Police brutality continues to be a scourge against poor and working people across the United States. Youth, high school and college students, the unemployed, seniors, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, homeless people, Occupiers — just about everyone is subject to police abuse if they stand up for their rights.
When it comes to poor people and people of color, the police do not need a reason. Victims are profiled and abused simply for being who they are.
On Saturday, June 30, a People’s Assembly will hold hearings in Baltimore to expose and oppose police violence and abuse. The hearings will run from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Sharp Memorial United Methodist Church at Dolphin and Ettings streets.
The hearings have been organized by the Justice4Trayvon organization, which led a large demonstration on March 26 to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, the young African American stalked and killed by a vigilante in Florida. The issues raised in that march have expanded to include justice for the victims of police brutality.
In cities across the country, police brutality follows an all-too-familiar pattern. Cops profile, beat, mace, falsely arrest, destroy and seize property, and often murder people, primarily in the Black and Latino/a communities.
Sometimes, if a case is high enough profile, the police involved may be temporarily suspended, with pay. The case is then sent to a grand jury whose proceedings are secret. The result is invariably to exonerate the officers, or at most to deliver a slap on the wrist. Often this is accompanied by media coverage based on unverified leaks that slander and diminish the victims.
The People’s Assembly in Baltimore will give poor and working people an opportunity to expose, by first-hand testimony, the cesspool of brutality and racism carried out by the police on the streets of Baltimore on a daily basis.
Sharon Black, an organizer of the Trayvon Martin march, said to Workers World that police brutality “is a blow against all of us, whether we are in the Occupy movement, with a union, fighting to stop racism, war or injustice, no matter where we live or reside.”
All out for the People’s Assembly!