Activists have scheduled a mass mobilization for next week at lower Manhattan’s Union Square to heighten awareness about the rampant use of deadly force by law enforcement agents. At 4 p.m. Monday, during a rally to mark the 17th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, families and friends of those victimized by police violence will make their voices heard.
“Oct. 22 is a day for people all across the country to stand up and say no to the brutality and murder that the whole criminal injustice system brings down on people,” says Carl Dix, initiator of the October 22nd Coalition.
It’s going on 14 years since an unarmed 23-years-young Amadou Diallo was showered with a 41-hot-rock fusillade just outside his Bronx building’s vestibule, courtesy of four undercover cops from the NYPD’s Street Crimes Unit. Since that fateful Feb. 4, 1999, night/early morning, 221 people of various ages have been slain by New York’s finest–averaging over one killing per month.
“We need to be vigilant and continue to resist and rally against police terror,” determined Council Member Charles Barron. “We must also raise the ante and see the real enemy of our people. This system has left us impoverished, unemployed, homeless–even though we’ve been abiding by the laws of this nation.”
The elected activist also outlined how social conditions produce an environment conducive for police abuse.
Stats show that an overwhelming majority of NYPD killings are of people of color, most often occurring in the poorer sections of the city.
“It’s a slow genocide, targeting Blacks and Latinos,” Dix contends. “The police who brutalize people very seldom get punished in any way at all. Racial profiling also serves as a pipeline to people being warehoused in prison.”
Some of the killings by the NYPD make headlines, like when four more cops aired out a car containing Joseph Guzman, Sean Bell and Trent Benefield with a 50-bullet barrage on the night of Nov. 25, 2006, as they left Bell’s bachelor party in Queens. Most, though, get little mention in the media; for example, Shantel Davis’ case has been somewhat quiet. Countless others remain in anonymity.
“Oct. 22 is the day to break the silence for people all across this country to say no to this brutality,” Dix implored.
This display will be emulated in other cities throughout the U.S.
“It brings awareness to the things that have been happening in the past with police brutality, misconduct and the victims of excessive force,” explained organizer Jose LaSalle, Stop Stop & Frisk freedom fighter.
Juanita Young, national spokesperson for Parents Against Police Brutality, lost her son Malcolm Ferguson, 23, to police terrorism on March 1, 2000.
“People need to come out and take a stand against police murders,” she appealed. “The more people stand up and fight, then maybe somebody will take a stand and make these cops accountable for what they’re doing to the public. Being that they’re not made accountable, that’s why they continue to kill innocent individuals.”
Barron concludes: “We are the victims of racial profiling, abuse of deadly force and police brutality. America needs a radical rearrangement in this system–and we need to unite as a people and gain that political power to bring about that change!”
For more information, visit october22.org.