The Epidemic of Police Killings of Unarmed Black People
By Uhuru B. Rowe
July 27, 2016
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”–Frederick Douglass
Yes. It has happened again. And again. And again. More videotaped killings of unarmed Black people. This time, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Alton was shot by police while sitting in a car with his children and girlfriend who live-streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. Alton reportedly died later at the hospital…probably before.
Philando was shot and killed while subdued on the ground by two officers. One of the officers reaches back, unholsters his service weapon, and fires two shots into Philando’s chest at close range.
And, I am sure there have been other unarmed Black people who’ve been murdered by the police since then, but my access to 24 hour news was disrupted when prison administrators mysteriously deleted CNN from the cable programming here after the police killing of Freddie Gray and the subsequent uprising.
Back to the point. Protests, marches, riots, insurrections, etc. and arrests always follow these police killings, BUT they keep happening every 8 hours, by some estimates. And those of us fortunate enough to survive a police encounter are thrown into prison for decades or life. But WHY are we as a New Afrikan (Black) people still confronted with such circumstances 152 years after the Emancipation Proclamation,151 years after 13th Amendment, 148 years after the 14th Amendment, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1875, 1957, 1960, and 1964.
Not to sound fatalistic, but what is happening to us is what happens to any race or class of people who are deemed by their government to be a disposable people worthy of extermination simply because it is no longer politically and morally correct or acceptable to enslave and extract their free or cheap labor. With automation and the de-industrialization of the U.S. and the movement of jobs oversees, poor and impoverished people in the Third-World now serve as neo-slaves to a vast network of multinational corporations.
So, what happens to a disposable, surplus population of people who are no longer wanted or needed, and who have little to no social, political, and economic power, no self-determination, and no means of defending themselves against a virulent and formidable enemy for their own survival? GENOCIDE!!!
Crimes against humanity, including genocide, quickly received widespread condemnation by the global community in the aftermath of the atrocities committed during World War II. In 1946, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared that genocide is a crime of international law that is condemned by the civilized world, whether the perpetrators are private individuals, public officials, or statesmen.
On December 4, 1946, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, defining genocide as:
“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
This convention was ratified by the U.S. and codified into Federal law as Title 18, USCA, Section 1091 and is often referred to as the “Genocide Convention Implementation Act of 1987.”
A cursory examination of history reveals that America’s treatment of and policy towards Afrikans and Afrikan-decended peoples since 1619, meets every criteria for the crime of genocide given above, including forced mass migrations and enslavement (transatlantic slave trade), destruction of culture and heritage, miseducation, forced sterilizations (eugenics), medical experimentations, rape, germ/biological/chemical/psychological/drug warfare, torture, legal lynchings, castrations, systemic racism, oppression & inequality, segregation, Black Codes and most recently, mass incarceration (mordern-day slavery) and the systematic execution of unarmed Black people by police, security guards, and self-appointed vigilantes.
There is no doubt that the above acts were/are planned, orchestrated and carried out with the specific intent to “destroy, in whole or in substantial part” the Afrikan/New Afrikan (Black) Nation here in the America and in the diaspora.
Armed with this knowledge, in every instance where unarmed Black people are systematically executed by police, security guards, and self-appointed vigilantes, we must raise our collective voices and file criminal complaints with the United Nations charging the American government and its various law enforcement agencies with the crime of genocide under both the U.N. Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and Title 18, U.S.C.A., Section 1091, subsection (b), which makes the crime of genocide punishable by death or life imprisonment.
In conclusion, I just want to say that until we as a New Afrikan Black people develop a collective strategy or national plan of action to confront and resist these extrajudicial genocidal killings of our sons and daughters by police, security guards, and self-appointed vigilantes, there will be another Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Wakiesha Wilson or Redel Jones coming soon to a city near you.
FREEDOM IS A CONSTANT STRUGGLE!