From the May-June 2021 issue of News & Letters
Los Angeles—On April 21, after the guilty verdict against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, several hundred people gathered on 8th St., west of Downtown, in support of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles’s (BLMLA) goal to abolish the Los Angeles police protective league.
Melina Abdullah, founder of BLMLA, stated: “Lies of police include Derek Chauvin’s statement that George Floyd died of pre-existing medical conditions. A new murder by police in Columbus, Ohio, is the killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant. I am grateful for the energy of this crowd.”
A speaker honored the hundreds murdered by the LAPD and LA County Sheriff’s deputies, singling out Wakiesha Wilson, Daniel Hernandez, John Horton, Kenneth Ross Jr., Kevin Brown, Ezell Ford and Eric Garner, who was choked to death in 2014 by New York City police. His last words were, “I can’t breathe.”
Another speaker stated: “We need to get a court order to stop police brutality on peaceful protesters. Policing in this country started as part of chattel slavery. We are working for a world fit for all human life.”
The sister of police victim Daniel Hernandez stated: “It was the people that found George Floyd’s murderer guilty. LAPD judges and criminalizes us. We demand accountability.”
‘IT WASN’T THE SYSTEM, IT WAS US!’
Lisa Hines, mother of Wakiesha Wilson, killed while in police custody, stated: “Of the hundreds of people killed by police, is this the only one convicted? It wasn’t the system—it was us being in the streets. I’m grateful for you all being here.”
A woman spoke against recent LAPD police force in full riot gear ousting scores of tented homeless people from Echo Park in the Latinx and white neighborhood near Downtown. (See “LA pits poor against poorer Echo Park houseless.”) She stated: “Abolish this s—- once and for all. Reparations would be justice for A.J. Weber and 20-year-old Daunte Wright.”
A man named Albert stated: “Policing is part of U.S. capitalism that started in order to catch runaway slaves. From the 1669 Casual Killing Act to what is going down in 2021, 352 years later, Black lives begin to matter.” And not so distant history shows that in the 1990s, racist LAPD Chief Darryl Gates went to Southern states to recruit white supremacists into the LAPD.
We were just one of the large and small groups that gathered throughout this country on April 19 to hear the verdict in the Chauvin trial, including one inside the Capitol by the Congressional Black Caucus. Others took place in Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and in LA at the corner of Florence and Normandie, site of the 1992 LA Rebellion (after the four LAPD police who beat Rodney King almost to death were acquitted by an all-white jury). Black journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson has stated that Derek Chauvin’s trial also put America on trial.
The LAPD takes over 50% of the city’s budget, leaving many social services without adequate funding. They consistently ask the city to increase their budget. We need to abolish this capitalist system that accepts white supremacists like Donald Trump as political leaders, and poverty for so many as the billionaire population grows.
We need a society of new human relations. Police departments are part of the capitalist system with its white supremacy and racism. We want a society without exploitation and domination, and without an economy based on the profit system—a society where people of all races have equal opportunities and living standards where every person can develop their individual talents and capacities.
News and Letters Committees has projected dialectical philosophy as part of masses in motion for social revolution to create this new society.