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Saturday, July 26 2014 @ 02:14 PM CDT

New Orleans: "Your Goose Is Cooked, Sucka:" On The Long, Hot Summer To Come For NOPD

Police State

The police in New Orleans are rabid. Cops and the city are "circling their wagons" after multiple high-profile police murders, the conclusion of the Danziger Bridge and Henry Glover cases highlighting the code of silence and willingness of many cops to plant evidence and cover up crimes, and the recent scathing investigative series Louisiana Inc.arcerated detailing "how we became the world's prison capitol." Judging by the reactions of NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas, Sheriff Marlin Gusman and other elected officials, it would seem that the official response will be denial, procrastination, and attempting to evade any consequences and point the finger away from themselves.

"Your Goose Is Cooked, Sucka:" On The Long, Hot Summer To Come For NOPD

NOLA Anarcha

The police in New Orleans are rabid. Cops and the city are "circling their wagons" after multiple high-profile police murders, the conclusion of the Danziger Bridge and Henry Glover cases highlighting the code of silence and willingness of many cops to plant evidence and cover up crimes, and the recent scathing investigative series Louisiana Inc.arcerated detailing "how we became the world's prison capitol." Judging by the reactions of NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas, Sheriff Marlin Gusman and other elected officials, it would seem that the official response will be denial, procrastination, and attempting to evade any consequences and point the finger away from themselves.

At a modest home full of 5 small children in a quiet Gentilly neighborhood, an innocent 20 year old college-bound high school graduate emerges from his bedroom and is shot through the chest and bleeds to death, gasping for air, shirtless on the floor of his mother's home over a search warrant for weed that yielded only his brother's tiny personal stash; the Police Department and now the District Attorney do everything they can to suppress the release of the details of the case in the name of a "pending investigation." His killer, Officer Joshua Colclough, continues to work for the NOPD despite admitting to murdering an innocent, unarmed, shirtless young man and the DA has so far refused to filed any charges. Wendell Allen's family members have been tirelessly protesting, often alone, on street corners demanding justice and Colclough's arrest. More rallies are planned.

Recently, the gory details from the multiple NOPD bloodbaths in the wake of Hurricane Katrina surfaced during the Danziger trial and other investigations. Henry Glover's body was burned, children were shot with automatic weapons and people were stomped to death while bleeding from gunshot wounds on the Danziger Bridge, Danny Brumfield Sr. was shot in the back, people were beaten, disappeared, their civil rights were violated, and they were intimidated and threatened by police. None of the Danziger Bridge officers were convicted of murder despite the obvious evidence of such, and they received the lightest sentences allowed by law from the judge. Now, some of the officers are demanding their convictions be overturned, while one is up for a re-trial in August. And a 2008 racist beating of RTA employees by off-duty cops at The Beachcorner Bar is just now getting federal scrutiny, 4 years later, after local officials completely ignored the incident, signaling that police have complete impunity to terrorize whomever they want, which has added to local anger against them.

Only a week after Wendell Allen's murder, Justin Sipp is stopped at 5am along with his brother Earl by 3 white officers for a "broken license plate light" in the midst of the current climate of complete distrust of NOPD, while both were on their way to work at Burger King. Somehow a gunfight ensues, 2 officers are wounded and Justin is dead at the scene, while his brother Earl was also shot by the police while in handcuffs, is later released from the hospital without any charges against him. Officer Jason Giroir, who pulled the Sipp brothers over that morning, resigned only a month later after making racist, violent comments in regards to the Trayvon Martin murder case. Earl is keeping quiet about the incident on the advice of his lawyer pending civil litigation.

It was only slightly more than a year ago that local anarchists, as well as many artists, young musicians, and other paraders were beaten, tasered, had their bones broken, were bloodied, pepper-sprayed and terrorized by an NOPD riot against the Krewe of Eris annual Mardi Gras parade that was partially caught on video. An innocent man spent 45 days in OPP because of this police riot. Many of the other Eris defendants had to endure ridiculous court proceedings and blatantly lying NOPD officers until the circus finally wore them down enough to throw in the towel or be lucky enough to have their charges dropped, while one person still awaits a trial in open court on his trumped-up felony charges.

Anger against NOPD also continues to grow due to the fact that they don't seem to care that their plan for tackling the nation's highest murder rate, which overwhelmingly effects the poor, isn't working (at anything other than fattening their paychecks, and adding to NOPD's local power), as people plead desperately for ways out of the cycle of violence that NOPD will never even consider. Considering other options would likely mean reducing their funding in favor of groups like CeaseFire that actually work, so they continue to let the poor die to maintain their payroll. Adding to that frustrating, exasperating issue are many other less dire, but equally stupid annoyances that make people hate the cops, such as the classist, and often racially biased, harassment of local bicyclists for merely trying to ride from point A to point B, as well as tons of arrests for minor drug possession and unpaid traffic ticket warrants, which overwhelmingly target poor and black people, and get them stuck in the ringer of the court system that squeezes every drop of money from their pockets or throws them in jail, exasperating the poverty of the city's poorest citizens.

The DOJ has at least seven more open investigations into New Orleans police killings and has indicated its plans for more formal oversight of the New Orleans Police Department, as well as the city jail. The almost weekly arrests of sheriffs, cops, or other LEOs for crimes ranging from bribery to domestic violence, drug dealing to rape, continue to erode public confidence and trust in the cops. The regular business of NOPD, who logged 33,100 arrests in a city of 300,000 while enforcing their class war against the poor, and especially against the black poor in New Orleans, also continues to create anger, resentment, distrust, and utter hatred and contempt for the police.

Recent escapes from OPP by inmates over the last weeks are even serving to erode the faith in the cops and prisons by those who usually benefit from the way this city and this system is run. Even columnists from the corporate run media acknowledge that people cheer when cops from the police force responsible for so much terrorism and chaos are jailed.

Within the last year, local sentiment has turned more sharply against the police than the usual level of simmering discontent and mistrust that has always existed here. In November and December noise demonstrations were organized at OPP by anti-prison activists. A protest organized by local anarchists in solidarity with Occupy Oakland's revolutionaries and against police brutality in February left participants "feeling pumped up, empowered and enthusiastic." Radical propaganda has been seen around Downtown, Mid-City, Gentilly, Uptown, and other neighborhoods of the city, some if it already deteriorating from people attempting to tear it down, some of it left alone by a largely sympathetic public to call for justice for police murder victims and criticize the police. Lots of anti-police graffiti has also appeared around town, as well as slogans remembering Justin Sipp and Wendell Allen. A video about Wendell Allen's murder was made by his family and has been posted to YouTube. A powerful video about Wendell Allen, Ramarley Graham, and Rekia Boyd was recently created for spreading awareness on YouTube. Local racist monuments were vandalized by people angry with police murders. The monthly "Slingshots, Anyone?" column in AntiGravity Magazine focuses on the ongoing struggle (on pg. 5).
Even the local corporate media seems to be dog-piling atop the stories, finally waking up to the rage about to boil over here. A few journalists seem to be asking honest questions at the vigils and rallies, following up on older stories and tying tales of brutality together, painting a portrait of a poisonous tree instead of a few bad apples.

People ask "wasn't the Danziger case supposed to fix this?" yet the victims of police murder continue to go without justice day after day and more people continue to get shot by NOPD. Most recently the anti-capitalist May Day march saw people vent their rage at the owners of this system by attacking banks and corporate property while chanting anti-police slogans, and there was a Mother's Day March where the list of demands was so long an all-out revolution sounds easier than getting the powers that be to make all those changes.

The police did not learn from the Hurricane Katrina cases. No lawsuit pay-outs, jailing of a few officers, or amount of bad publicity is going to stop this rampage against the public. This an abusive relationship the citizens of New Orleans have with the New Orleans Police, and the only thing that stops the abusive behavior pattern is palpable and firm consequence. Firing the murderers of Justin Sipp or Wendell Allen isn't enough, more academy rejects from the NOPD will step in to take their place. Imagine if a citizen was suspected of being responsible for the death of a police officer, would they be eligible to return to work the next day? Or would they be held without bail indefinitely until the conclusion of the trial? This double-standard, this act of the State protecting the frothing, bloodthirsty dogs it sics on the public without a second thought, contributes to the growing trend of turning the public into just another complex form of livestock. Keep the line moving or get the prod.

In Oakland, CA, the public went wild when the police murdered Oscar Grant, causing the city, in an appeal for calm, to arrest the offending officer. In Greece, the popular insurrection sparked by the murder of a 15 year old in a radical neighborhood continues to help destabilize a country in the throes of the ugly side of capitalism -- austerity, scarcity, and poverty. Plenty of other examples can be found all over the world where the people fight back, take a stand against the State and its violence, and refuse to take this shit by setting a real precedent for resistance. These smatterings of rage provide a fiery consequence to police violence, helping blaze a path to where the policemen draw their weapons nervously out of fear of what sort of hellish storm could be brought down should they go too far or even do their "job" in a less-than-invisible fashion. A world where there is no machismo-caused "collateral damage" like 7 year old Aiyana Jones in Detroit, slain by pigs in a raid on the wrong house.
But those that seek to manage this anger, channel it politically or attempt to minimize the possibility of damage to the police and State tell folks that "there is a time and a place" for that kind of rage, that yearning for some real action. Well, New Orleans has 2 police murders the DA refuses to press charges on, there are several investigations into brutality by DOJ and a scathing report about the cops here, a murder epidemic that the cops refuse to do anything constructive about, and secretive internal investigations that no one is allowed to see. The cops don't show any signs of letting up, despite the system attempting to clean itself. The public is powerless, the police protect themselves and each other, and more people are beginning to realize this. The fight isn't in the courts, where consequences can be neutered and the public's anger defused, it's in the streets.

This isn't about what color you are, where you come from, your sexuality or politics. This is about being a human being. They abuse us all and they aren't going to read the picket signs and start changing their minds.

New Orleans, isn't now starting to look like "that time"? 
Isn't this city starting to look like "that place"? 
Where you at?

---------

Some ideas on how to get down with the struggle and fight back no matter who you are (which will inspire others to fight back as well):

--Come to the marches. That's easy. Make a sign you feel proud to hold that expresses what you want to say. Advanced: bring drums, instruments, and other noisemakers to liven up the march. Bring wheatpaste to put up posters along the route during the march, or fliers to pass out to people the march goes by. Recent anti-police brutality marches have been met with enthusiastic responses from many people on the street. Seize the opportunity to engage with them.

--Organize a Break Away March that leaves from the end of an anti-police brutality march like they did in Atlanta. Make a flier for it, hand it out to other radicals and spread the word, and make sure people know what level of militancy you are expecting people to be ready for at it. Of course you won't be able to control everyone's actions, but you can at least give those who may be confused, surprised, or frightened by the increased militancy it will take to pressure authorities into make substantial changes in policy some warning, and hopefully they'll still show up, but just be more prepared for it.

--Hang a banner calling for justice for victims of police murder, the arrest of Officer Colclough, the arrests of Officers Asevedo, Giroir, and Mayfield, or any other anti-police, anti-system slogan you choose. Take a photo and send it to us. Easy to do, and inspires others to keep fighting.

--Athens, Greece style "counter-informational" demos: If you think the mainstream press isn't doing a good job covering the anti-police rage in this city, get out there and let people know! In Athens 4 or 5 people "counter-informational" demos occur regularly. All you need is a few hours of time, a stack of fliers about the injustices going on for one person to pass to everyone walking by, a big banner that two people can hold up, and one person with a megaphone discussing the details of the issues and inviting anyone walking by who has their own complaints about the police to come speak out about it. These work wonders at engaging the local citizens and breaking through the mainstream media disinformation to get people to understand what is going on. When you go out, invite other radicals, too, and who knows, it could turn into a march, street blockade, or other action that goes beyond the bounds of education into disruption of business as usual.

--In Belgium people do these events called "ballades" where a big group of anarchists (20-40 or more) get together to walk around town on the sidewalks wheatpasting up posters and spray-painting slogans. Some people have fliers to hand out to passers-by that explain the action and slogans--they also serve as look-outs by being at the corners of the block on either side of the main group. There are anarchist posters and graffiti all over Bruxelles, thanks in part to these ballades. If the atmosphere seems right, sometimes these ballades turn into "wild demos" and things get smashed, openly and defiantly.

--In the small, economically depressed California city of Modesto some anarchists have been known to engage in the "prole stroll" which is more or less the American version of the Belgian "ballade." The tactic has spread around the world, and was recently seen in Montreal.

--Think we are free with all this police murder going on? No? Then why not organize a "freedom graffiti week" in New Orleans like this martyred youth in Syria did? This idea comes from the uprising going on in Syria right now. The idea is pretty self-explanatory: make some fliers, challenge people to do as much anti-police graffiti as possible in a week, and maybe raise some funds to have free spray cans available all week for people to get from some accessible location. Maybe have some stencil designs available as well.

--A Chilean style "salida" could work pretty well in the right, dimly-lit, narrow street location in New Orleans, of which we have plenty. From the link:  

"The pictures correspond to the clashes of Friday, January 6, outside the Usach university, where there was plenty of fire, including the burning of the offices of the Servicio de Impuestos Internos (Tax Office). The photos represent a "salida", that is to say a sortie where, as in Greece, the rioters use the university (or high schools since the movement of 2011 in Chile) to take the street, block, and attack the State vehicles that pass within Molotov range. The sortie last January corresponded to the fourth anniversary of the assassination of comrade Matías Catrileo by the cops. In the images, one sees the gathering and the attacks, respectively, against a van transporting money and one of the Prison Administration. The prison van burnt by molotovs belongs to the special services of the PA, that is to say the USEP (Unidad de Servicios Especiales Prisons). As recalled by the companions of Chile in the text accompanying the pictures, "a thought for the prisoners murdered following their attempted escape during the earthquake of 27 February 2010, the 81 prisoners who died in the San Miguel prison in December 8, 2011, the two injured and murdered for having attempted to escape from the prison of Talagante January 29, 2012, the 361 prisoners who died in the Comayagua jail in Honduras February 14, and that is only a few of the massacres produced by the prison society. A thought also for the comrades who are in the jails of the enemy, they are not alone."


--Take Space: "Occupy Wall Street" wasn't called "General Assembly In A Park" for a reason: the innovation that made Occupy such a wildfire force for change was their willingness to take and attempt to hold a space and make it public and politicized 24/7. You can Occupy for any reason: in Oakland they named their occupied park Oscar Grant Plaza, clearly connecting the occupation to the struggle against police murder. It has been one of the most successful encampments in the country. In Atlanta anti-capitalists took over a building and used it for a dance party, politicizing partying and making it about the lack of spaces not controlled by capitalism and some rich fuck trying to make money off you. Such occupied space can be held symbolically, with the intention of getting arrested there to make a point, or it can be with the intention of trying to keep it forever. Which makes more sense depends on the location and your objectives. Think: lunch counter sit-ins, Occupy NOLA, Oakland commune, Paris commune, squatted social centers, autonomous territories, stateless societies. 
  Sticker from Oakland with the face of the cop who killed Oscar Grant on it.

New Orleans Where Y'at?  
We In For A Long Hot Summer!  

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