Tag Archives: police accountability

Black Bloc 101

11 Feb

Chris Hedges made a few waves with his recent piece describing the black bloc as the cancer in occupy.

click me pleaseI believe in diversity. I think diversity is a fundamental natural law of the universe. But I understand that human beings have a tidiness gene that makes us think that we can organize and be more efficient through suppression of diversity, by rejection of the natural order and diversity that constantly arises and evaporates back in to the order of chaos. Chaos is not merely disorder. There may be a level of order benefit and diversity in chaos that is not easily observed and is under-appreciated.

The black bloc tactic is something that arises from police violence toward non-violent protest and the willingness of society to choose order over the bedrock right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievance.

Diversity of tactics and tolerance of the diversity of tactics is something that I embrace whole-heartedly. Things can go wrong. I have seen that. Things can go right. I have seen that as well. I am usually pleased to see a black bloc tactical option in a crowd of protesters. I believe Hedges could not be more wrong about the black bloc tactic.

Here is an interesting and informative piece in response to Hedges cancer article. I recommend that you read the piece if you don’t understand and appreciate the black bloc tactic or if you read the Hedges article and thought what he said made a lot of sense.

After you read the piece, you might want to look through the n + 1 zine that is carrying the piece. Looks like a pretty informative vehicle. A weapon of mass instruction. I am down with that. Thanks to my friend Elliot Stoller for bringing this piece to my attention.

Lawrence O’Donnel Challenges Police Use of Force

27 Sep

Thanks to Abby Zimet at Common Dreams for her thoughts about this and for running this video there.

A Cautionary Tale from New Orleans (pronounce Nawlins, please)

17 Sep

Do Feel Safe, Punk?  courtesy John Martinez Pavliga Wiki CommonsI got email from DOJ – civil rights division that two NO police officers were sentenced in the killing of Raymond Robair:

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two Former New Orleans Police Officers Sentenced in Connection with the Death of Raymond Robair

WASHINGTON – Two former New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers were sentenced today in relation to the beating death of Raymond Robair and subsequent cover-up, the Justice Department announced today.

 

U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon sentenced former NOPD Officer Melvin Williams to 262 months in prison for violating the civil rights of Robair by beating him to death, and for obstructing justice in the wake of that beating. Former NOPD Officer Matthew Dean Moore, who was working as Williams’ partner on the day of the beating, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for obstructing justice and for making false statements to the FBI during a federal investigation into Robair’s death. Williams was also ordered to pay $11,576 in restitution and Moore was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

 

“The New Orleans Police Department has been broken for some time, and this case shows just that,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “I hope that today’s sentences bring justice for the family of Raymond Robair and the entire community.”

 

“Today’s prison sentences are once again powerful messages that we in the Department of Justice will never tolerate the abuse of power or victimization of our citizens by anyone in law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Lousiana Jim Letten. “All of our citizens – and especially those among us who are most vulnerable – as well as the men and women who honor the badge of law enforcement every day deserve our respect and our protection.”

This event took place a month before Katrina flooded New Orleans. You can read the details here. A lot went wrong in New Orleans during Katrina, but not much went worse than the police shooting and beating people, blocking their passage to safety. I think the Robair case is a good indicator of the attitude of the NOPD toward the community prior to the flooding.

I think we suffer from outrage fatigue in this country because so many outrages are done under color of law. Waterboarding anyone? No justice in that matter that can be discerned, but justice may have been served for these two policemen who have been are going to jail for their part in the beating death of Raymond Robair. Rookie police, like Moore in this case, should think long and hard about tolerating the abusive behavior of more “experienced” police officers. And of course, there is issue of testilying, but you never get to that point if as a rookie cop, you jump in and stop the crime of a police assaulting a citizen.