United National Antiwar Coalition
Statement in Support of Baltimore Protests
In the United States every Black man, woman and child risks becoming the victim of an extra judicial killing. Because the government does not record these inconvenient facts, activists are left to determine that police kill at least 1,000 people every year. While chattel slavery ended 150 years ago, the U.S. still has a very active slave patrol system and it is carried out by police officers around the country. When they injure and kill they do so with impunity.
The medical examiner in Baltimore, Maryland ruled Freddie Gray’s death in police custody a homicide. The filing of charges against six officers by the State Attorney is a necessary step but by no means assures justice in this case or a change in regard to a deep and systemic problem.
The system of mass incarceration began to take shape as a direct reaction to the liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It results not just in imprisonment but police brutality and murder and not just in Baltimore but across the country.
The death toll from police violence went unnoticed until people rose up as they did in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, New York and in countless other cities. The inspiration from the people of Ferguson led to thousands of protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. However that movement has yet to lead to the successful prosecution in a case of police brutality.
The United National Antiwar Coalition supports the right to protest against police murder. Calls for non-violence cannot be used as a smoke screen to silence the right to demand redress. People in the U.S. are encouraged to support uprisings around the world if they are sanctioned by our government, yet are told to condemn any protest taking place in their own country. There will be no end to police violence if there is not a loud and unified cry for justice. That cry is only heard when thousands of people march in the streets.
The Obama justice department has declined to pursue federal prosecution in the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford or any of the hundreds of other cases of Black homicide at the hands of police. While the president claimed a previously unknown right to assassinate American citizens, and did so, the justice department also claims that the legal bar is “too high” to bring police to justice when they assassinate at will.
The mass movement spawned in Ferguson and now taking shape in Baltimore must be clear in its demands. The federal government must prosecute killer police and every community, particularly those of color which are disproportionately victimized, must have direct control of their local police departments.
Politicians can no longer be allowed to hide behind useless “police/community relations” gimmicks which provide no protection from police brutality. Black faces in high places as mayors, district attorneys and police chiefs are also not a means of ending the criminalization of Black life. Reform is just another word for inaction and for maintenance of the status quo which grants the right to kill without fear of punishment. Any call for yet another panel or blue ribbon commission is useless if it does not also discuss community control, and with it the right to hire, fire and if need be prosecute local law enforcement.
The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) stands with the people of Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, Staten Island, North Charleston and every other locale where a Black person has been killed by police.
Black lives matter!
End mass incarceration!
Community control of police!
Prosecute police brutality!