Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another victim of the war on drugs and police violence.

Ten days ago New York City police opened fire on a vehicle containing three men. They killed a young man who was to be married within a few hours. I did not blog about it because I was waiting to see how it panned out. Unlike some police misconduct I’ve reported this was not immediately clear to me. But it looks like the cops were wrong and are lying about it to cover themselves. This, I regret, is typical police deceit.

This is not to say the men who were attacked were angels themselves. All indication is that they were not. But neither does it appear they were doing anything illegal. Cops in plainclothes surrounded their vehicle and pulled out weapons. The two survivors of the attacks say all they saw was men dressed like civilians pulling guns on them. They did what anyone would do in that situation --- they tried to get out of the area. In the attempt to flee an armed gang of men they hit an unmarked police car at which point the police opened fire.

The men were having a bachelor’s party for the engaged man and had gone to a strip club. Hardly laudatory but not a crime.

Police appear to be scurrying about to invent a story that would justify their actions. They are indicating that a fourth man, who they say was armed, was present. The presence of an unknown, unnamed, vanishing fourth man who pulled a weapon would justify the cops shooting at the vehicle. But the vehicle was surrounded by cops and no fourth man was apprehended. The two survivors of the attack say there were only three of them in the car. And after police riddled the vehicle, and the men inside it, with 50 bullets they searched it and found no weapons at all.

Cops are trigger happy in America. There is no doubt about that. And they often kill people because they are trigger happy. And every time they have the same excuse. They “thought” they saw a gun. And over and over again they are wrong. But they know if they say this they have a good chance of getting away with their crime (yes, I think shooting unarmed people is a crime even if done by men working for the government).

Witnesses to the attack give accounts contrary to the claims made by the killers, I mean the police. The undercover cops say they identified themselves first. Right! They say that every time. In Atlanta they shot to death a 92-year-old woman who defended her home when cops in civilian clothes broke down her door. But they insist they identified themselves first. But there are dozens and dozens of cases where innocent civilians say that armed cops attacked without identifying themselves. Sorry, I believe the civilians.

In New York the witnesses insist the police never identified themselves.

Police claim they thought their lives were in danger. Of course they claim that. Witnesses say that the police opened fire. After a round of gun fire, all by the police, they stopped. And they began shooting again. This is bad for the police. If they stopped to survey the situation they could only see what was there -- none of the men were armed. No one was firing on the police. But they resumed fire anyway! That won’t sit well in court.

Of course this was another “drug bust” that went wrong. Sean Bell, the murdered man, had the misfortune of having a bachelor’s party at a club that police were staking out. Plain clothes cops pulled out their weapons and did not identify who they were. It is common sense to assume they are criminals especially if one lives in a high crime area. Under those circumstances it is the right of the civilian to defend themselves. Police then kill the civilian and invent lies to justify the killing.

The war on drugs is responsible for this killing just as it was responsible for the killing of Kathryn Johnson only a few days ago. And I still contend that the law needs to remove any protection from the cops if it can be shown that they lied at any time in an investigation where they have killed someone. Once the police engage in lies they should be tried and sentenced just as if they were civilians.