Save our Ship. Save our Souls. Save our Society. Save our Sons. Same
Ole Shit. However we define the acronym, it is a distress call. This
country is in crises on so many levels--judicially, politically,
spiritually, economically, etc. This can be witnessed in the stressed
lives of the working class and acutely experienced in Black and Brown
communities. With another racist acquittal of a killer cop, the
haunting question is what we have learned about justice and injustice
since the 2014 Ferguson Uprising. The “we” is both public
decision-makers and our racial justice movement.
St. Louis metro region recently erupted into righteous outage with
the acquittal of a killer cop. Jason Stockley is a disgraced former
St. Louis cop who killed an unarmed Black man in 2011. Just trust me
when I say that of any officer-involved shooting in St. Louis, this
was the case that should’ve resulted in a conviction of some
degree. If not first-degree murder, then second degree or
manslaughter. But nothing! Even the local Black officers’
association and a national Black law enforcement group jointly
called for a conviction. This was a bold and unprecedented move that
inspired our actions.
the evidence that came out at trial: Stockley came to the scene
with an AK-47 in violation of department rules that prohibits
unauthorized personal weapons. During the police chase, Stockley is
heard on the police radio announcing that he’s "killing
this motherf***er." Forty-five seconds later,
Stockley delivers the kill shot, almost at point blank range while
Smith sat in his car incapacitated because of deployed airbags.
Stockley attempts to shield an interior police cam showing him
rummaging in his police duffel bag. A gun later appears on the front
seat of Smith’s car; test results only confirmed Stockley’s
DNA on the gun.
and police cam videos along with the police radio transmissions were
released weeks before the trial. Stockley waived his right to a jury
trial, choosing to comfortably but his fate in the hands of a
supportive white, male judge.
partner refused to testify even when offered immunity. The
formidable Blue Wall of Silence prevailed once again.
is vividly clear to veteran freedom fighters and a new (and growing)
sector of our community that white supremacy will be protected at
all costs. Judge Timothy Wilson’s decision to acquit former
cop Jason Stockley was the tipping point for action for many who
still needed to be convinced that the whole damn system is guilty as
hell. Locally, we have seen our forces increase but that’s
just a first step.
white power structure and its cronies are keeping alive the words of
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney in the St. Louis case
of Dred Scott. Blacks are “…inferior, that they had no
rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro
might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit."
This is the ugly legacy that freedom-loving people of all
backgrounds are still fighting to change.
national body politic infects/affects the state and local
happenings. You have a sitting president who supported racial
violence and murder. trump is responsible for the wave of white
supremacist groups coming out to flex their white muscles in the
name of “Make this Country Great Again” (MAGA). You have
the conspiratorial alliance between police departments, mayors and
prosecutors who consistently send the message that Black lives don’t
matter through their policies and actions. Jeff Sessions made this
clear on his first day as head of the Justice Department. In this
scenario, Black and brown lives are not just collateral damage but
the hard targets of this country’s strategy to maintain the
status quo. All these incendiary elements are adding to the fires of
some take-aways from the Stockley acquittal that can inform your
local organizing against institutional racism and acts of racist
explicit racial bias of the judge was evident in his 30-page
justification. Most notably was his reference that an “urban
heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly."
This showed the world the pedigree and depth of racism that we are
dealing with in the region, often evident in other jurisdictions.
Judges must be held accountable.
said he “did nothing wrong.” According to police policy
and culture, no officer who violates the rights or takes the life of
a Black person has done anything wrong. This is not just an
anti-Black opinion, this is policy. It is a tragic reality that must
standard get-over justification for cop acquittals is that they
“feared for their life.” This excuse must be made
unacceptable and unusable in court. The counter-narrative that we
must elevate and popularize is that Black people fear for their
lives, especially young Black men.
opted for a bench trial. Trial by judge does not have to be
automatically granted; judges can refuse the motion for a bench
trial, especially if there’s a vested community interest in
the outcome. Only a trial by jury is a constitutional right.
Communities should be mindful of this new possible trend and
vigorously oppose it as the easy way out for cops to avoid
is a hashtag and rallying call which signifies that the business
life of the region will be disrupted. You won’t always know in
advance when and where it will happen but if the safety and security
of Black people are shattered daily so must be the flow of capital.
Organize accordingly to shut it down as part of an ongoing strategy.
country spends billions to uphold white supremacy at the expense of
working people and people of color. This comes in the forms of
opposing fair wages, legal actions and settlements by police and
corporations for criminal acts, payoff to lawmakers and lobbyists to
undercut laws that protect citizen rights, the roll-back of laws and
policies that protect people and the environment, and the list goes
on. We must demand re-investment those dollars into our communities
for living wages, viable communities and public institutions that
are accountable to people not corporations.
movements need to build stronger organizations with the capabilities
to politicize masses of people around strategic objectives. This
must be done is an intentional and planned way if we are to develop
leaders in our communities who are committed to radical
transformation and not self-promotion.
is no U.S. Calvary coming to save us. In the wisdom of our elders,
we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Organize accordingly.