11 murders.
10 days after the Kent State Massacre in 1970, in Jackson, Mississippi there was a similar but much less publicized tragedy. At Jackson State College on May 14/15, students had gathered to protest the US invasion of Cambodia. As the evening went on there were fires and turned over cars. Close to midnight, the police decided to disperse the crowd of Black student protesters. They approached and then for no apparent reason opened fire on the protesters- shooting 140 rounds.
Two people were murdered by the police that night- Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, and James Earl Green, 17. 12 others were also injured. Continue reading
Oscar Grant was shot and killed by BART police in Oakland, California on New Years Day 2009.
Essentially, yet another case of police brutality, racism, violence, oppression, overreaction, lack of training etc. by the police state.
He was already detained and being held by the police when he was shot in the back. He was unarmed. The police were basically freaking out. They were responding to a supposed fight on the train. You have to question what good the police are if when called because of a fight they escalate the situation to the point of murder.
This is the cop that killed him. Johannes Mehserle.
His trial begins June 1, 2010- over a year after he murdered Oscar Grant, when he was less than 22 years old.
Unfortunately, this is just one of many cases of police killing an unarmed person of color. This case has received a lot of attention because the whole instance was caught on film by many people, which has led more folks to a pretty reasonable conclusion that Oscar Grant was murdered.
Technology was used positively in this instance in order to provide evidence as to the brutality of the police. Even though it is too late for Oscar this evidence might help prevent future injustices. Which is a good motivator for folks to carry cameras or video cameras, participate in Copwatch programs, etc. in order to monitor the behavior of police in our communities.
Today is the 45th Anniversary of Malcolm X’s assasination in Manhattan.
Malcolm X is remembered as perhaps one of the greatest and one of the most influential African-American men.
Malcolm X brought to light important political issues around Race, Capitalism, and Politics that many people today still have not made connections with. He called out the inherent connections between Capitalism and Racism. He talked about how the Democrats were no more useful to People of Color than Republicans.
While the blame for his assassination is still up in the air to some extent, between the folks who actually served prison time, local drug dealers, local cops, CIA/FBI, or just COINTELPRO actions in general, the bottom line is that a dynamic and influential Black man was murdered for his beliefs and his activism.
Malcolm X deserves to be remembered and honored for all of the work he put in around issues including race in America and the world. Continue reading