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EARTH FIRST – DEFEND THE PLANET – On Sabotage and Arson Attacks in Europe

24 Jul

Image from http://www.adbusters.org/spoofads/environmental/

 

by Paris sous Tension n°10 (juillet/août 2017) / Attaque translated by Earth First! Journal

If silence is frightening, it is perhaps because the absence of familiar sounds tends to reject us on ourselves. When we advance in the silent darkness, it is not uncommon for us to speak to ourselves, to whistle a little refrain, to think out loud not to find ourselves a prey to the anguish. This is not easy and may even require some exercise, as our brains have been conditioned to identify silence with danger, darkness with risk. It is the anguish that the emptiness provokes, the feeling of being on the edge of the abyss and not being able to turn our eyes away from the abyss that opens before us. Yet it is also at such times that one tends to be closer to oneself, without an intermediary, with a presence of mind and emotion much more assertive.

It is difficult to find silence or obscurity in the modern world. Industrial noises always accompany us, the devices emit their electronic sounds permanently, and if not, there is almost always one to fill the void with gossip as impenetrable as superficial. Today, the fear of the void, the anguish of silence is sublimated by permanent connectivity. Never alone, never in silence, never before the abyss. And so, never face to face with ourselves. Calls and voices from the “inside,” the whole universe of imagination, consciousness, sensitivity, reflection, are rendered mute, ignored, flattened and replaced by the continuous bombardment of information, E-mails, appointments, consumer warnings, and reminders. Thus, the modern world is completing the inner universe of the individual. With the annihilated interior, the human being will find himself in ideal conditions to accept slavery, even to embrace slavery without even having the ability to understand the state in which he is: Caught in the web.

All this is certainly not new. The history of oppression did not start with the smartphone. Not so long ago, the conditioning of the human spirit was done mainly through a galaxy of camps. The factory camp, the education camp that is the school, the control camp that is the family authority and the places of worship. Nevertheless, despite the threads woven between all these structures of domination, there was still, relatively speaking, a lot of emptiness. And this void was going to fuel the revolt in the camps, and vice versa. The prisoner who is mutinous has, nevertheless, his eyes riveted on the horizon beyond the walls, it does not matter if his imagination of this horizon can please us or not. Although the camps of all types have certainly not disappeared, the ongoing capitalist and state restructuring, notably through the increasingly widespread introduction of technology, is aimed, beyond increased exploitation and control, more totalitarian, to the elimination of all emptiness. The adage of permanent connectivity is at the heart of this deadly symphony. Connected, we are always a bit at work, a little in family, a little in the supermarket, a little at the concert. Connected, one is always exposed to the injunctions of power, to the summons to consume, to the eyes of the control. We are entirely at the disposal of capital, we are the slaves who wear invisible collars.

Someone said that if the society is an open-air prison, the modern cells must be these antennas and communications relays that contrast everywhere with the blue sky, and the barbed wire optic fibers and electrical cables. Indeed, for those who dream of stopping the reproduction of domination, it seems to be paramount that they can look elsewhere and otherwise. It is not that the local police station should no longer attract the attention of the enemy of authority, or that the window of the bank would not deserve to be smashed, or that the court should not receive [what it deserves], but it is also true that domination has spread over the territory a vast number of relatively small and unprotected structures, of which more and more, if not almost everything, depend. It is in these little things that the invisible web which encloses us and which allows the restructuring of capital and of the State materializes. It is there that the arteries of domination which irrigate the exploitation and oppression can be attacked; this is where technological prostheses and their enslaved chatter can be silenced.

This is what happened when a fire destroyed the technical installations and cables of France 3, on April 21, 2017 in Vanves (Hauts-Seines), disrupting emissions. This is what happened when anonymous hands cut an Orange telephone cable in Morbihan on May 4, fifteen minutes before the presidential debate, depriving thousands of viewers and hundreds of companies of their connectivity. This is what happened on Monte Finonchio in Trentino, Italy, when in solidarity with imprisoned anarchists, several relays and cabins for radio, television, mobile telephony and military communication Were destroyed by fire on 7 June, the day after the conviction of an anarchist companion for a bank robbery by the court of Aachen in Germany. This happened on 12 June in Hamburg, where a subway station was set on fire. This is what happened a few days later when night owls burned a television transmitter and a mobile phone antenna in Piégros-la-Clastre in the Drôme on 15 June, and later stated that “the pylons Which grow everywhere are sensitive and vulnerable points because they are points of concentration of flow and because it suffices a few liters of gasoline to seriously damage them. “And on June 23, it is in Vilvoorde in Belgium that a relay antenna is destroyed by a voluntary fire.

These few examples, probably far from exhaustive and all drawn from the last few weeks, show that everywhere, the cut is possible. It must also be said that, unlike the authoritarian who can only conceive of the world’s upheaval through the taking of the temples of power and the management of large masses, a sort of impossible symmetry with a much better equipped enemy, We anarchists emphasize the agility of small groups, the capacity of the individual, the spread of hostilities rather than their centralization, inter-individual relations of reciprocity, trust and knowledge. Such a way of organizing seems to us much more interesting to attack the ever more tentacular enemy, dependent on the interconnection between all its structures. Faced with the spread of a vast number of small transmission structures on the territory, nothing is more appropriate than a myriad of small groups, acting autonomously, able to co-ordinate with each other when this makes sense, practicing the old art of sabotage against the arteries of power. In the silence they impose on machines, in the perturbation they inflict on the “real time” of domination, we will find ourselves face to face with ourselves. And this is an unavoidable condition for a practice of freedom.

***FRENCH***

Si le silence fait peur, c’est peut-être parce que l’absence de bruits familiers tend à nous rejeter sur nous-mêmes. Quand on avance dans l’obscurité silencieuse, il n’est pas rare qu’on se parle à nous-mêmes, qu’on siffle un petit refrain, qu’on réfléchisse à haute voix pour ne pas se retrouver en proie à l’angoisse. Cela n’est pas facile et peut même exiger un peu d’exercice, car nos cerveaux ont été conditionnés pour identifier silence avec danger, obscurité avec risque. C’est l’angoisse que provoque le vide, le sentiment de se trouver au bord de l’abîme et de ne pas être capable de détourner les yeux du gouffre qui s’ouvre devant nous. Pourtant, ce sont aussi à ces moments-là qu’on a tendance à se trouver au plus près de soi-même, sans intermédiaire, avec une présence de l’esprit et de l’émotion bien plus affirmée.

Difficile de trouver encore du silence ou de l’obscurité dans le monde moderne. Les bruits industriels nous accompagnent toujours, les appareils émettent en permanence leurs sons électroniques, et sinon il y en a presque toujours un pour remplir le vide avec des bavardages aussi imbuvables que superficiels. Aujourd’hui, la peur du vide, l’angoisse du silence est entre autres sublimée par la connectivité permanente. Jamais seul, jamais en silence, jamais devant l’abîme. Et donc, jamais face à face avec nous-mêmes. Les appels et les voix de « l’intérieur », tout cet univers que constituent l’imagination, la conscience, la sensibilité, la réflexion, sont rendus muets, ignorés, aplatis et remplacés par le bombardement continu d’informations, de bruits, de messages électroniques, de rendez-vous, de sommations à la consommation, de rappels à l’ordre. Ainsi, le monde moderne est en train d’achever l’univers intérieur de l’individu. Avec l’intérieur anéanti, l’être humain va se retrouver dans des conditions idéales pour accepter l’esclavage, voire pour embrasser l’esclavage sans même disposer de capacités de compréhension de l’état dans lequel il se trouve. Pris dans la toile.

Tout cela n’est certes pas nouveau. L’histoire de l’oppression n’a pas commencé avec le smartphone. Il n’y a pas si longtemps, le conditionnement de l’esprit humain se faisait surtout à travers une galaxie de camps. Le camp de travail qu’est l’usine, le camp d’éducation qu’est l’école, le camp de contrôle que sont l’autorité familiale et les lieux de culte. N’empêche que malgré les fils tissés entre toutes ces structures de la domination, il restait encore, relativement parlant, beaucoup de vide. Et ce vide allait alimenter la révolte dans les camps, et inversement. Le prisonnier qui se mutine a, malgré tout, les yeux rivés sur l’horizon au-delà des murs, peu importe si son imaginaire de cet horizon peut nous plaire ou pas. Si les camps de tout type n’ont certes pas disparu, la restructuration capitaliste et étatique en cours, notamment à travers l’implantation toujours plus vaste de technologies, vise, au-delà d’une exploitation plus accrue et d’un contrôle encore plus totalitaire, à l’élimination de tout vide. L’adage de la connectivité permanente est au cœur de cette symphonie mortifère. Connecté, on est toujours un peu au boulot, un peu en famille, un peu au supermarché, un peu au concert. Relié, on est toujours exposé aux injonctions du pouvoir, aux sommations de consommer, aux yeux du contrôle. Nous sommes entièrement à disposition du capital, nous sommes les esclaves qui portent des colliers invisibles.

Quelqu’un disait que si la société est une prison à ciel ouvert, les guérites modernes doivent bien être ces antennes et relais de communication qui contrastent partout avec le ciel bleu, et les barbelés les fibres optiques et les câbles électriques. En effet, pour celles et ceux qui rêvent d’enrayer la reproduction de la domination, il semble être primordial qu’ils et elles arrivent à regarder ailleurs et autrement. Ce n’est pas que le commissariat du coin ne devrait plus attirer l’attention de l’ennemi de l’autorité, ou que la vitrine de la banque ne mériterait pas d’être fracassée, ou que le tribunal ne devrait pas recevoir des visites enragées, mais c’est aussi vrai que la domination a diffusé sur le territoire une vaste quantité de structures relativement petites et peu protégées dont toujours plus de choses, pour ne pas dire presque tout, dépendent. C’est dans ces petites choses que la toile invisible qui nous enferme et qui permet la restructuration du capital et de l’État se matérialisent. C’est là que peuvent être attaquées les artères de la domination qui irriguent les chmps de l’exploitation et de l’oppression ; c’est là que peuvent être réduites au silence les prothèses technologiques et leurs bavardages asservissants.

C’est ce qui s’est passé quand un feu a détruit les installations techniques et les câbles de France 3, le 21 avril 2017 à Vanves (Hauts-les-Seines), perturbant les émissions. C’est ce qui s’est passé quand des mains anonymes ont coupé un câble téléphonique Orange dans le Morbihan, le 4 mai, quinze minutes avant le débat présidentiel, privant des milliers de téléspectateurs et des centaines d’entreprises de leur connectivité. C’est ce qui s’est passé sur le Monte Finonchio dans le Trentin en Italie quand en solidarité avec des anarchistes emprisonnés, plusieurs relais et cabines de gestion de la radio, de la télévision, de la téléphonie mobile et de la communication militaire ont été détruits par le feu le 7 juin, le lendemain de la condamnation d’une compagnonne anarchiste pour un braquage de banque par le tribunal d’Aix-la-Chapelle en Allemagne. C’est ce qui s’est passé le 12 juin à Hambourg où une antenne-relais du métro a été incendiée. C’est ce qui s’est encore passé quelques jours plus tard quand des noctambules ont brûlé un émetteur de télévision et une antenne de téléphonie mobile à Piégros-la-Clastre dans la Drôme le 15 juin, précisant par la suite que « les pylônes qui poussent un peu partout sont des points névralgiques et vulnérables parce que ce sont des points de concentration des flux et parce qu’il suffit de quelques litres d’essence pour les endommager gravement. » Et, le 23 juin, c’est à Vilvorde en Belgique qu’une antenne-relais est détruite par un incendie volontaire.

Ces quelques exemples, sans doute loin d’être exhaustifs et tous tirés des dernières semaines, montrent qu’un peu partout, la coupure est possible. Il faut dire aussi qu’à l’inverse des autoritaires qui ne peuvent concevoir le bouleversement du monde qu’à travers la prise des temples du pouvoir et la gestion de masses importantes, en une sorte de symétrie impossible avec un ennemi bien mieux équipé, nous, anarchistes, mettons en avant l’agilité de petits groupes, les capacités de l’individu, la diffusion des hostilités plutôt que leur centralisation, des rapports interindividuels de réciprocité, de confiance et de connaissance. Une telle manière de s’organiser nous paraît bien plus intéressante pour attaquer l’ennemi toujours plus tentaculaire et dépendant de l’interconnexion entre toutes ses structures. Face à la dissémination sur le territoire d’une vaste quantité de petites structures de transmission, rien n’est plus adapté qu’une myriade de petits groupes, agissant en autonomie, capables de se coordonner entre eux quand cela fait sens, pratiquant de façon diffuse le vieil art du sabotage contre les artères du pouvoir. Dans le silence qu’ils imposent aux machines, dans la perturbation qu’ils infligent au « temps réel » de la domination, on se retrouvera face à face avec nous-mêmes. Et cela est une condition incontournable pour une pratique de la liberté.

 

 

 

 

Earth First – Serve the People – Defend the Planet and all its life forms at all costs and by any means necessary! Rise Up and Defend your Mother!

 

Comply or Die: the Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force

14 Jul

“Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us? The constitutional theory is that we the people are the sovereigns, the state and federal officials only our agents. We who have the final word can speak softly or angrily. We can seek to challenge and annoy, as we need not stay docile and quiet.”

—Justice William O. Douglas, dissenting, Colten v. Kentucky, 407 U.S. 104 (1972)

Forget everything you’ve ever been taught about free speech in America.

It’s all a lie.

 

 

There can be no free speech for the citizenry when the government speaks in a language of force.

What is this language of force?

Militarized police. Riot squads. Camouflage gear. Black uniforms. Armored vehicles. Mass arrests. Pepper spray. Tear gas. Batons. Strip searches. Surveillance cameras. Kevlar vests. Drones. Lethal weapons. Less-than-lethal weapons unleashed with deadly force. Rubber bullets. Water cannons. Stun grenades. Arrests of journalists. Crowd control tactics. Intimidation tactics. Brutality.

This is not the language of freedom.

This is not even the language of law and order.

This is the language of force.

Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo.

This police overkill isn’t just happening in troubled hot spots such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., where police brutality gave rise to civil unrest, which was met with a militarized show of force that caused the whole stew of discontent to bubble over into violence.

A decade earlier, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests of peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists who had gathered for the 2004 Republican National Convention. The protesters were subjected to blanket fingerprinting and detained for more than 24 hours at a “filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.” That particular exercise in police intimidation tactics cost New York City taxpayers nearly $18 million for what would become the largest protest settlement in history.

Demonstrators, journalists and legal observers who had gathered in North Dakota to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline reported being pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and strip searched by police.

More recently, this militarized exercise in intimidation reared its ugly head in the college town of Charlottesville, Va., where protesters who took to the streets to peacefully express their disapproval of a planned KKK rally were held at bay by implacable lines of gun-wielding riot police. Only after a motley crew of Klansmen had been safely escorted to and from the rally by black-garbed police did the assembled army of city, county and state police declare the public gathering unlawful and proceed to unleash canisters of tear gas on the few remaining protesters to force them to disperse.

To be clear, this is the treatment being meted out to protesters across the political spectrum.

The police state does not discriminate.

 

 

As a USA Today article notes, “Federally arming police with weapons of war silences protesters across all justice movements… People demanding justice, demanding accountability or demanding basic human rights without resorting to violence, should not be greeted with machine guns and tanks. Peaceful protest is democracy in action. It is a forum for those who feel disempowered or disenfranchised. Protesters should not have to face intimidation by weapons of war.”

A militarized police response to protesters poses a danger to all those involved, protesters and police alike. In fact, militarization makes police more likely to turn to violence to solve problems.

As a recent study by researchers at Stanford University makes clear, “When law enforcement receives more military materials — weapons, vehicles and tools — it becomes … more likely to jump into high-risk situations. Militarization makes every problem — even a car of teenagers driving away from a party — look like a nail that should be hit with an AR-15 hammer.”

Even the color of a police officer’s uniform adds to the tension. As the Department of Justice reports, “Some research has suggested that the uniform color can influence the wearer—with black producing aggressive tendencies, tendencies that may produce unnecessary conflict between police and the very people they serve.”

You want to turn a peaceful protest into a riot?

Bring in the militarized police with their guns and black uniforms and warzone tactics and “comply or die” mindset. Ratchet up the tension across the board. Take what should be a healthy exercise in constitutional principles (free speech, assembly and protest) and turn it into a lesson in authoritarianism.

 

 

Mind you, those who respond with violence are playing into the government’s hands perfectly.

The government wants a reason to crack down and lock down and bring in its biggest guns.

They want us divided. They want us to turn on one another.

They want us powerless in the face of their artillery and armed forces.

They want us silent, servile and compliant.

They certainly do not want us to remember that we have rights, let alone attempting to exercise those rights peaceably and lawfully.

And they definitely do not want us to engage in First Amendment activities that challenge the government’s power, reveal the government’s corruption, expose the government’s lies, and encourage the citizenry to push back against the government’s many injustices.

You know how the Charlottesville mayor characterized the tear gassing of protesters by the riot police? He called it an “unfortunate event.”

Unfortunate, indeed.

You know what else is unfortunate?

It’s unfortunate that these overreaching, heavy-handed lessons in how to rule by force have become standard operating procedure for a government that communicates with its citizenry primarily through the language of brutality, intimidation and fear.

It’s unfortunate that “we the people” have become the proverbial nails to be hammered into submission by the government and its vast armies.

And it’s particularly unfortunate that government officials—especially police—seem to believe that anyone who wears a government uniform—soldier, police officer, prison guard—must be obeyed without question.

The rationale goes like this:

Do exactly what I say, and we’ll get along fine. Do not question me or talk back in any way. You do not have the right to object to anything I may say or ask you to do, or ask for clarification if my demands are unclear or contradictory. You must obey me under all circumstances without hesitation, no matter how arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, or blatantly racist my commands may be. Anything other than immediate perfect servile compliance will be labeled as resisting arrest, and expose you to the possibility of a violent reaction from me. That reaction could cause you severe injury or even death. And I will suffer no consequences. It’s your choice: Comply, or die.

 

 

Indeed, as Officer Sunil Dutta of the Los Angeles Police Department advises:

If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.

This is not the rhetoric of a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.

This is not the attitude of someone who understands, let alone respects, free speech.

And this is certainly not what I would call “community policing,” which is supposed to emphasize the importance of the relationship between the police and the community they serve.

Any police officer who tells you that he needs tanks, SWAT teams, and pepper spray to do his job shouldn’t be a police officer in a constitutional republic.

All that stuff in the First Amendment (about freedom of speech, religion, press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances) sounds great in theory. However, it amounts to little more than a hill of beans if you have to exercise those freedoms while facing down an army of police equipped with deadly weapons, surveillance devices, and a slew of laws that empower them to arrest and charge citizens with bogus “contempt of cop” charges(otherwise known as asserting your constitutional rights).

It doesn’t have to be this way.

There are other, far better models to follow.

For instance, back in 2011, the St. Louis police opted to employ a passive response to Occupy St. Louis activists. First, police gave the protesters nearly 36 hours’ notice to clear the area, as opposed to the 20 to 60 minutes’ notice other cities gave. Then, as journalist Brad Hicks reports, when the police finally showed up:

They didn’t show up in riot gear and helmets, they showed up in shirt sleeves with their faces showing. They not only didn’t show up with SWAT gear, they showed up with no unusual weapons at all, and what weapons they had all securely holstered. They politely woke everybody up. They politely helped everybody who was willing to remove their property from the park to do so. They then asked, out of the 75 to 100 people down there, how many people were volunteering for being-arrested duty? Given 33 hours to think about it, and 10 hours to sweat it over, only 27 volunteered. As the police already knew, those people’s legal advisers had advised them not to even passively resist, so those 27 people lined up to be peacefully arrested, and were escorted away by a handful of cops. The rest were advised to please continue to protest, over there on the sidewalk … and what happened next was the most absolutely brilliant piece of crowd control policing I have heard of in my entire lifetime. All of the cops who weren’t busy transporting and processing the voluntary arrestees lined up, blocking the stairs down into the plaza. They stood shoulder to shoulder. They kept calm and silent. They positioned the weapons on their belts out of sight. They crossed their hands low in front of them, in exactly the least provocative posture known to man. And they peacefully, silently, respectfully occupied the plaza, using exactly the same non-violent resistance techniques that the protesters themselves had been trained in.

As Forbes concluded, “This is a more humane, less costly, and ultimately more productive way to handle a protest. This is great proof that police can do it the old fashioned way – using their brains and common sense instead of tanks, SWAT teams, and pepper spray – and have better results.”

 

 

It can be done.

Police will not voluntarily give up their gadgets and war toys and combat tactics, however. Their training and inclination towards authoritarianism has become too ingrained.

If we are to have any hope of dismantling the police state, change must start locally, community by community. Citizens will have to demand that police de-escalate and de-militarize. And if the police don’t listen, contact your city councils and put the pressure on them.

Remember, they work for us. They might not like hearing it—they certainly won’t like being reminded of it—but we pay their salaries.

“We the people” have got to stop accepting the lame excuses trotted out by police as justifications for their inexcusable behavior.

Either “we the people” believe in free speech or we don’t.

Either we live in a constitutional republic or a police state.

We have rights.

As Justice William O. Douglas advised in his dissent in Colten v. Kentucky, “we need not stay docile and quiet” in the face of authority.

The Constitution does not require Americans to be servile or even civil to government officials.

Neither does the Constitution require obedience (although it does insist on nonviolence).

This emphasis on nonviolence goes both ways. Somehow, the government keeps overlooking this important element in the equation.

There is nothing safe or secure or free about exercising your rights with a rifle pointed at you.

The police officer who has been trained to shoot first and ask questions later, oftentimes based only on their highly subjective “feeling” of being threatened, is just as much of a danger—if not more—as any violence that might erupt from a protest rally.

Compliance is no guarantee of safety.

Then again, as I point out in my book Battlefield AmericaThe War on the American People, if we just cower before government agents and meekly obey, we may find ourselves following in the footsteps of those nations that eventually fell to tyranny.

The alternative involves standing up and speaking truth to power. Jesus Christ walked that road. So did Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless other freedom fighters whose actions changed the course of history.

Indeed, had Christ merely complied with the Roman police state, there would have been no crucifixion and no Christian religion. Had Gandhi meekly fallen in line with the British Empire’s dictates, the Indian people would never have won their independence.

Had Martin Luther King Jr. obeyed the laws of his day, there would have been no civil rights movement. And if the founding fathers had marched in lockstep with royal decrees, there would have been no American Revolution.

We must adopt a different mindset and follow a different path if we are to alter the outcome of these interactions with police.

The American dream was built on the idea that no one is above the law, that our rights are inalienable and cannot be taken away, and that our government and its appointed agents exist to serve us.

It may be that things are too far gone to save, but still we must try.

Source: Comply or Die: the Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force

 

We Will Rise Up – Order, Compliance, Obedience these are not Liberties – unobstructed Civil Disobedience Is! All Oppression is Violence and will be met in kind!

BecomeUngovernable – This Problem Isn’t Going Away: Heartless Police Shootings of Unarmed Black Americans Continue Into the Trump Era!

6 May

SAN FRANCISCO—MAY 15, 2015: SFPD officers pat down a black American man in San Francisco. Overall, Black Americans are arrested at 2.6 times the per-capita rate of all other Americans.
Photo Credit: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock

To be black in America means to live in a state of constant vulnerability. To be black in America means to be viscerally aware of this vulnerability especially as it relates to interactions with law enforcement. Walking with friends is dangerous. Playing with a BB gun in the park is a fatal mistake. Looking like a “bad dude” could spell the end of your life.

Even leaving a party is grounds for extrajudicial murder.

This vulnerability bears out statistically as much as it does anecdotally. A study from Drexel University researchers found that black people are 2.8 times more likely than whites to be killed during encounters with law enforcement. A Vox analysis of FBI data found that in 2012, black people composed 31 percent of the victims of police killings, despite comprising only 13 percent of the total United States population.

The police violence imposed upon black bodies has taken an especially pronounced toll on black teens: Between 2010 and 2012, black teens were found to have been 21 times more likely than their white counterparts were to be shot and killed by police, according to ProPublica’s analysis.

These trends show no sign of abating. So far in 2017, black people have constituted 25 percent of the police shooting victims, according to the Washington Post.

Out of the 339 people shot and killed by police this year, 85 of them are black—and it’s only May.

Even being unarmed doesn’t insulate black bodies from being on the receiving end of fatal force. A study from the University of California, Davis, found that the likelihood of unarmed black people being shot by the police is 3.49 times higher than that of unarmed whites. This is the case even though, as independent researchers noted, blacks are less likely to constitute an immediate threat at the time of a fatal police shooting than are whites.

The disparities are even starker for black men. Black men composed 40 percent of all the unarmed victims of fatal police shootings in 2015 and 34 percent of all such victims in 2016, statistics severely disproportionate to their mere 6 percent representation in the United States population.

As Justin Nix, one of the researchers, summarized with chilling simplicity, “The only thing that was significant in predicting whether someone shot and killed by police was unarmed was whether or not they were black.” The other circumstances of the shooting were irrelevant.

Evidence of such implicit bias against black men on the part of police is consistent even in video game simulations. Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that participating police officers were quicker to draw and use their weapons to shoot blacks than whites in situations that warranted such a response. Almost more troubling was a study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which tested for evidence of a “dehumanization bias” in mostly white male police officers in 2014. Not only were the participating officers determined to be consistently dehumanizing blacks, but there also existed a strong correlation among the officers between exhibiting such a tendency to dehumanize and a record of using excessive force on blacks in custody.

It was against this backdrop of institutional and structural racism entrenched within the justice system that Donald Trump ascended to the presidency. Known for the racist rhetoric that drove thousands to his campaign rallies across the country, now-President Trump has shown no sign of changing his tune. In fact, if anything, Trump has doubled down on his hostility toward black (and brown) people: He threatened to “send in the Feds” to Chicago, a dog whistle so loud that it’s just a whistle. And his Justice Department, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a man with his own questionable history of racism, just declined to bring federal charges against the police officers who murdered Alton Sterling, a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong colored skin.

At the same time, however, the Trump administration has been unwavering in its support for police and has made a commitment, according to the White House website, “to empower[ing] our law enforcement officers.” This is in striking contrast to the administration’s threat that its focus isn’t on making “life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disruptor.” (Hint: they’re referring to the black people exercising their First Amendment rights to demand that trigger-happy police stop killing them.)

With a different black person being killed by police seemingly every day, it can be tempting to fit them into a stream of victims of police violence and consolidate them together into faceless, nameless statistics. But they’re not: They had families, careers, and aspirations.

 

 

In the days between the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 21 and May 4, 73 black people have been shot and killed by the police. Five of them were unarmed, including, most recently, Jordan Edwards.

These are the stories of the other four.

1. February 5, 2017: Nana Adomako, 45, Fremont, California

Police were called to a Verizon Wireless store on the afternoon of February 5th to respond to reports of disruptions and threats on the part of a man later identified as Nana Adomako. Adomako left and shortly afterwards encountered a police officer as he was walking along the street. The officer, who recognized Adomako from a previous non-violent interaction, asked him to stop and sit on the curb. Adomako refused and asked why he was being required to stop. He began making nonsensical comments to the officer. Instead of registering Adomako’s comments as evidence of a mental health issue and thinking of ways to verbally calm him, the officer began to assess how he could physically subdue Adomako. Using his Taser was not an option given Adomako’s bulky clothing, so the officer tried to put Adomako in a control hold. The officer also sicced the police canine on Adomako. Adomako allegedly responded with a punch to the officer’s head after the canine attacked the officer instead of him.

The officer shot Adomako three times from close range. Another officer arrived to help. Rather than immediately calling an ambulance or administering preliminary first aid to Adomako, the two first worked together to handcuff the dying man.

Adomako died at the scene.

The officer involved is on paid administrative leave while the Fremont Police Department and the Alameda County District Attorney’s office investigate the shooting. He’s recovering nicely and no charges have been leveled against him.

According to Adomako’s brother Nana Dwomoh, Adomako was struggling with mental health issues. While Dwomoh asked that light be shed on a still unclear truth, he said his brother “didn’t deserve to die this way.”

2. February 8, 2017: Chad Robertson, 25, Chicago, Illinois

Chad Robertson, a 25-year-old father of two, was traveling home to Minneapolis after attending the wedding of a friend in Memphis. He arrived in Chicago for a layover accompanied by two male friends. The three went inside Union Station for a reprieve from the cold where they were soon accosted by two police officers, who suspected them of smoking marijuana. Noticing that they had left their luggage behind at the station in the confusion of the interaction, one of the men returned to retrieve it. The men were confronted again by the two officers.

 

 

Robertson ran when an officer began checking his pockets. According to Robertson’s lawyer, the officer yelled, “If you don’t stop running, I’m going to shoot you.” And he did. Instead of attempting to pursue Robertson or subdue him with a Taser, the officer fired his gun once, hitting the unarmed Robertson in the left shoulder.

Days later, on February 11, Robertson was in critical condition at Stroger Hospital, paralyzed from his shoulders down to the rest of his body. Nina Robertson, Chad’s sister, said that one of the first things her brother, who had been slipping in and out of consciousness, asked her was, “Why did they shoot me? I didn’t do anything wrong.” After learning of his paralysis, Robertson mourned that the “police ruined my life.”

The police did more than ruin Robertson’s life: They took it. He died on February 15.

Apparently the “insignificant amount” of marijuana on his possession was grounds for murder.

The officer who fired the fatal shot was charged with first-degree murder on February 21. Robertson’s family has filed a federal wrongful death suit.

3. February 13, 2017: Raynard Burton, 19, Detroit, Michigan

In a situation that bears a frustrating resemblance to the murder of Sam DuBose, Raynard Burton was murdered during what should have been a routine police traffic stop. Burton is another victim in a disturbingly long line of traffic stop murders.

After crashing his vehicle into a utility pole, Burton exited his vehicle and ran from the officer. A foot chase ensued, ending at a house nearby. He was shot once in the right side of his chest.

The officer who murdered Burton, who (tellingly) referred to himself on Instagram as “Fatal Force,” remained on the beat despite having a well-documented history of exercising excessive and fatal force. In 1995, the officer was censured for randomly shooting a pigeon with his department-issued weapon. In 1998, the officer fired multiple times at a man who after retrieving money from an ATM made the innocent mistake of attempting to enter the wrong car, that of the officer. The officer somehow evaded punishment for this incident (but not for firing at a bird). Reports of a 2015 incident have recently surfaced in which the officer allegedly fired approximately 15 bullets into the vehicle containing a man who insisted he was unarmed.

That the officer was not fired long before his encounter with Burton speaks to the existence of a bias on the part of police departments toward protecting officers often at the expense of members of the public. For additional evidence, look no further than what happened to Raynard Burton: Burton is dead, while his murderer remains employed by the Detroit Police Department, albeit on restricted duty. An investigation into the murder has been launched.

 

 

4. March 19, 2017: Alteria Woods, 21, Gifford, Florida

Alteria Woods, a soon-to-be mom, was killed in her home by police during a raid initiated by a Florida SWAT team. Officers were attempting to target Woods’ boyfriend and his father, on whom they were serving search warrants. Woods was an innocent bystander. The officers involved should have deescalated the situation until Woods could be removed from the situation altogether or otherwise removed to a position of safety. Apprehending the suspects, at whatever cost, however, was apparently more important. Woods got caught in the crossfire.

Though Woods’ boyfriend fired his weapon, it was ultimately a police bullet that killed her.

Woods’ cousin Kaleasha Johnson remembered Woods as being more like a sister than a cousin, whose easy laugh meant that there was never a “dull moment.” During an interview, Johnson said that Woods was on a path toward success. Woods was on the honor roll at Sebastian River High School, where she was dually enrolled in high school and college classes.

Johnson expressed the difficulty of coming to terms with the loss of her cousin: “I’m numb. She can’t be brought back.” Echoed Woods’ aunt Arlene Cooper, “We don’t know what to do, no closure.”

Dozens of protesters took to the streets outside the scene in hopes of achieving some sort of justice for Alteria, even if it came in the form of better relations between the black community and police.

The Indian River County officers involved are on paid administrative leave while the investigation into Woods’ murder continues.

Paid Leave More Common Than Justice

The outcomes of these stories might offer the impression that paid administrative leave is the dominant form of punishment for fatally shooting the unarmed instead of prosecution. Such an impression would not necessarily be misplaced: the prosecution of law enforcement officers is exceedingly rare. This is in no small part due to the fact that they are empowered by law to exercise a wide degree of latitude in using force. Those who are prosecuted need only utter five words that amount to a “get out of jail” card: “I feared for my life.” Law enforcement officers on trial must demonstrate that they used fatal force in response to an imminent threat that made them reasonably determine that their lives were at stake. As rare as prosecution is, conviction is almost even more infrequent.

Ebony Slaughter-Johnson is a freelance writer, a former research assistant at the Institute for Policy Studies, and a recent graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in history and received a certificate in African American Studies. Her work has appeared in AlterNet, U.S. News and World Report, Equal Voice News, and Common Dreams.

 

 

Source: This Problem Isn’t Going Away: Heartless Police Shootings of Unarmed Black Americans Continue Into the Trump Era | Alternet

 

#BecomeUngovernable  We will never be Free while the Rich Rule Over Us!! The “Rigged System” holds no future for the 99% a Political Revolution does – beungovernable .com 

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