2016: Racist Police State or Systemic Revolution—You Decide
Welcoming In 2016
We currently live in a racist militarized police state where law enforcement has legal impunity to murder Black people. 2015 saw the killings of 1200 community members by police. Of those, 200+ were completely unarmed.
How many of these people will see justice? The likely answer is, none. Due to Police Officer Bill of Rights in many states (including CA), police rarely face ANY sanctions, let alone criminal charges. The data, when broken down by race, shows that Black community members were killed in grossly disproportionate numbers. The figures compiled by The Guardian for their project “The Counted” a continuously updated, interactive database of police killings in the United States proves this. Black people were killed at the rate of 7.15 per million, Hispanic/Latinx at 3.48, Native American 3.4, and White at 2.92, meaning Black people are killed at nearly 2.5 times the rate of whites. This doesn’t even take into account the disparate numbers of harassments, detentions, arrests, and copious instances of excessive force used to terrorize Black individuals. The nationwide trend of police militarization which according to the ACLU, is adding to the nightmare, “Federal programs providing surplus military equipment, along with departments’ own purchases, have outfitted officers with firepower that is often far beyond what is necessary for their jobs as protectors of their communities. Sending a heavily armed team of officers to perform ‘normal’ police work can dangerously escalate situations that need never have involved violence.” While the national news is haunting, Sacramento is undeniably not exempt. The killing of Adriene Ludd by Sacramento County Sheriff officers on 10/22/2015, the lack of transparency and accountability following the murder, along with the excessive use of force By Sacramento Police Department against the Right to Rest homeless protesters at City Hall on 01/02/2016, suggests we are deep in the fight. There is a war being waged by our US (In)Justice system, the Police are the weapons and Black, brown and poor bodies are the battle field.
Tamir Rice Vigil
The Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter held a candlelight vigil last Tuesday December 29th on Stockton Blvd. and Massie Court after Cleveland’s announcement that the grand jury in the Tamir Rice case did not indict the officers involved in his execution. Tamir Rice was a 12 year old boy playing in a Cleveland park, in possession of (but not holding) a toy gun. He was gunned down by police officers in less than two seconds, before the police cruiser even stopped. Tamir was given zero chance to comply with officer demands, and instead was executed by a man with numerous excessive force complaints. “Tamir Rice: No Justice, No Peace” was organized to show solidarity with Tamir’s family and spotlight the injustices of law enforcement perpetrated on Black people throughout the world. Approximately 40 people participated in the vigil, holding signs, chanting, and signing for their lives. Several of the speakers highlighted the intersectional nature of hierarchy and oppression, calling out the ways in which patriarchal structures like the police are in line with (and benefit from) other forms of subjugation like transphobia and Islamophobia, which, all in turn serve to uphold white supremacy and were created (or at least institutionalized) by racist colonial practices on the back of women and children of color. Sacramento stood up for Tamir and all Black people.
Sacramento City Hall Occupation for the Right to Rest
The Community Dinner Project, a group dedicated to “uniting the community to challenge unjust laws, hold policy makers and police accountable, improve our community, and serve an organic meal to the hungry,” began proving meals to the homeless population at Sacramento City Hall just prior to their weekly City Council meetings on 12/09/2014. The meals, being not permitted (Yes, it is illegal to feed the homeless in Sacramento without a permit), were themselves an act of civil disobedience to draw attention to the inhumane ordinances levied against the homeless population and provide people with much needed food. The participants then exercised their civic rights to address the City Council and demand change. The City Council did not listen and did not provide our community with real resources for the homeless. A year later on December 8th, 2015 they increased their pressure on the council by holding an occupation at City Hall protesting for the right to rest. Sacramento’s no camping ordinance makes sleeping on public property a crime. Up to two dozen protesters and/or homeless individuals have weathered the frigid cold and rain by maintaining a 24 hour occupation for nearly a month. At the inception of the protest, the police did not arrest the participants for sleeping, but did prohibit and/or confiscate any belongings deemed to be for “camping.” Likely expecting the interest to fade out, they held back. When that wasn’t the case, the police showed their true nature and began harassing, and ticketing protesters. In the early hours of 01/02/2016, 50+ police officers in full riot gear showed up to confront the one tent that was put up. With officers outnumbering protesters and onlookers by 3 to 1, the scene was reminiscent of dystopian horror film. Seven people were detained, with four arrested, and three ticketed and released. During the shameful display of power, David Andre, an elderly man, was thrown to the ground while not resisting arrest sustaining a head injury. Another homeless protester, Mohammad Abughannam, was also assaulted and left with serious trauma to his right hand. With protesters filming and three National Lawyers Guild observers present, Sac PD showed no restraint, even threatening torture through pain infliction for those being arrested. The protesters have stated that they will not back down and will continue to exercise their right to rest. New arrests have already begun this morning, and there is talk of a hunger strike. To support this cause you can:
(1) Call the Sacramento Jail and ask for Mohammad Abughannam’s release.
(2) Stand up in solidarity at City Hall. You may join the sleeping protest and stay the night, drop off needed food and warm supplies, or just show up for moral support.
(3) Attend the Dinner Project tomorrow 01/05/2016 at 4:30pm and/or stay for the City Council meeting at 6:00.
UPCOMMING! Not On Our Watch: Behind the Badge Breakfast
Leave it to the police to promote lies and inaccuracies… The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Sacramento, a non-profit, organization committed to serving law enforcement personnel and their families, and the community at large, is hosting a fund-raising breakfast to support the “Thin Blue Line.” The event is supposedly aimed at making it safer for law enforcement. A quote from their event, “We have all witnessed this past year, an increase in the numbers of assaults and hostilities toward law enforcement personnel and their families. It is time the silent majorities stand up and support the thin blue line.” Say what??? Black Lives Matter Sacramento is emphatically saying, “Not on our watch!” in response to this event. The police are trying to build support within the public and gain more power, even as they have unprecedented levels of power in our community. BLM Sacramento is planning to counter their event to increase community knowledge about the facts in regards to police safety. 2015 was one of the safest years in history for police, with the total number of police deaths by civilians (as opposed to illness, car accident, or suicide—often included in statistics) at 44. When you take into account that on average there were 1,220,000 employed officers in 2015, it is much safer to be a police officer than they are leading us to believe. Law enforcement actually falls 14th on the list of most dangerous jobs. This event, and events like it, are orchestrated to divert attention from the real menace—the police themselves. With black bodies flooding in our streets, killed by cops who will never faces charges, leaving families that will never see justice, we will be there in protest to support all of the 1200 people that have their lives to state sectioned violence. We will be there for #JusticeForTamirRice, #JusticeForFreddieGray, #JusticeForSandraBland, and especially our own community member #JusticeForAdrieneLudd. Please join our silent protest this Friday 01/08/16 from 7:00-9:00am at the Double Tree Hotel near Arden Mall.
Our Collective New Year’s Resolution
“#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project–taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.”
Don’t wait until they come for you.
Revolt against a racist state.
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.” –Assata Shakur