By Eireann Saoirse Lyudmila
January 24, 2020
BRIDGEPORT: In the first twenty days of the New Year, four people have died at the hands or under custody of Connecticut Police – the same number of State killings in all of 2019, and four times the year prior.
Ansonia Police murdered Michael Gregory on January 2nd. Justin Griffin passed away under thus far unknown circumstances after Milford Police moved him from the hospital into a holding cell where he died overnight January 5th.
Connecticut State Police murdered 19-year old Mubarak Soulemane on January 15th, 2020 following a chase that ended in the teenager’s death. In a confrontation that lasted under two minutes, several State Police surrounded the vehicle, quickly claimed that he pulled a knife, and shot through the glass. One of the officers was heard referring to Mubarak as the n-word during the chase. Soulemane, who was affectionately known as Mubi by the community, family, friends, and myself, was an avid student, athlete, and overall genuine kid who struggled with mental illness.
On Tuesday, January 21st, a large crowd numbering about 200 assembled at New Haven City Hall before marching to the City’s Police Headquarters. “He was our son, he was our brother, he was our nephew,” Alahaji Muhammad Murtala, Soulemane’s uncle, told the crowd. “The community is sad, and this is an unprecedented situation in the annals of our history. Whatever allegations they have leveled against him…the boy shouldn’t have died the way he was massacred.” There will be a service at the First Calvary Baptist Church in New Haven, led by Reverend Al Sharpton on Sunday, January 26th.
Edward ‘Ned’ Gendron was murdered by Waterbury Police in his own home on January 20th. While 57-yr old Gendron had no criminal arrests, the Officer Ronald Tompkins, who has been with the Department since 1989, did. According to local activist Robert Goodrich, Ned was a disabled person suffering from both substance and mental health struggles. Police claim that a firearm was displayed. Grendon was a legally permitted gun-owner. Due to Waterbury PD’s lack of body cameras, there is no video evidence.
Following thousands of State killings in the United States, we’ve become accustomed to this brutally repetitive cycle that continues like clockwork. There will be investigations and officers will be given temporary [probably] paid leave. Maybe they’ll be a conviction, maybe they’ll be an acquittal.
Ultimately, these results don’t change the reality of long-since normalized military-police occupation of our working and underclass communities that continue to see people dying at the hands of State Forces.
“The Imperialist & Capitalist systems occupy areas. They occupy them by sending in soldiers or policemen there. The policemen or soldiers are only a gun to force the establishment’s hand; they make the racist secure in his racism. And the gun in the establishment’s hand makes the establishment secure in its exploitation”
-Huey P. Newton, as quoted in the Committee of Internal Security’s Hearings on June 3rd & 4th, 1969
This remarkable spike in police killings in such a short-period, within close vicinity of each other, is a blunt display that the State is not afraid to exercise its ability to use fatal force, and without real repercussions. Without an organization backed by the full-hearted support of the masses within the community, these acts of murder will continue taking place, becoming inevitably buried under statistics. The passionate, emotional displays coming out of the community and beyond following these tragedies show us the energized potential of the masses. Our duty as communists is to join these mass struggles, placing ourselves humbly to learn from them, engage with people on an every-day level, and transform their ideas into sharpened, organized action.
Justice doesn’t come down from the government or capitalists by appeals to law, emotion, or morality. Neither does it come from them at all. Justice comes from the people, and the people alone. The masses have the untapped ability to construct thriving independent communities, and drive murderous police forces out. No more killings. Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.
End the Occupation of the Hood!
Justice For Our Dead!
Abolish the Police!
Build for Independent Communities!