Revolution #280, September 16, 2012

Bronx: People "Blow the Whistle"

The Wanton Police Killing of Reynaldo Cuevas

From a reader:

At 2:00 am, Friday, September 7, there was an attempted robbery at a bodega in the Bronx, New York City, and the two people working at the bodega were being held captive by the robbers. Someone called the police. When the police arrived on the scene, the robbers fled to the basement. At that point, one of those working in the bodega, Reynaldo Cuevas, a 20-year-old Dominican immigrant, fled out the front door to what he must have thought was safety. Instead he was shot and killed by a cop waiting outside the bodega.

The police claim the killing was an "accident," but the surveillance video and accounts by neighbors who witnessed the killing paint a picture of wanton disregard for the lives of people. News reports say the cop who killed Cuevas was stationed outside with his gun drawn, ready to fire. The video shows Cuevas running out of the store, bumping into the cop, and then the cop shooting Cuevas dead. People are asking, why was Cuevas dragged across the street? "They just killed my cousin and dragged him like he was a dog," said Cuevas’ cousin. "No, that’s no accident," said Cuevas’ uncle, Jesus, who is the store’s owner. But the police have charged the three arrested for the robbery—not the cop—with the murder.

Azar D
Bronx, NY, September 7, 2012
Photo: Special to Revolution

Family, friends, and others in the area were outraged, and throughout Friday people began to converge on the spot where Cuevas was murdered, making a memorial for him there. They were joined by several people from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Throughout the afternoon and evening people came: mainly Dominican immigrants from the neighborhood, but also some African-
Americans, Puerto Rican people, and others, expressing their outrage in various ways, blasting their car radios LOUD. Many got whistles and saw the connection between this murder and the battle to STOP "Stop & Frisk." [See "Blowing the Whistle on September 13—And Making Our Message Real" in this issue.] 700 whistles got out Friday, with a number of youth from the neighborhood taking up distributing them.

At 5:00 pm there was a rally. Among those who spoke was "Noche" Diaz, who said: "If ever there was a time for them [the police] to prove that they are out here to protect and serve anyone, today would have been that day. Here was a young brother robbed at gun point—the people who are supposed to protect you show up and he sees an opportunity to run for safety—but he is shot dead by the very people supposed to be there to save him. People have tried to say that the problem was that the police needed better training. We don’t need better trained killers on our streets.

"I know some of you here are very angry. We can’t just do whatever we want, we need to be disciplined. You need to get with this revolution. I am a revolutionary. And the leader of this revolution, Bob Avakian, says that in the new society, when we have power, and we have people’s police on the street that they would sooner risk their own lives than to kill an innocent person. That’s what it means to serve and protect the people. Fight the Power, and Transform the People, For Revolution!"

The crowd took off on a march to the 42nd Precinct and the neighborhood filled with the sound of whistles blowing. By the end every whistle was out among the people.

On Saturday, there was a follow-up gathering, which in addition to people from the neighborhood, also drew anti-police brutality activists and college students. Heavy rains interrupted and prevented what was to be a larger rally and march to the precinct. This time people from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the Revolution Club came with a lot more whistles. Masses stepped forward to help get out the whistles, as well as to get out copies of the RCP’s Message and Call: "The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have," "12 Ways That YOU Can Be Part of Building the Movement for Revolution—Right Now" cards, and Revolution newspapers. People in the community responded to the call for donations for the whistles, donating $46. And people networked about organizing further actions against the murder of Reynaldo Cuevas and to prepare for a powerful outpouring for September 13 day to Blow the Whistle on Stop & Frisk in the Bronx. At the end, groups of college students from several schools took hundreds of whistles and fliers to spread plans for actions to Blow the Whistle on Stop & Frisk on September 13 beyond the community and onto their campuses. Altogether more than 800 whistles were distributed on Saturday.

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