Honor Malcolm: Support Troy Davis and Fight Police Brutality
This post will not be a lofty tribute to Brother Malcolm, if you would like to see one like that, check it out here. This will be a call to action, because that is one of the things El Hajj Malik El Shabazz was about. Today is a National Day of Action to Stop the Execution of Troy Davis and today I saw a heinous video of a young teenager brutalized by the Police of Toledo. I do not doubt that Malcolm would have been disturbed to action by both. Let’s honor him by doing the work!
Today is global day of action for Troy Davis who is set to be executed if we, that includes you, do not demand a retrial. You have probably seen Davis’ name and maybe even read up on the case. Well there is plenty of material online but I’ll summarize. Davis was convicted of shooting an off-duty police officer in 1989 in Savannah, Georgia at Burger King (there was also a shooting at a party earlier that evening). The scene of the shooting was a Burger King where Sylvester Coles got in an altercation with a homeless man. Coles and Davis are physically similar in size and the overlap in Davis and Coles’ night is eerie. The State of Georgia put its resources into investigating Davis and little into properly investigating Coles. As a result they arrested Davis and convicted him on 9 eye-witness testimonies. Since conviction, Davis has maintained innocence. In 2001, 7 out of 9 “witnesses” re-canted their statements saying they were coerced into saying Davis was the shooter via improper police and legal procedures. Through a railroading and denial of a re-trial Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in the near future. If you’re in NYC, join us at Union Square from 6-8 for a National Day of Action for Troy Davis or find a local event or activity here. Davis’ stays of execution and case have only gotten this far because everyday people are putting pressure on the State of Georgia, to be “fair” and not “final”. Let’s keep up the pressure and stop the loss of another innocent Black man’s life.
As I was typing this post, I came across a video of police brutalizing a 14 year old boy, Trevor Casey, in Toledo, Ohio. The video footage (which is graphic) is here. While I do not know the circumstances leading up to his arrest, choke and bloodying, I do know that the young man’s life would likely have been in even greater danger if this was not caught on tape. Police brutality is common in our communities, but seldom gets taken seriously, let’s not let this be the case.
The reality is that our young Black youth everyday come in contact with a police force that fears them more than protects and serves them. It’s all too often that I walk down the street in Harlem and see “undercovers” jump out, harrass youth, and then continue on with their patrol. Even more disturbing then these “stop and frisks” is the way that many of the young brothas and sistahs I see harrassed respond. They get searched, often illegally, and continue on with their day as if it has been or should be a routine occurence.
If we truly want to honor Malcolm, then we cannot let the State (of Georgia and Toledo) in these cases go unchecked. Troy Davis, like many on death row and those killed on death row, was railroaded and we cannot let his case go quietly. While we celebrate the arrival of a Black Attornery General, the real power to respond to judicial injustice must come from the people. Stand up, speak out! Trevor Casey was brutalized in front of his home and the community is crying out for help. The disease of racism and fear of young Black men runs deep, don’t let his case be “investigated” (the Oscar Grant trial from Oakland is now happening) and dismissed as so many cases of brutality are. Stand up, speak out! Don’t read about this stories and get sad, in fact, get angry. Because if Brother Malcolm taught us, “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”