Revolution #194, March 7, 2010

Carl Dix on Justice Department Giving System's Ok To Police Murder of Sean Bell


On February 17 the federal Justice Department issued a statement saying they would not be prosecuting the cops who killed Sean Bell. Their reason, "A team of experienced prosecutors and FBI agents determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the cops who fired at Sean Bell, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield acted willfully.… Neither accident, mistake, fear, negligence or bad judgment is sufficient to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation."

Are they talking about the police murder of Sean Bell here? Are they talking about the cops who followed Sean and his friends to their car, surrounded it with guns drawn and killed Sean and severely wounded Guzman and Benefield in a hail of 50 bullets? Who handcuffed Guzman and Benefield, despite their serious wounds, and forced them to "assume the position," laying face down on the ground? And who handcuffed Sean's lifeless body to a bed in the hospital room for hours?

This was no accident or mistake or bad judgment—it was cops gunning down young Black men on the streets of a U.S. city. This happens all the time. Since 1990 The Stolen Lives Project of the Oct 22nd Coalition has documented 100's of such killings each year. It has also documented that the overwhelming majority of these victims of the cops were Black or Latino and that most of them were unarmed and doing nothing wrong when they were killed. These killer cops almost never get tried for their crimes, and in the few cases where they do, they virtually always get off scot-free.

Sometimes, the Justice Department is brought in to do civil rights investigations in cases where cops are exonerated in local courts after killing people, especially when there is mass outrage at seeing the killer cops get off. These investigations usually end up just like the case of the cops who murdered Sean Bell. They go on for months or even years. Then the feds announce they aren't going to prosecute. Some felt this time, since it would be a Black attorney general in Obama's Justice Department presiding over the investigation, it would be different. But when it came down to it, nothing had changed. Another case where an innocent, unarmed Black man was gunned down. Another case where the cops had gotten away with murder. As William Bell, father of Sean Bell, said in a statement he issued in response to the Justice Department's decision:

"What are they talking about? They had all this time to put their case together, and this is what comes out of it? They BS'd me—that's what they did to me.…

"It's like they slapped me in the face 3 times now. Once when they murdered him, again when the court let the cops who murdered him walk and now again with the federal government saying they're not going to prosecute. …

"It's like when they used to hang us. They do it different now—then it was the lynching rope, today it's the cops and 50 shots—but it comes down to the same thing."

This has gone on for too damn long. A system that treats a whole generation of youth like they're criminals, guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence; a system whose cops kill our youth, and whose criminal justice system exonerates these killer cops, has been around too damn long. These kinds of murders are horrific outrages that call out for getting rid of this system through revolution and going on to build a whole new society in place of this messed up one and forging a new, revolutionary government authority.

If this is the best their system can do—murdering our youth and exonerating the murderers again and again, then they need to get out of the way. A revolutionary society would deal with the youth in a completely different way than this one does.

A revolutionary society wouldn't subject so many of the youth to being trapped in ghettos and barrios that had been stripped of opportunity and hope for the future. It wouldn't limit the doors open to so many of the oppressed to joining the army and becoming mindless killers for the system or going to jail. It wouldn't treat the youth like they were criminals. It wouldn't have its police patrolling the cities like they were an occupying army in hostile territory, enforcing the conditions that exist there through brutality. It wouldn't try to justify the shit it does to the masses by trying to convince them and others that it's all their own damn fault.

Institutions entrusted with public security in a revolutionary society would operate radically different than this system's pigs. Its members would sooner take a bullet themselves than endanger the life of a single person. Any cases where members of the public security force were accused of violating people's rights or brutalizing or killing someone, would be thoroughly and seriously investigated. Where the accusations were found to be true, swift and appropriate punishment would be given to the offenders.

In a revolutionary society, the authority would be looking for every opportunity to unleash the youth to help tackle the problems the new society was up against. It would involve them in the administration of the new society. And it would involve them in the debate, discussion and dissent that a socialist society would need to unleash to get as deep an understanding of reality as possible in order to continue transforming society and humanity till all the exploitative and degrading relations from the old society and the backward ways of thinking that help to keep them in effect were eliminated. It would tap into their creativity and daring to help eliminate problems like the divisions between people of different nationalities, the subjugation of women or the gaping chasm between the lives and conditions of those on the bottom of society and those who were better off. It would work to break down the barriers that have kept so many of the youth, especially Black and Latino youth, from having any opportunity to work with their minds. And it would give them the space to be experimenting with new approaches in culture and other aspects of society.

This kind of society is one that people would want to live in. To bring it into being would take a revolution, getting rid of this state structure and building an entirely different one in its place. It isn't yet time to make this kind of revolution. The powers that be aren't deeply enough divided amongst themselves and the people aren't ready to put it all on the line for revolution.

It is time and way past time to be doing all we can to bring closer the day when we can make this kind of revolution. This means spreading everywhere the message that the capitalist system is the problem and revolution is the solution. It means working to bring a revolutionary movement and a revolutionary people into being. It means connecting people with the leader we have for this revolution in Bob Avakian. It means mobilizing the people to fight the power and transform themselves and others, for revolution. We in the RCP, USA ARE BUILDING a movement for revolution. We've forged the basic answers on how to deal with this system. If you're someone who hates what was done to Sean Bell, who hates oppression, who loves the people and who doesn't give a damn about the odds—then you need to get with this and support it and build it and be part of it.

The kind of brutality that the police murder of Sean Bell concentrates is pervasive in U.S. society. So much so that it has become the way things are for too many of the youth. We have to open their eyes to the reality that things don't have to be this way. That we don't have to put up with this official murder and brutality, or any of the other foul things this system forces people to endure. That we can bring a different and far better world into being thru revolution.


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