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Justice for Kimani Gray!

By Fight Back! Editors |
March 17, 2013
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We stand with Carol Gray, the mother of Kimani Gray, in demanding his murderers be taken off the streets of New York City before they take another young life. Police who murder need to be punished. A few weeks suspension is not enough. The murderers of Kimani Gray need to go to prison.

Repeated protests against this latest police killing of an unarmed African American 16-year-old gained international attention. Each day saw more people join the protests and they grew more militant. Police repression was met with growing resistance. People in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, like African Americans across the country, are fed up with police repression and violence. The militant response shows people are not going to take it anymore. The racist killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida lit a flame and now the response to the police murder of Kimani Gray shows the fire of justice is spreading.

In response to protests, the New York Police Department (NYPD) declared a portion of East Flatbush in Brooklyn a ‘Frozen Zone.’ This means media are not allowed in and people can be subjected to arrest for not following police orders. It is mini-martial law. The last times the NYPD declared a Frozen Zone was on the 10th anniversary of 911 and during the beginning of Occupy Wall Street. Fight Back! stands in solidarity with the protesters against this repression, especially those arrested. The NYPD needs to back off.

The murder of Kimani Gray at the hands of the NYPD is part of the criminalization of African-American, Chicano and other oppressed people in the U.S. Gray was only 16 years old with a whole future ahead of him. However, because he was African American, he was deemed a potential threat by the NYPD. Gray was eliminated because of who he was, not anything he did.

In this country, police repression of African Americans is all too common. The history of oppression of African-Americans, from slavery to Jim Crow segregation, have created an African American nation in and around the Black Belt territory of the South. This history of national oppression enforced by terror at the hands of slavemasters and the Ku Klux Klan leaves a legacy of racist vigilante and police violence against African Americans, even in places with African American mayors and police chiefs.

The tiny elite that rules the U.S. fears the power of African Americans and other oppressed peoples. They fear the threat to their continued rule. The goal of the billionaires and multi-millionaires, those who control the politicians and government, is to keep African Americans ‘in their place,’ unable to progress economically or socially as a people. They attempt to keep young men fearful of stepping out of line. They try to promote negativity, self-hatred and weakness. It shifts the focus off of a corrupt and violent system.

In New York, for example, the NYPD ‘stop and frisk’ policy terrorizes African-Americans and Latinos. Stop and frisk creates the conditions and the mindset for police to shoot unarmed youth like Kimani Gray, to shoot first and deny afterward. Then the NYPD works overtime covering for the killer cops involved. Politicians hem and haw, or even worse, justify, the killing of a child. The corporate press demonizes the victim and publishes police records produced by stop and frisk policies.

Besides police killings, the other twin tower is the school to prison pipeline that locks up African American, Chicano and other oppressed youth in much greater numbers than whites. This conscious targeting is a major form of national oppression today and promoted or condoned by politicians of both political parties. The prison industry is big business and, due to both privatization and the exploitation of prison labor, profits are growing. The justice system is rampantly racist in terms of who the police target, the composition of juries, the background and prejudices of judges and prosecutors, resources of public defenders, the categorization and severity of sentencing laws and the administration of prisons. The system is corrupt from bottom to top and needs to be abolished.

We praise Carol Gray for speaking out and the witnesses who bravely came forward to tell the truth. Due to strong families and communities who protest, we know the names of young African-American men and women like Kimani Gray, Reika Boyd, Trayvon Martin, and Sean Bell - killed by police and vigilantes. But there are countless others. Only through building a strong movement can we win freedom in our lifetime.

It is time for people in this country to rise up and stop the murder of African American young men by killer police. We need to combat racism in all forms that continue to oppress our communities and murder our children.

Stand up! Fight back!

Justice for Kimani Gray!