Here we go again, or so it seems. Another human being, 31 year old Thurman Blevins has lost his life at the hands of the police, in this instance the Minneapolis police. In the last two weeks, Seventeen year old Antwon Rose, was shot in the back and killed while running from Pittsburgh police and 24 year old Maurice Glanton Jr, was shot in the back while running away from police in Chicago. A small amount of common sense applied to these killings and beatings would indicate that this violence is a not an aberration, but a part of the function of US law enforcement.
Thurman Blevins was shot in the back while running away from Minneapolis police. This is what all of the witnesses have reported. Shooting someone in the back running away from you is not only cowardly, but it is cold blooded, psychopathic behavior. When folks call what the police have done murder, defenders of the police and the so-called “American Way” are quick to say that the characterization is unfair, because ‘surely the police would not murder anyone.’
But this was murder. There is no other way to explain what happened last Saturday in the streets of North Minneapolis.
Police are saying he had a gun. However not one witness has said they saw a gun at any point during his brief but deadly encounter with the police. And it was brief. The narrative as told to me and others was that the young man was sitting on the corner with his girlfriend and baby and police drove up and got out. Blevins got up and started to walk away when police tasered him. According to witnesses despite the taser Blevins was able to run and despite the fact he was running away from the police, they fired at least six shots, killing him.
But even if Thurman had a gun it did not justify the police shooting him in cold blood. In the US according to the Second Amendment, the NRA and others, folks have the right to possess guns. And even if someone has one illegally it does not warrant a death sentence.
Incidentally, the first official that reported that the young man had a gun was the mayor of the city of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey. When this was pointed out at last night’s rally demanding that the cops who killed Blevins be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, Mayor Frey tucked his tail and ran with the crowd close behind. Why would the leader of the entire city say something so inflammatory?
Despite giving a great liberal kumbaya speech about the need for understanding blah blah blah, Frey during a press conference apparently appealed to the parts of the city and surrounding suburbs, who will clearly hear the dog whistle (‘the Negro had a gun and everybody knows Black people are not supposed to have guns, so he got what he deserved’) and respond appropriately.
The so-called leader of the city, the elected representative of the city prejudiced our ability to organize to get justice in this case. No witness has reported seeing the victim Blevins with a gun. Many people including Black people will find it easier to blame the victim. Because again, ‘surely the cops would not just shoot someone in the back, for no good reason.’
But they did have good reason. Thurman did not obey! The cops job is to get us to obey, to comply because their thinking is if you do not comply with Massa (the system) you may just rise up one day.
The “real” role of the cops besides serving and protecting the property and interests of the filthy rich, while reinforcing societies stereotypes, (which is why they victimize Black and Brown people, poor people, striking workers, immigrants, gay and queer and trans folks and women) , is to make you too afraid to do anything but obey. So they beat arrest and sometime kill the recalcitrant, to send a message to the rest of us. If you don’t comply, if you don’t obey, if you step out of line, this could happen to you.
And of course it works to a degree, which is why the rally’s for justice are not better attended. Most of the rest of us are either too busy, too self -involved, too distracted, too apathetic, too indoctrinated with the systems lies, or just plain too scared to push back.
Adding to our woes in Minneapolis will be those who believe that the murder of our brother should be easier to swallow, because a Black man heads the police force. Lots of Black officers were deployed within the community after the shooting, but no one should take them seriously because they have already taken a side and it is not the community’s.
The system will tell us to take comfort in the fact that the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is investigating the shooting. But they too are law enforcement, they are not an independent body appointed and selected by the community. In fact their real role is to find ways to manufacture a version of events to justify the actions of the cops.
Thus there should be a demand to release the names of the cops who committed this thuggish crime and their body cameral footage, and arrest and charge them with the murder of Thurman Blevins.
Despite our claims about rights, the police have the ability to take the life of human beings living in this country under almost any circumstance and contrary to popular belief it is codified in US law, backed by decisions made by the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. A cop only has to say that they felt threatened and under the cover of US law,they can practically try to get away with anything!
It is why protests have to be held and extra- legal ways of getting the system’s attention have to be employed, because the police are not arrested and held accountable as any other citizen who committed an obvious crime, unless the system faces enough pressure from protest that it feels the need to acquiesce and at least charge the cops with a crime.
The shooting of Black folks in the street should be no more acceptable to us than the government’s current separating of children from their parents at the US border. That is outrageous, immoral and criminal! So is the killing of Black folks (and others) by the police.
It is paramount at this time that we push past our trauma and face the fact that these police shootings, just like the separating of children at the border, the drugging of our children by pharmaceuticals, the refusal of the bosses to pay fair wages, the continued mass incarceration of Black and Brown people, the discrimination against Muslims and immigrants, will not end until we rid ourselves of the system that deems these injustices necessary.
We start by demanding justice for Thurman Blevins arrest and jail the killer cops!
justice then peace