Revolutionary Worker #1218, November 2, 2003, posted at rwor.org
Many family members of police murder victims and others spoke out at this year's National Day of Protest. Here are short quotes from some of those voices .
"I was two, three feet from them. After they shot him nine times, he tried to stand but he fell to the floor again. Then he started walking on his elbows and knees, trying to get away from that criminal. This criminal then got in front of my son and shot him on the face. These people then said that my son was attacking him with a pair of scissors that were in his pocket, that was their reason. Is it reason enough to call these people criminals? Yes! And I want them to know that I'm Javier Quezada Sr., and I told them right there, `I am not going to stay quiet!' "
"We're here for my 24-year-old cousin Deandre. He was shot in Compton over 20 times. Eighty bullet holes went into the house. And this was after they let their K-9 dog on him.... This happened August 24. He had no weapons, nothing. They left my cousin to lay down in his blood and die and airlifted their dog that they shot themselves to the hospital.
"It's heartbreaking when you hear people's stories, especially stories that are worse than ours. We went through a lot, and I don't wish this on no one else. You need to speak out. It has to stop. If you don't speak out, they won't try to stop it. If you don't say nothing, won't nothing get done."
"On October 1, the DA started an `anti-gang' injunction against the Bounty Hunters in Nickerson Gardens and then the Rolling 60s gang in South Central. Every time [LAPD Chief] Bratton opens up his mouth, he's talking about how our youth are criminals and terrorists, and how he's going to wage war on our youth. He calls our youth a disease and uses racist language like, `We're going to hang 'em high.' Then they turn around and tell the big lies, saying they're doing this for the good of the people, to keep us safe. Does this sound familiar? This sounds like the `war on terrorism' to me.
"This gang injunction is really about putting our whole community on lockdown, They're trying to set up a police state right inside of Watts, a super-max isolation prison right in our own 'hood. We not going for it. We're uniting in our community and resisting this gang injunction. We are human beings and we deserve to be treated as such."
"My nephew was in the bed asleep when the police came in and started beating him and they beat him so bad that they had to cover it up so they shot him--execution-style--in the head and chest. And then they said that they are heroes and that it is justifiable. There's nothing justifiable about that. There's no way they should get away with that. There's no way they can justify it. It's not just Oakland, it's everywhere--and we have to put a stop to it."
"I want everyone to know that Terrence didn't die in vain because I will speak up on police brutality every time I get a chance so that people will know what's going on. Not just my child but no child should have to fear for their lives from the people that we taught them to trust."
"On November 14, 1983, Ft. Carson, Colorado, the military police killed my older brother. On April 7, 2003, the Oakland police opened fire on numerous innocent people protesting the war in Iraq. They also opened fire on innocent longshoremen waiting to go to work.... This is not a local issue. This is an epidemic. And the only way this epidemic is going to get taken care of is when people like you and I say we've had enough."
"I'm sorry for all the stolen lives that have been taken from you. But their deaths have not been in vain. They think that killing these people is separating us. Oh, no. They are just bringing us closer and closer together."
"My son didn't deserve to get 14 shots to his back. My nephew didn't deserve to get eight shots to his back face down on the floor. They didn't deserve that!... I stand before you as a parent that has continued this fight. I have refused to step down. I have refused to be intimidated. Even after my car was burned four years ago, you still see me here standing, refusing to give up this struggle, this fight for justice. For justice for anyone who has been killed. They can burn my house down, and I will still be here."
"The media has created an image of Black and Latino youth as gangsters, and have contributed to the criminalization of generations of people. And now the media is doing the same thing to Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians, and all immigrants. The police are the arms of the state, a control mechanism of the state. And therefore, through their actions, we see how the state looks at our community. We are the Other. We are the outsiders in their system of repression. And it is only through us coming together as people fighting back that we can stop this."
"I'm here on behalf of my son, Jamil Moore. He was 22 years of age. He was my only son. The officers entered my home and shot Jamil in the back. I was there. I witnessed the whole thing. Jamil fell to the floor. I said, `Stop shooting my son!' And they shot him twice more in the abdomen. Then they rushed him off to the hospital. It's just a hard, hard situation. I just need justice for my son-- justice for my son!"
"They told us that changes in the law such as the USA PATRIOT Act, and detentions and roundups of Arab, Muslim, and South Asian immigrants, are being done for homeland security and for our safety. We know that there's no safety in a police state. The same police forces that terrorize our neighborhoods are backed up by the politicians ready to detain immigrants without question-- the same politicians who are ready to strike down a woman's right to abortion, and execute our brother Mumia Abu-Jamal. But we're about stopping police brutality against people on our streets, and about stopping the police state being put out by Washington, D.C."
"My son was Michael Pleasance, 23 years old. He was at the Dan Ryan (elevated train) station and he was shot by an officer. To add insult to injury, I was notified by a newspaper -- it took 10 1/2 hours before the police even came to my house, to tell me that my child was dead... That was my buddy, we traveled together. We did a lot of things together and now there's a piece of me that's gone. Why? Because an officer, a gun-happy bandit in blue, decided that he wanted to take my child's life."
"These people don't respect us unless we respect ourselves. And we got to not just talk about justice and demands for justice. We got to force these people to do the right thing... The civil rights movement, slavery, all that didn't come because we just sat on the sidelines and waited for them to do the right thing. We can pray for justice, but we got to fight for justice."