October 22, 2004: 9th Annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality

Revolutionary Worker #1257, October 31, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org

On October 22, people in over 30 cities and towns across the U.S. marched, rallied, and took other action on the 9th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. The epidemic of police murder continues—more than 100 people have been killed by law enforcement just in the New York/New Jersey area since 9/11. At the same time, the government is ratcheting up police-state measures throughout society, and repression especially against immigrants. In this situation, it was very important and significant that proletarian people, joined by others, took to the streets and in other ways made a clear stand against police brutality and repression.

The following is a report from the L.A. Writers Collective.

The demonstration of 500 people marched through the sweatshop district in downtown L.A., where proletarians lined the streets waiting for buses, and many waved and shouted out in support of the protesters.

Students from college campuses joined youth from the proletarian neighborhoods of South Central and Pico Union and high school students, who had ditched school to stand with the families who have lost loved ones at the hands of the police.

All along the march people shared stories of being brutalized by the police and losing loved ones. There was discussion about what it’s going to take to end police brutality and other injustices that rain down on people. There was a sentiment among people that big things are up and the future of humanity is at stake.

One woman, a mother of three, asked, "What kind of world exists for the children? They cannot even go outside to walk at night and see the stars... They can get pulled over by the cops and that’s it... I know there’s a better life for all these youth."

Proletarians from Watts opened a window to a new vision of what society could be like in their banner that read, "Imagine... If we ruled the world there would be no more police brutality and murder. Our young people would be treated with respect and have a future. AND all the world would be FREE—Watts down with Bob Avakian."

Right behind them, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade carried a huge banner that read, "Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About, a Talk by Bob Avakian."

In front of the Criminal Courts building, the flatbed truck leading the demonstration suddenly stopped. The crowd shouted, spat, and waved their middle fingers in a gesture that could be seen and heard all the way up to the rooftop of that building.

One of the most powerful moments in the march was when one family member after another spoke about their sons and brothers whose lives were stolen by the police. Javier Quezada described the day his son was shot over a dozen times—how, as Javier Quezada Jr. attempted to cling to the last seconds of his life in a hospital parking lot, the police shot him in the face three times.

The father of Rafael Ramos described how his son was crossing the street with the green light when a patrol car, with no sirens on, ran through a red light and ran over him at 60 mph. The police department mailed him a standard letter of apology for his son’s death. With anger and tears welling up in his eyes he took out the letter and ripped it up on the stage.

Joe Veale, L.A. spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party, said that in each and every one of these stories there was another alternative. In many cases, the families and friends pleaded with the police to let them deal with the situation, but every time the police refused. When Joe quoted RCP Chairman Bob Avakian talking about such actions by the police, his words resonated deeply with the people: "If they can’t find better ways to deal with these kinds of situations, then they need to get the fuck out of the way. They need to get off the face of the Earth. They need to get out of the way of the people because we can find better ways to deal with these situations."

(Check the October 22 Coalition website at october22.org and the Indymedia websites for reports about other cities.)