Antwon Rose Execution: Let's Hold Democratic Politicians Accountable for Police Brutality

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Antwon Rose. Screenshot: NBC TV

[Police Murder Chronicles]

The murder of a Black teen, as he was running away, from police in Pittsburgh, has led to several nights of protests against police for yet another unjustified killing of an unarmed African-American.

The nights of angry police protests in Pittsburgh must be turned into sustained political action to stop racial policing—and the killer-cops who murder Blacks with impunity.

As Democrats lobby us for votes, and money, to elect them this November, we must force them to seriously address the ongoing police brutality and murder that is devastating Black families.

I like the national protests by Democratic politicians over Trump's kidnapping of children from their immigrant parents. What about similar outrage and campaigns against police killings of unarmed Blacks?

Last Tuesday’s police murder, witnessed on video, of 17-year-old Antwon Rose is the latest episode of police unjustly shooting to death an unarmed African-American. Like so many other police shootings, there was no good reason why Rose should’ve been shot as he ran away, unarmed, from Pittsburgh Police.

The Pittsburgh Police tell us the car Rose was in was identified as, possibly, the same car allegedly involved in a shooting earlier in the day. They decided to tell us—with media’s help—that two guns were recovered from the car Rose was riding in. By doing this, they have planted the seed in the minds of White America that Rose was involved in criminality.

Of course, Pittsburgh Police are doing this to justify the indefensible shooting of this Black teenager—by a cop who was just, recently, given his badge. Again, this young man was shot—in the back—as he was running away from police.

This police murder is very similar to the murders of Laquan McDonald and Walter Scott.

Pittsburgh Police are now criminalizing Mr. Rose by telling us about the recovery of guns. Since, we’re told, often enough, that the Second Amendment is such an essential right of Americans, how can police, and their apologists, pretend the mere possession of guns proves involvement in criminality?

Why is that the automatic judgment here? Isn’t it because Mr. Rose was Black? Isn’t that why Pittsburgh Police shot him in the back?

Police attempts to criminalize Rose should be rejected. Even if Rose was engaged in crime, it doesn’t change the fact he was running away from cops. What danger did he pose?

Pittsburg’s Black community have responded with righteous anger by engaging in consecutive nights of protests against this latest police murder. However, we’ve been down this road before. While the protests and marches must continue, it’s now time to target politicians, and big business, who are equally complicit in these cop crimes against Black America.

The November Elections are looming near. Black Americans must use our votes, and voices, to force the political establishment to address police violence and murder. The time for Black America to speak loudly is now.

We often hear a lot of empty talk about the “rule of law,” and the big lie that: “no one is above the law.” If that were true, many police officers would be doing hard time in prison for their brazen acts of Black murder.

The harsh fact here is: these killings and murders of Black people are sanctioned—by the state. If only by their silence, the White American body-politic repeatedly tells us they have no intention of holding criminal cops to account for their crimes against Black America.

It goes without saying that Republican lawmakers will do everything in their power to stop meaningful legislation that brings needed levels of accountability against killer-cops. In fact, their “law and order” mantra has always been a green-light to police officers to brutalize Blacks.

But while it’s easy to criticize Republicans for their insensitivity and hypocrisy, we must ask this: why aren’t Democrats, especially those so-called “progressives” speaking out more forcefully on this?

The truth of the matter is: Democrats have badly betrayed Black America with their silence and lack of commitment in speaking up on this issue. The betrayal of several high-profile Democrats should be examined. The actions of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel come to mind.

New York City Mayor di Blasio ran as a supposed “progressive,” who would address racial policing. A center piece of his campaign was his alleged opposition to the racist police policy of “stop-and-frisk.” Many were also moved by his interracial family, which helped pave the way to his victory.

But de Blasio betrayed Black New Yorkers almost immediately after entering office. He did this by hiring Bill Bratton, the primary police commissioner who implemented the racially-applied “Broken Windows policing policy of social scientists James Wilson and George Kelling. The “Broken Windows" policing approach influenced the rise of “stop-and frisk.”

Apparently, after winning the mayoralty, by pandering to Blacks and Latinos, de Blasio decided to allay the fears of White New Yorkers, who didn’t support him, by picking Bratton.

This decision eventually killed any chance real change in racial policing would come to the NYPD. And when NYPD officers engaged in mass insubordination—by turning their backs on him at the funerals of Officer Rafael Ramos, Officer Wenjian Liu and Officer Miosotis Familia—Bratton did nothing of consequence to discipline these officers.

Sadly, lately, Mayor de Blasio sounds more like the PBA leadership, and less like the mayoral candidate who promised Black New Yorkers change.

In Chicago, something worse occurred in the administration of Democratic Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and their handling of the police dash-cam video which exposed the murder of Laquan McDonald on October 20, 2014. We’ve all seen the video of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald in the back as he walked away from police.

But that video was suppressed for over a year—it was not released until November 24, 2015—by Chicago officials, who were apparently worried the video would hurt the re-election chances of Mayor Emmanuel. In fact, it was legal action, not democratic transparency, that forced the video into the light of day.

Because of the clear cold-blooded murder Van Dyke committed, on camera, he was indicted on six counts of first-degree murder and suspended from the force. But, the Fraternal Order of Police supported this murderer by giving him a job at the FOP headquarters.

These aren’t the only instances of betrayal by Democrats on the issue of police brutality.

We all know the Ferguson grand jury proceeding, into whether Officer Darren Wilson should be charged for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown, on Aug. 9. 2014, was perverted by prosecutor Bob McCulloch. The Ferguson grand jury did not operate as a normal grand jury. It was used, by McCulloch as a de facto defense team for Wilson.

This is why Wilson wasn’t indicted.

Many of us, were angry with the unjust finding of the Ferguson grand jury and focused our fury on McCulloch corrupted conduct. But, we should remember this: two high-ranking Democrats allowed this biased prosecutor to oversee the Ferguson grand jury.

When then Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon decided to remove the Ferguson Police from policing the police protests, with the State Highway Patrol, after the killing of Michael Brown, Mr. McCulloch criticized Governor Nixon. McCulloch said of Nixon’s decision “It’s shameful what he did today, he had no legal authority to do that. To denigrate the men and women of the county police department is shameful.”

Yet Governor Nixon refused to recuse McCulloch. And when Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill vouched for McCulloch supposed professionalism, the stage was set for Wilson’s non-indictment.

African-Americans must remember these things when Democrats come courting our votes. We cannot allow Democrats to scare us into just voting for every Democrat simply because Donald Trump is president—while they ignore issues like police brutality and murder. Political punishment must be meted out. Some heads must roll.

Black America needs media-savvy congressional champions—along with voices at the state and local level—who will dramatize the police abuse and murder of our people, and keep it in the spotlight, to foster change.

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