Angry Protests Demand Justice in Inglewood

Revolutionary Worker #1159, July 21, 2002, posted at

The response to the brutal beating of Donovan Jackson-Chavis has been immediate and ferocious. On Tuesday, 100 demonstrators invaded the office of the mayor in Inglewood's city hall, demanding that Officer Jeremy Morse be fired and arrested. Over the next few days, there was a prayer vigil, a press conference, and another demonstration.

On Friday, 400 protesters came to the Inglewood police headquarters, and every one of them was angry. Many family members of victims of police brutality came with photos of their loved ones. Dick Gregory, gang truce youth from the projects in Watts, the Mexican American Political Association, Reverend Martin Luther King III, Celes King, the Rainbow Coalition, Reparations Now!, the Nation of Islam, anarchist youth from Long Beach, the October 22nd Coalition, Unity March, high school students, immigrant mothers, representatives from various local politicians, preachers, teachers, and many others were there to represent.

Some of the most poignant and powerful moments came from the many prior victims of thug-officer Jeremy Morse, most of them carrying photos of the injuries he'd inflicted, each of them carrying their own painful, ugly story of brutality:

Neilson Williams was handcuffed and beaten with fists and batons by Morse and other officers as he was leaving a park where he serves as a gang counselor. Beaten into a coma, he was in the intensive care unit for five days. The police gave no explanation for stopping him. Williams was never charged with a crime.

Roberto Francisco Willis and Lance Elliot Eaton were at a friend's apartment when Morse and other officers knocked on the door, demanding to be let in. Both Willis and Eaton were handcuffed, then beaten. Willis' two front teeth were knocked out.

Akkilah Artiga was struck in the back by Morse with his baton. She was pregnant at the time.

Chris Mares and Leslie Noriega were parked in their car when Morse beat Mares for having Leslie's graduation tassel hanging from his rear view mirror. When Leslie protested, Morse told his partner to pull her out of the car and beat her, too.

Roland Wetherby was beaten by Morse with a flashlight and thrown to the ground in front of his mother and other witnesses.

At Friday's demonstration, many people were making a connection between the government's so- called war on terrorism and the terror the government unleashes daily on the people. As one man put it, "They're not only murdering here on the Crenshaw strip [one of the main boulevards that runs through many African-American neighborhoods in Los Angeles, including Inglewood], but over on the Gaza Strip."

Officer Morse is now on paid administrative leave. More protests are planned.

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