Man Who Successfully Sued Saint Louis Police Department Shot Dead By Same Department

By Huey Dessalines

December 17, 2019

SAINT LOUIS: Last week’s police shooting victim has been identified as 24 year old Cortez Bufford. Bufford was shot to death in the Carondelet neighborhood near the intersection of Bates and Virginia last Thursday night. STLMPD Chief John Hayden claims that Bufford was stopped for a “pedestrian check”, which is a mirror of the notorious NYPD policy of “stop and frisk”, where Black and Brown people are targeted for arbitrary police harassment, search (and plant), and arrest.

Bufford allegedly took off down a gangway, pulled out a semi-automatic pistol with extended magazine, and refused orders to put down this weapon, leading the officer to shoot him. Yet, the officer was unable to claim whether or not Bufford actually fired this pistol. The police are also claiming that narcotics were found at the scene. The family is rightfully questioning this narrative.

Bufford successfully sued the STLMPD in 2015 after a police officer turned off a dashcam which captured officers kicking and tasing him during an arrest. He was awarded $20,000. It is well known in the New Afrikan and activist community as a whole that the police retaliate against those who embarrass them or who challenge their unlawful authority over oppressed nations in any way.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of Fred Hampton, the Chair of the Chicago and Illinois Black Panther Parties. Hampton earned the ire of the Chicago Police Department by challenging them to their faces and on the streets, in the Court of the People. MOVE in Philadelphia was bombed after John Africa won a trial against the fascists, embarrassing them who hoped to railroad him into prison.

There are several activist accounts here in Saint Louis of police retaliation for recording them, suing them, asserting ones’ rights to them, and otherwise challenging their dirty work in our communities. This is just another example of the necessity of armed self-defense for New Afrikan activists. Pursuing a purely legal strategy results in illegal retaliation from those who hypocritically and falsely claim to be guardians of law and order. It is essential that we take stock of the current situation we face as a movement and a people, cast away illusions, and prepare for struggle.