The Internationalist  
  March 2013  

Bring Out Workers’ Power to Stop “Stop and Frisk” Cold
  East Flatbush Police State:
Racist NYPD Kills Again

Protester among 46 arrested during police assault on March 13 demonstration against cop killing of
Kimani Gray.
(Photo: AP)

It Will Take Workers Revolution To Avenge Kimani Gray!

Late on Saturday, March 9, plainclothes police officers patrolling Brooklyn in an unmarked car shot eleven bullets at 16-year-old Kimani (“Kiki”) Gray at the corner of East 55th Street and Church Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Gray was hit by seven rounds, three in the back; he was dead by the time he arrived at Kings County Hospital. This was a “good shooting,” said NY Police Department spokesman John C. Cerar. There was “nothing to indicate that this shooting was outside the guidelines,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed that Kimani Gray’s alleged handgun – which wasn’t used on anyone – was illegal. “I’m doing everything I can to keep guns off our streets, as you know, and keep young people away from guns,” said the billionaire, as he condemned the “violence” of protesters. Mr. Bloomberg, the only gun that killed anyone belonged to what you boast of as your “private army,” the NYPD guard dogs of the city’s racist capitalist ruling class.

“Blame Kimani Gray,” screamed a headline in the 14 March New York Post. And the blame-the-victim campaign is on. The victim, of course, is a young black man in the impoverished West Indian neighborhood of East Flatbush. The capitalist press is smearing Kimani and his brother as “gang members” when it was the police who shot a 16-year-old youth in the back.

The two officers who killed Gray, Sergeant Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova have been named in five federal civil rights lawsuits over illegal stop and searches, false arrest and the like, paying out over $200,000 in settlements. But you can count on the bosses’ press to defend its hired killers to the hilt, especially when their victim is a black man.

Neighbors and friends of Kimani Gray remembered the police execution of Shantel Davis, 23 years old, an unarmed woman shot and killed as she fled from NYPD just blocks from the scene of Gray’s murder, on 14 June 2012. We remember Ramarley Graham, an 18-year-old unarmed man, executed by NYPD narcotics squad in his bathroom in front of his grandmother, on 2 February 2012; Sean Bell, executed in a hail of 50 NYPD bullets on his wedding day, 25 November 2006; Timothy Stansbury, 19 years old, executed by NYPD in Brooklyn for opening a door while black, 24 January 2004, and so many others. So who are the dangerous potential killers? Not Kimani Gray.

Police say Kimani pointed a gun at them, which they claim to have recovered. Why, then, was he shot in the back? Why have none of the many witnesses said he was holding a gun? Why has one, hospital clerk Tishana King, who witnessed the shooting from her third-floor window, said she is certain he had nothing in his hands? The cops’ story stinks.

And what about the supposed right to bear arms? Gun control is the bourgeoisie’s ploy to disarm the population so that their badge-toting gunmen have a monopoly on deadly firepower. This is why we Internationalists are opposed to all gun control laws: gun control kills blacks! Who shot and killed an innocent man? Not Kimani Gray.

What gives undercover police the right to stalk and assassinate a black youth on the streets of Brooklyn? Because he – according to official sources in the New York Times – “adjusted his waistband in a suspicious manner”? Shades of another NYPD assassination of another young black man – Amadou Diallo, 23 years old, executed in the doorway of his home in the Bronx by NYPD on 4 February 1999, as he reached for his wallet.

Youth of East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn confront police army of occupation, March 13.

In fact, the NYPD has at least one program for stalking and harassing black and Latino youth, called the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program or J-RIP. As the New York Times (4 March) approvingly headlined, “Police Trail Youths Before the Crime,” with unwarranted home and school visits, persistent street harassment and on-line tracking, including inventing fake Facebook identities to lure the gullible. Is it any wonder that one of the targets of the gang in blue has ended up dead?

Every night throughout the week that followed, hundreds of mourners and protesters gathered at the corner of East 55th St. and Church Ave. On Wednesday, March 13, after the city’s autopsy revealed that Kimani Gray had been shot in the back, police attacked a group of 200 protesters who were attempting to march in the direction of the 67th Precinct. The cops arrested some 46 people, shoving marchers to the pavement and assailing marchers and bystanders with pepper spray as police helicopters buzzed overhead. Among the arrested was Gray’s sister, Mahnefeh.

We demand: Drop all charges against the protesters! The killer cops have turned East Flatbush into an occupied zone. The very presence of these thugs in blue is an imminent danger to the life and liberty of black people and all residents in the area: All cops out of East Flatbush now!

NYC public advocate Bill DeBlasio (left) and Councilman Jumaane Williams in East Flatbush, March 13. Williams denounced “outside” agitators. (Photo: Demotix)

At a City Council budget hearing, Democratic Councilman Jumaane Williams, whose district includes East Flatbush, quarreled with top cop Kelly. But after the Wednesday night police assault on marchers, Williams furiously lashed out on his Twitter feed against “adults from OUTSIDE the community who incite our angry young people!!!” So in the face of the cop rampage did Councilman Williams demand that the police from “OUTSIDE the community” get out? Did he at least demand that all 45 arrested protesters be freed and the charges dropped? Not that we have seen.

Williams, a black man of Grenadian ancestry, has himself been the target of racist treatment by the NYPD, tackled and arrested for the “crime” of walking on a sidewalk during Brooklyn’s annual West Indian Day parade in 2011. At the same time, he has voted for every city budget since his election, totaling billions of dollars for the NYPD. While saying the outrage in the community is justified, along with his “outside agitator” baiting Williams said it is necessary to “channel the anger properly.” For him and other “progressive” Democrats, that means keeping it confined to the safe channels of pressuring the capitalist party and capitalist state they represent.

The murder of Kimani Gray will amplify the outcry against the NYPD’s racist “stop and frisk” policy, as a federal lawsuit over the policy brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights began its trial on March 18. The Internationalist Group demands an immediate, unconditional end to this policy of racist profiling and “random” searches. But as we wrote last summer, “‘Stop and frisk’ is neither the first nor the most horrendous aspect of racist police-state repression of blacks, immigrants, and other oppressed groups. Cops don’t just stop, they murder too” (The Internationalist Special Issue, Summer 2012).

And note that the various pressure groups linked to the Democratic Party that claim to oppose stop and frisk don’t even propose to end it, only to clean it up a little.

The deadly police occupation of the ghettos is not going to be solved by asking sharp questions of cop commissioner Kelly in City Council hearings, nor can it be overcome by the isolated explosions of rage and despair in the ghettos themselves. What’s urgently needed to stay the hand of the killer cops is to bring out a force superior to that of the repressive apparatus. A class-struggle leadership of the unions, such as the Internationalist Group fights for, would call for a mass mobilization of union power along with the millions of oppressed black, Latino and immigrant residents to shut the city down over police brutality and murder.

And that means not just another Sunday parade, but surround City Hall and really occupy Wall Street until the NYPD’s racist “stop and frisk” is stopped cold. It should also demand that NYC officials and employees cease all cooperation with the federal ICE immigration police: no more handing over of teenagers in Rikers Island to the racist migra for deportation. Any effort in this direction will need to push aside the resistance of the pro-capitalist union bureaucracy, which never lets an opportunity pass to salute the bloody flag of U.S. imperialism and bow to the racist, strikebreaking cops. We say: cops, prison guards, security guards out of the unions!

Thousands across New York City and beyond who have felt the heavy hand of racist police violence are crying out for justice. Across the country, even as Barack Obama is the first black president in the White House, cop terror against poor communities and particularly black young men, continues unabated. The bitter truth is that black oppression – ranging from rampant prejudice, to pervasive police harassment to mass incarceration and modern-day lynching like Kimani Gray – is in the bedrock on which U.S. capitalism rests. It will not be reformed away by cop watches, civilian review boards, civil rights lawsuits or lashing out in desperate acts of impotent rage.

Carol Gray holds graduation photo of her son Kimani, with Councilman Charles Barron. (Photo: AP)

It will take a workers revolution that overturns the foundations of capitalist rule to put an end to what Malcolm X aptly called the “American Nightmare.” There will be no justice for Kimani Gray, or for so many others like him, until the bourgeois rulers and their racist police guard dogs are swept away by the multi-racial, international working class. 

To contact the Internationalist Group and the League for the Fourth International, send e-mail to: internationalistgroup@msn.com