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US cops keep killing, keep lying

By Sam Copley

Following the massive uprising of youth in Baltimore, US, which forced local officials to charge police with the killing of Freddie Gray, a new upsurge of protest is now shaking Dane County, Wisconsin.

On 12 May, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne declared no charges will be filed against killer cop Matt Kenny. On 6 March Kenny shot Tony “Terrell” Robinson Jr, a 19 years old unarmed mixed race man, despite warnings by dispatchers not to escalate the situation.

Like the identical verdict that absolved the killers of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last August, killers, Ozanne said in his statement that this was a “lawful use of deadly police force” with the absurd excuse that Robinson had taken marijuana and magic mushrooms, showing once again how the so-called war on drugs is used to justify violence against black and mixed race youth.

In Dane County, Wisconsin, black people are around eight per cent of the population, but 48 per cent of the prison population and almost 80 per cent of all juvenile inmates. Taken in isolation this is a story of a police officer who, despite warnings by dispatchers not to escalate the situation, took less than half a minute to shoot and kill a young, unarmed mixed race man.

Taken in the context of US policing, Terrell’s was the 192nd death from police violence in 2015 and nothing but a continuation of the unwritten policy toward non-whites. Following the fatal shooting there were mass walkouts from schools and colleges in Madison.

Nearly 2,000 protesters occupied Wisconsin State Capitol, including Terrell’s friends and family, his local community and a group called the Young Gifted and Black (YGB) coalition, part of the umbrella protest group Black Lives Matter. The protest saw 25 arrests, as the protesters refused to leave the area, demanding instead a United Nations inquest into the killing.

Over the intervening months there have been numerous Black Lives Matter protests highlighting the systematic discrimination and murder of black people by the US state and the police in the wake of the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on 9 August last year.

Across the US, a new civil rights movement is being born, demanding an end to systematic state harassment, to the imprisonment and murder of black people, and calling for the police to be made accountable to the community, for officers to face justice for their crimes.

The ruling class in the US recognises the anger, and is trying hard to convince black people that there is no need for a renewed civil rights movement.

Back in March, on the 50th anniversary of the great civil rights marches from Selma to Alabama in 1965, President Obama made a direct reference to the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, when he said: “What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.”

Yet what happened in Ferguson also happened in Sanford, in Cleveland , in Brooklyn, in Oakland, in Baltimore and in Madison… the list goes on.

The justice system covered up for and legitimised the killings – and only in one case is action being taken against the police. That is in Baltimore, where the protests reached such a pitch that the local political establishment backed down last month.

There protests against the killing of Freddie Gray led to an uprising of black and working class youth lasting several days, pressuring Baltimore’s Attorney to charge six officers. The murder of black Americans by the US state has been ongoing since the Civil War.

Even the end of slavery and – a century later – the great Civil Rights Movement and Black Power movement that ended the Jim Crow apartheid system, failed to end the intrinsic racism on which US capitalism rests.

All workers in the US white, Latino, and Asian, need to join with their brothers and sisters in the black communities, to mobilisation in their defence on the principle that there can not be freedom for one until there is freedom for all.

For this reason it will take nothing less than the overthrow of the entire US state, and the system of exploitation and inequality it exists to defend, in order to end a situation where young black and mixed race people are murdered on a daily basis.

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