In recent days SF Mayor Ed ‘Emperor’ Lee has come under fire about his public admiration of New York City’s infamous Stop and Frisk Police..The idea that he might adapt that policy led to a series of angry denouncements, demonstrations, lots of emails and phone calls to his office. Topping all of this was this recent stinging rebuke from Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report..
MAYOR LEE’S STATEMENT CLARIFYING “STOP & FRISK POLICY”
AND SAN FRANCISCO
Mayor Ed Lee
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued the following statement on San Francisco and “Stop and Frisk Policy”:
“The month of June in San Francisco experienced a spike in shootings and homicides in our Southeast
neighborhoods. This is unacceptable and while I take this issue extremely seriously, I want to be clear that I
have not considered implementing a policy in San Francisco that would violate anyone’s constitutional rights or
that would result in racial profiling. I have stated that I am willing to look at what other cities are doing to
reduce gun violence, including cities like New York and Philadelphia that both have stop and frisk programs.
I have been meeting with community leaders, have attended services to meet with congregants and have met
with law enforcement about this issue. We share grave concerns about gun violence and its disproportionate
impact on communities of color and youth in San Francisco. We need to do more.
Public safety can only be achieved through collaboration and partnership between law enforcement and the
communities we all serve. Community policing and community development efforts have important roles to
play in the prevention of violence, and I will continue to meet with community leaders and faith based
organizations to advance these priorities.
I want to be very clear. As a former human rights director and civil rights attorney, I hold the individual
protections afforded to us all under the 4th Amendment as sacrosanct. As we continue our discussions to reduce
violence and get guns out of our communities, I will not support, nor will I put forward any proposal that will
violate any such protections, but I am willing to move forward with bold ideas that get to results.
I will continue to work with the community to end gun violence in San Francisco.”
Some of the families of loved ones slain by police in Northern California
This past weekend at Everett & Jones restaurant in Jack London Square, there was a gathering of more than 10 mothers and members of their family who have all lost sons, daughters and husbands to police violence over the past 2 years…It was sobering, powerful and healing. It was also shocking to see so many families and hear story after story of how they lost loved ones to police terror. We heard from the mothers of Kenneth Harding, Derick Jones, Derrick Gaines, Rahiem Brown Jr, James Rivera and Oscar Grant..all gunned down by police.
The families came together for the second anniversary of Oscar Grant Verdict Day.. This was the day that a jury in Los Angeles, handed down their controversial decision about Johannes Mehserle, the killer cop who shot an unarmed handcuffed Oscar Grant in the back at point-blank range in front of hundreds of BART subway riders in Oakland, Ca on New Years morning 2009. Millions of people all over the world saw the shocking video and just knew that Mehersle would go to jail for a long time over his egregious actions.
On July 8th 2010, the LA jury came back with a verdict of involuntary manslaughter which left thousands of people who had gathered in downtown Oakland stunned. Adding insult to injury, the Grant verdict was overshadowed by another ‘controversial decision’ being made that day-What basketball team NBA star Lebron James would choose. Many in the national media gave their time and attention to James and the NBA while folks in Oakland and the Bay Area were left pondering the injustice that was served before them after 18 long months of organizing and jumping over legal hurdle after legal hurdle.
Many that day walked away thinking that while the verdict was unjust that hopefully police got the message and would change their ways. There would be more caution and concern exercised by police departments, not just in Oakland, but all over the country. This weekends gathering was proof that if anything the Grant verdict emboldened police to act with reckless abandon.
Unarmed Rekia Boyd was shot in the head by a Chicago Cop
Instead of a decline in police violence we seen a marked increase. Since the Grant verdict day, we’ve seen an outrageous 680 thousand people stopped and frisked in New York with over 90% of those stops being Black and Brown men with less than 5% resulting in any weapons recovered. Stop and Frisk led to the shooting death of unarmed Ramarley Graham We’ve seen police shoot a motorist Hernendez L Dowdy in Memphis, Tn after someone falsely accused him of car jacking. We’ve seen police in Pasadena shoot 19-year-old Kendrec McDade falsely accused of stealing a computer. We seen an officer in Chicago shoot an innocent bystander named Rekia Boyd after he mistakenly thought the man standing next to her had a gun.. We seen police in White Plains New York shoot unarmed army vet, a senior citizen named Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.. who accidently set off his medical alert pendant. The officer at the center of the killing has a sordid history of brutality and racism. .. We seen Oakland police shoot high school senior Alan Bluford in the back and then lie about the self-inflicted wound the officer suffered. He shot himself and blamed Bluford. OPD has still refused to officially identify the officer.
We could go on for days citing story after story along with the fact that in many cities all over the United States police brutality incidents and police killing civilians are on the rise..For example, in Los Angeles which was supposed to have drastically reformed their police department, we seen a huge increase in police shootings. The department tried to blame it on citizens attacking them more. That assertion has since been disputed.Whats crazy about LA is that police pushed to get the city council to support a law that will keep officers records sealed from the public.
The bottom line is this.. Police are out of control and when it comes to Black people they are even more so..Today the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a Report on Extrajudicial Killings…Its pretty detailed and extensive.. It shows that since Jan 1 2012 , they have documented 110 Black people being killed. That amounts to one Black person being killed by police every 40 hours.. Since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin police and shot and killed over 80 Black people..This is outrageous and unacceptable..
Here’s the official press release and links to the report..
“Report on Extrajudicial Killings of 110 Black People since January 1st, 2012.”
Every 40 hours in the United States one Black woman, man or child is killed by police, and by a smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes. These are the startling findings of a new Report on Extrajudicial Killings of Black People released July 9, 2012.
What motivated the round-the-clock research for this new Report? More than two years ago, on New Year’s Eve, police killed two innocent men: Oscar Grant in Oakland, Adolph Grimes in New Orleans and shot Robert Tolan in a Houston suburb. Based on research started in 2009 after those murders, we learned there were a lot more killings that had not yet been uncovered. Then, after Trayvon’s murder, there was a huge public outcry and a few headlines about more killings. More grieving families and more calls for investigation. Further research became urgent and it demonstrated that Trayvon’s death was not an isolated tragedy. Between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012, at least 110 Black people were killed by police and their “deputies”.
“Any one of these people killed could have been my son or your husband or daughter”, says Arlene Eisen, member of the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee and co-author of the Report.
Rosa Clemente of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement elaborates, “Nowhere is a Black woman or man safe from racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance, and overriding suspicion. All Black people – regardless of education, class, occupation, behavior or dress – are subject to the whims of the police in this epidemic of state initiated or condoned violence.”
The Report, produced by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the “No More Trayvon Martins” campaign, is part of a larger effort. Kali Akuno, MXGM member and report co-author explained, “The Report shows how people of African descent remain subjected to institutionalized racist policies and procedures that arbitrarily stop, frisk, arrest, brutalize and even execute Black people. The killing will continue despite calls for investigations and lawsuits. We urge people to read this Report and join us in demanding that the Obama administration implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to stop these killings and other human rights violations being committed by the government”.
On Tuesday July 10th we will be doing a special broadcast on 94.1 fm KPFA at 8am PST.. www.kpfa.org This broadcast will include members of MXGM as well as family members who lost loved ones to police violence.. There will also be information on upcoming actions to take place around police violence. We will also be premiering a new song from Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X called Riot which addresses the police violence and this report..
Today’s NY Times has a good article on Stop-and Frisk that everyone should read… Here’s a brief excerpt..
The questions are probing, authoritative, but less accusatory. “What are you doing here?” “Do you live here?” “Can I see some identification, please?” During the pat-down, they ask, “Do you have anything on you?” They nudge further: “You don’t mind if I search you, do you?” They explain that someone of a matching description robbed a store a few days ago, or that the stop is a random one, part of a program in a high-crime area. Then they apologize for the stop and say the person is free to go.
In interviews with 100 people who said they had been stopped by the New York police in neighborhoods where the practice is most common, many said the experience left them feeling intruded upon and humiliated. And even when officers extended niceties, like “Have a nice night,” or called them “sir” and “ma’am,” people said they questioned whether the officer was being genuine.
As your reading this keep in mind a few things about the history of police and controlling populations. During the 1950s in LA Police Chief William H Parker had a policy of suppression. Under him, LAPD kept Black and Brown folks in sectioned off communities. Many African-Americans lived in what we now know as Watts.. Back in the days it was called the Duck Pond by police who would literally go hunting and make sure Black folks didn’t leave and enter other parts of the city..During that time LA had strict housing covenants that restricted Black and Brown folks from living in certain communities.
Aggressive harassment was routine and was designed to ‘keep folks in their place’…Parker enhanced this harassment by recruiting officers from the deep south who had hostilities toward Blacks to be on the police force. These officers made it a point to humiliate adults in front of their kids or on husbands in front of their wives…
Chief Parker who coined the term ‘Thin Blue line’ employed an even more sinister tactic..He made it a policy for officers to make sure they engaged as many young Black teens and pre-teens as possible. His philosophy was to establish a presence and dominance while they were still young and let them know who was boss.
There was study done in the 60s that showed that 90% of the juveniles arrested by LAPD were not charged. This was essentially Stop-N-Frisk decades before it showed up as police practice in NYC.
Parker’s harsh policies are what led to the explosion we now know as the Watts Riots.
Many were under the illusion that LAPD improved after those riots, but by the time the 1992 Rodney King uprisings took place, LAPD had replaced what they did under Parker with a new policy called Operation Hammer where they started keeping a gang data base. Chief Darryl Gates who replaced Parker used this resulting in 47% of Black males between the ages of 21-25 in Los Angles being deemed gang members thanks to the database.
Seems like Mayor Bloomberg & Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are heavily borrowing from the sordid legacies of LAPD Chiefs Chief William H Parker & Darryl Gates
With respect to NYC and the over 680 thousand people who have been stopped and frisk, things are headed off a cliff. It was just two weeks ago over 30 thousand people showed up and did a silent march down 5th avenue. One of the goals was to get a meeting with Mayor Bloomberg who has strongly supported Stop and Frisk. In spite of the dignified and solemn tone of the march, Bloomberg promptly refused to meet with organizers….Sounds like Chief Parker all over again both in terms of tactics being used and the dismissive response to complaints and concerns
I know one thing with all the police harassment going on in NY, visiting it does not seem too appealing anymore. Images of White shirted officers beating protestors or horrific stories of men cops randomly stopping you is definitely not the lick. Maybe the goal for Bloomberg and police commissioner Raymond Kelly is to get Black and Brown folks who currently make up close to 90% of the stops, to ultimately leave the city.
Again we encourage everyone to peep today’s NY TImes article on Stop and Frisk