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Monday, July 8, 2013
Oakland police kill again. Against hired guns.
"Early on Monday morning (July 8th), Oakland cops beat a 53-year old man to death on the 2300 block of East 21st Street. When the police first came, they reportedly targeted the man because he was dealing with a psychological issue. Cops tried to stuff him into the back of a squad car and, according to the police story, he resisted. The police tussled with him on the ground and when they stopped fighting, he stopped breathing. Stuffing someone in the back of a police car never supports their mental health and we can only imagine what this man was going through in his mental state, which the cops had identified as needing a “psychiatric evaluation.” But really, we can only imagine what was going through his mind because he can’t tell us. He is dead. If it weren’t for the Oakland police’s actions last night, he would still be breathing.
Police should not be first responders to people dealing with mental health crises!
The police haven’t claimed that the man had a weapon or offered a direct threat to them, which they always do in order to justify murder. That’s what they said when they killed Gary King, Andrew Moppin, Oscar Grant, Raheim Brown, Alan Blueford… The list goes on. When Derrick Jones was murdered by cops near Bancroft and Seminary in 2010, they said he took out a gun. They told us later he NEVER had a weapon, and one of the cops who killed him said: "We were just doing our job, as we were trained to do.”
Just as that cop said, it is part of the job of police to kill people. It is a mistake to think that they kill people to make us safer, which is what they tell us. The reason they kill us is the same reason they lock us up. It’s the same reason they target us with stay-away orders, gang injunctions, Operation Ceasefire, or whatever their latest scheme is.
Every time they kill someone and almost every time they lock someone up, the person is Black or Brown. Every time they make a new policy, it is enforced in working class Black and Brown neighborhoods but never in wealthy or white areas.
The police are here to kill, contain, harass and cage working class people of color. That is not how we make public safety. That is how we make war.