Thursday, November 7, 2013

We need to get the police off the streets of Chicago. QED.

[UPDATE: There was a press conference on Friday, November 8, 2013 calling for the resignation of State's Attorney Anita Alvarez - info and photos at: Anita Alvarez - Resign or be Impeached!]

We need to get the police off the streets of Chicago.

That's the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from the analysis of the State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in the police killing of Flint Farmer.  Police officer Gildardo Sierra encountered Farmer at night and discharged all 16 rounds in his firearm over the course of 4 seconds, killing Farmer. Prosecutors determined that no charges should be brought against Sierra because they "did not think that they could show that the shooting was unreasonable." (See "No charges for cop in 2011 fatal shooting caught on video".)

There are lots of "trees" in this case (the dashcam video showed flashes from Sierra's gun as Farmer lay face down on the ground . . . Sierra claims Farmer pointed his cellphone at him and he thought Farmer was armed . . . Sierra was drinking before coming on duty . . . Farmer had a history . . . Sierra had a history . . . . ) but it's important that we keep our eye on the "forest." The "forest" is this:
Police encounter man on street
Police shoot man
Man dies
(Oh yes, and it was dark.)

According to the State's Attorney's theory of this case, this is "business as usual in Chicago."

UNLESS you want to mention a couple of other "trees" in this case: Farmer was black and the encounter happened in a black neighborhood.

Okay, let's try that again:
Police encounter black man on street
Police shoot black man
Black man dies
Business as usual in Chicago.

We need to get the police off the streets of Chicago.


Related posts

A campaign exists to bring about a democratically-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in Chicago. The campaign would involve the people in electing the watchers of the police, and put the ultimate control of (and responsibility for) the police in the hands of the citizens of Chicago.

(See Does a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) need to be part of a "new plan of Chicago"? )

A large number of people are marked for exclusion and deprivation -- and worse -- because they have characteristics that are susceptible to the whole apparatus of power:  they are easily recognizable as  NOT "normal" or "right" or "acceptable" . . . under the gaze of surveillance this condition is recorded and propagated . . . for perpetual recording and processing within the data centers of power . . . accompanied by intermittent acts of physical and cultural injury -- random, senseless -- to reinforce their unshakeable status. 

(See Drone Gaze, Drone Injury: The War on Communities of Color)

All the cameras and microphones and reporters were out in force that day -- and their appearance suggested to me that it does make a difference to take a stand for justice. And maybe the fact that some of us thought this was important enough to come out, hold signs, chant, and march, helped back up that message.

(See Chicago Justice: Connecting the Dots )

Cook County Jail is the perfect example of the nationwide injustice that Michelle Alexander described in her groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow: mass incarceration, focused principally one people of color, in which "crimes" (often related to drug possession or other low-level offenses) become the mechanism for entrapping people in a cycle of incarceration that is brutalizing and often begins a downward spiral of lifetime discrimination.

(See Free Them All )

Other related links

October 17, 2014 - "We must address racial disparity in police shootings" by Mary Sanchez in The Kansas City Star: "Let's be honest. If police were killing white males at such rates, there would be national outcry to rein in law enforcement."