National Students for a Democratic Society will be hosting a Week Against Police Brutality on the week of March 6th, highlighting police crimes targeted against African-Americans and the specific cases of Abdi Mohamed in Salt Lake City, UT, and Akil Denkins in Raleigh, NC.
Students called this Week of Action on the heel of these two police crimes, the one in Salt Lake City occurring on Saturday, February 27th, and the one in Raleigh earlier today, on Monday, February 29th. In both cases, the victims were unarmed African-Americans, and the police were armed and on the offense. SLC's 17-year-old Abdi Mohamed was seen holding a broomstick while in an argument and was shot by SLCPD, and he is currently in a coma fighting for his life. Raleigh's 23-year-old Akil Denkins was running from police, empty-handed, his back turned to them, when Raleigh PD shot him. Raleigh PD still will not confirm whether or not the shooting was fatal.
These two cases are only two more to add to the list of unarmed African-Americans, particularly youth, murdered by police officers. It is especially poignant that this last Friday, February 26th, was the four-year anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin, whose killer, the racist vigilante Zimmerman, was not arrested until after 40 straight days of nationwide protests. Working class African-American adults and youth have witnessed the acquittal of the police officers who murdered Eric Garner and Michael Brown, officers who faced no charges after grand jury secret trials. They also witnessed nationwide cries for justice for Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and Jamar Clarke, which were unmet with charges of murder or manslaughter.*
Uprisings erupted in Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore, MD, with African-Americans demanding the end of racist police crimes and racial discrimination in society. These protests faced brutal repression from police and the National Guard, with tear-gassing, sonic bombs, and chemical weapons. Police attempted to justify their brutality with the same racist rhetoric that they use to demonize the African-American youths whom they kill. As protesters marched for justice for Jamar Clarke in Minneapolis, white supremacists shot into the crowd occupying the police HQ precinct, and police officers watched and took no action.
Meanwhile, police officers incarcerate African-American and Latino people at disproportionately higher rates than white people for nonviolent felonies, such as traffic violations. They are thrown into prisons where prisons often put to work for little to no wage, planting produce for Wal-Mart, sewing underwear for Victoria's Secret, and making food and supplies for McDonald's and Whole Foods. It becomes increasingly clear, especially to African-American students and youth, that the legacy of slavery and profit motive are alive and well. The prison system, gentrification, and racial discrimination are achieving what Jim Crow did decades before.
Students for a Democratic Society stands for justice for Abdi Mohamed, Akil Denkins, and the countless other victims of police crimes. We will have actions next week targeted against police brutality, and in solidarity with the victims and their families. We will not stop marching, protesting, or organizing until this justice is won. We also stand against the prison system, discriminatory policies, and housing and loaning practices that throw African-Americans into jail and bar them from universities. We will not stop organizing until the African-American people in the United States, particularly those concentrated in the South, are free.
*Sandra Bland's killer was indicted with perjury and fired from his job. Jamar Clarke's killers will go to grand jury, which are notorious for never convicting police officers.