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Jail killer cops! Justice for George Floyd!

Ted Quant  |  Issue:

A routine abusive arrest of a black woman by the Los Angeles Police Department, an occurrence as ubiquitous as the summer heat, was taking place. Nothing was supposed to happen. Police abuse was the wallpaper of life, always present but so normalized as to be barely noticeable. On that summer day in 1965, in the community of Watts, California, KGFJ radio DJ Montague’s signature slogan, Burn Baby Burn, blared from radios throughout the community.

But on that day, the norm was broken forever. Watts rose up and shook the world. Soldiers on the way to Vietnam were called back and deployed to face the rage of a community long abused but no longer willing to bend the knee. Burn Baby Burn became a battle cry, a part of revolutionary history. Ho Chi Minh sent thanks to the people of Watts for keeping the U.S. soldiers tied down in their community for weeks.

Twenty-seven years later, on April 29, 1992, a hand-picked white jury acquitted the police officers that the whole world saw beating Rodney King, an unarmed black man, surrounded by police, shocking him with tasers while repeatedly beating him with clubs as he helplessly cried out and writhed in pain. But the jury agreed with the defense that described the brutal cops as “the thin blue line between you and the jungle.” The racist appeal overruled the witness of their eyes.

Los Angeles exploded in violence, burning and looting. My brother, George, went out into the riot on Crenshaw Avenue near where he lived. He saw an old lady, a grandmother, a church lady, pushing a basket filled with looted items. He looked at her as if to say, “And you, too?” The old lady looked at him, saw his judgmental face and said, “I am not guilty. You’re not guilty. Nobody is guilty, if they are not guilty.”

Today, 28 years later, once again we are the eyewitnesses to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We are all witnesses to another unarmed black man, handcuffed on the ground with a vicious racist cop kneeling on his neck as he gasped for his last breath and died. Once again, the community will rise up and take to the streets in protest, not just in Minneapolis but in cities across the country.

Nothing in any video before this incident can justify this cold-blooded murder. And the fact that other officers stood by and watched and did not intervene proves that there is no support for peer-to-peer police intervention against brutality in the department. The passivity of the police bystanders demonstrates that this abuse is routine. But the video camera has exposed their routine to our horrified eyes, the eyes of normal human beings.

What will happen next is the murdered man will be blamed for the cops’ behavior and the “thin blue line against the jungle” defense will once again be used for them to get away with murder. Once again, we will be told don’t believe your eyes, believe our lies. The Rodney King jury proved that this black man’s life was deemed so worthless, that they could deny the truth they saw with their own eyes, for the lie they are told.

This is not just about these murderous cops, this exposes the whole murderous system that supports police getting away with murder.

But now we must once again all stand up, organize and take to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd. We must demand the murderers are arrested and convicted. We have seen the truth with our own eyes. That is the truth. The rest is lies.

We must also demand community oversight that requires police to hold themselves accountable to the people and not the “blue shield” defense of brutality. This means that not only should the officer who commits the crime be charged, but every officer who did not intervene to stop or prevent the abuse must be also held accountable.

Jail killer cops! Justice for George Floyd!

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