Think the System Is “Listening to People’s Outrage About Police Murder”?
February 14, 2022 | revcom.us
In the U.S. last year, cops shot and killed at least 1,055 people. Since 2015, the pigs have murdered about 1,000 a year.1 This 2021 death toll now represents a new high.
This rise in the number of people killed by the police comes despite mass protests and increased public outrage at the epidemic of police murder.
A Washington Post article reports this 2021 increase and then goes on to quote a number of “experts,” like criminologists and mathematicians (!) who say this is “small,” a sign of “stagnation,” “unsurprising,” and “insignificant.”2
One thousand a year was already way too many! And now these “experts” are further rationalizing, with complete inhumanity and lack of compassion, the growing epidemic of police murder. We should require these “experts” to talk to the loved ones of all those who have been killed by the police. They should have to listen to the stories of families who have suffered unimaginable heartbreak, whose lives are changed forever after their husband, father, son or daughter is gunned down by the police.
Take the case of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, killed on March 29, 2021. Chicago pigs chased Adam, ordered him to stop and show his hands. Video shows Toledo stopping and raising his hands as a cop shoots and kills him.
Or 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was stopped by cops in a Minneapolis suburb on April 11, 2021 for the “traffic violation” of having an air freshener on his rear view mirror. A short while later, Daunte was dead after a pig shot him and then claimed she thought she had pulled a Taser, not a gun—which looks and feels completely different than a Taser.
Or 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr., who was murdered on April 20, 2021 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Pigs stopped Brown to deliver an arrest warrant for selling drugs, then summarily delivered a death sentence with a fatal shot to the back of Brown’s head as he sat with his hands on the steering wheel of his car and then tried to flee for his life.
Or the 8-year-old girl Fanta Bility, killed by the pigs in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania on August 27, 2021. The cops fired at a car outside a high school football game because they mistakenly thought someone in the car was firing at them. Four people were hit by the pigs’ gunfire and Fanta Bility died of her injuries.
And so many more in 2021 and in the many decades before.
In response to the people’s anger against police murder, the pigs are crying about how they’re not “respected” and are being hindered from “doing their job” (i.e., freely brutalizing and killing people). And across the country there is a push for more police and more police powers. Like in New York City where the new ex-pig mayor Eric Adams plans to bring back “stop and frisk” and recently announced his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” which reads more like a “Blueprint of Unleashed Piggery.”3
The rise in people being killed by the police comes after George Floyd was choked to death by a Minneapolis pig in 2020 and then the beautiful uprising where millions of people protested all over the U.S. and internationally. It comes after new rounds of do-nothing, ineffective reforms like pigs partnering with mental health experts to respond to people in crisis, civilian review boards, more than 400 bills introduced in state legislatures in 2021 regarding police murder, and more cops wearing body cams. It comes despite all the efforts, some well-intentioned, that have aimed to stop wanton murder by cops, like calls to “defund” or even “dismantle” the police, replacing them with a different kind of police and then using the money to meet the needs of the people.
As Bob Avakian, BA, has pointed out,
Fighting back against oppression, and wrenching concessions from the powers-that-be, is very important—in enabling masses of people to feel their own strength in standing up and standing together in opposing oppression, and drawing people from all parts of society to join in this struggle—rather than feeling isolated, beaten down and hopeless.4
And, as the Call and Declaration from the revcoms notes, “We have seen the potential for revolution powerfully demonstrated just last summer [of 2020] when millions of people, of all races and genders, all over this country, and all around the world, rose up together against racist oppression and police murder.”5
But as BA points out, the “priorities” of the system we live under are determined by its basic nature. And, “To end police terror you have to put an end to the system that needs police terror,” which can only be done through a real revolution. But this does not mean that people should not fight back against the system now and demand various reforms. We do need a revolution to actually get rid of all the horrors of this system. But to those who might ask if this means the only thing that can be done now is to “wait” for this revolution to “magically” come about, BA says:
NO. This revolution must be actively, consciously, scientifically worked for. And a big part of this is fighting back now against institutionalized white supremacy and police terror, as well as the other ways that this system oppresses, degrades, and slaughters masses of people, in every part of the world, while plundering the environment—building these struggles as powerfully as possible, linking them together on the basis of the recognition that they all have a common source in this system of capitalism-imperialism, and building up the basis to bring down this system through an actual revolution.6
1. Police shootings database 2015-2022, Washington Post, Updated February 9, 2021 [back]
2. “ Fatal police shootings in 2021 set record since The Post began tracking, despite public outcry,” Washington Post, February 9, 2022 [back]
3. “ Eric Adams’ War on Crime Is A WAR ON THE PEOPLE,” revcom.us, January 31, 2022 [back]
4. “Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System,” Bob Avakian, revcom.us, June 15, 2020 [back]
5. A DECLARATION, A CALL TO GET ORGANIZED NOW FOR A REAL REVOLUTION, revcom.us, April 7, 2021 [back]
6. “Police and Prisons: Reformist Illusions and the Revolutionary Solution,” Bob Avakian, revcom.us, July 20, 2020 [back]