The people speak to the Police Review Commission on the unequal Just-Us system that has continued to allow child abusers to be police officers in the Bayview and Win!
maybe I’m a madman;
a pistol grabbin nigga – unleash the sandman;
promise a merciless retaliation;
nothin’ is colder;
close your eyes – hear the Ballad Of A Dead Soulja; S.Tupac Shakur
It was late, maybe too late. The wind whipped through the holes in the floor of my friends’ borrowed hooptie. But it was a quiet night and hey, we weren’t doing anything, just chilln; , just listenin to a little tupac – just mindin’ our ownS
“POLICE – Step away from the car” Suddenly we were surrounded by four batons, clenched alabaster fists caressing thick steel, holding death. Suddenly what was just four 14 year olds chillin in a car in Hollywood was now “FOUR YOUTH SUSPECTS- one Asian male, one White Female and two Black Males”, or so I heard, spoken slowly like a death chant into shoulder radios.
Within minutes we were thrown against cement walls, spit at through gritted teeth. Within minutes we were in terror. Within minutes we were never the same four 14 year olds again.
These terrifying 22 minutes flooded back into my mind as I listened to the impassioned testimony at the second police review commission hearing to decide whether or not to bring charges against the SF police officers who attacked Hunters Point youth on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2002, “We are here to demand that the commission do right by the children who were abused that night” Malaika Parker from Bay Area Police Watch addressed the over-filled hearing room that spilled into the hall.
Most conscious citizens of the Bay Area know the details of that frightening midnight two years ago in BayView/Hunters Point when SFPD officers, approached a car of children, ages 12 and 13, with their guns drawn. The children were doing nothing but listening to music. The officers grabbed and pulled each of the children out of the car and threw them on the ground. One of the 13 year old girls was searched excessively and inappropriately by a male officer. The officer touched her breasts and genital area. As community members started to gather, yelling out to the police to stop abusing children, they were told “As long as you people are here we will do this.” As the children stood outside of the car handcuffed one of the children was pushed down on the ground , as he lay on the ground bleeding from his head an officer placed his knee in the middle of his back pushing his face and body into the ground in excess of 15 minutes. The injured child was taken down to the police department, with his head still bleeding. After this altercation with SFPD the youth were left with bruises, lacerations, concussion, and severe emotional distress.
But perhaps therein lies the problem, its ONLY conscious citizens that recognize these heinous acts of profiling, abuse and sexual harassment for what they are, child abuse, and like Lynmore Anderson, attorney for BooksNotBars said at the hearing, “It is absolutely outrageous that these officers are trying to get away with child abuse, they are using loopholes to get around the law” Once again after two years, countless meetings, rallies and protests the entire community had to address the seemingly disinterested Police Review Commission and demand justice once again because the well-funded, Police Officers Association and their over-paid attorneys were trying to block the Police Commission from taking action against these cops. They were now saying that time has run out on this case.
“Police officers are not above the law- if it is illegal for a citizen to sexually assault a 13 year old girl, or to physically assault a young boy it should be for a police officer as well,” Jessie Fernandez from BOOKs not Bars pleaded for Equal justice rather than Unequal Just-Us.
“I want to speak to the double standard that exists on the police force; if they (SFPD) see a black, brown or poor person on the street and decide they are guilty of something – they can charge us and we have to prove them wrong, Jakati Imani from Ella Baker Center For Human Rights eloquently stated the impossible Un-Justice that lives in Amerikka today, “but if they (sfpd) do wrong they want you to call it right” he went on to ask the police review commission in its last days of tenure to bring real, not bought and paid for, justice to this case.
” There are several good officers who work with integrity and respect for their community,” Andrew Bozeman, community leader and activist pleaded that the commission bring charges against the officers charged with abuse and assault to save the good reputation of the whole police force and in particular the good cops who do serve their community.
Although I “felt” the distinguished Mr. Bozeman’s measured plea to the Commission, I still cannot lose the shudder that runs through my body to this day if I see a cop, due in part from that day in Hollywood many years ago and all the days hence when I have been harassed, profiled and followed for being first, a poor and/or homeless youth and then a poor and/or homeless adult, and therefore like the young brother from Ella Baker Center said, suspect to their “double standard” .
After Mr. Bozeman there were several more impassioned speakers from the community in favor of justice for the Bayview youth. Hours passed, everyone was tired and then….The vote; 3-2 in favor of bringing disciplinary actions against the police officers. The people had spoken – The PEople were Heard- The Just-US double standard afforded police officers, was Cracked!
Tiny aka Lisa Garcia -Gray , artist, poet and revolutionary journalist is the previously homeless, currently at-risk founder and co-editor of POOR Magazine/PoorNewsNetwork. For more art and journalism on poverty and racism from the people who experience it firsthand- tune in to www.poormagazine.org