Whose Streets? The Police State's Streets


Stop Killing Us. AP photo

One more time, this time in St. Louis, a judge has ruled it's legal for cops to murder black people - even when, as in the December 2011 shooting by former cop Jason Stockley of Anthony Lamar Smith after he stopped Smith for a suspected drug deal, the cop screams while chasing down the suspect that “I’m going to kill this motherfucker," eventually catches him and shoots him five times at point-blank range, with a "kill" shot from six inches away, while armed with a service pistol and an AK-47 contrary to the Police Department’s orders, and then plants a .38-caliber revolver bearing only his DNA in the victim's car to make sure he can get away with it. In Friday's inexplicable acquittal of Stockley, St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson ruled that the police pursuit was in response to Smith's "perilous conduct," that said pursuit was "a stressful event for the occupants," and that, in any case, based on his nearly 30 years on the bench, a drug dealer not in possession of a firearm "would be an anomaly."

The ruling got the reception it deserved from a long-beleaguered community: three straight days of  protests that continued into Monday. There have been die-ins, walk-outs from school, marches of chanting "Stop Killing Us!" While daytime protests remained peaceful and well-organized, a handful of nighttime acts of vandalism prompted an increasingly brutal response by riot-gear-clad police. They teargassed, pepper-sprayed, manhandled and threatened crowds of "agitators" and by Monday had arrested over 80 people, including journalists and an elderly woman they knocked to the ground before handcuffing her. When protesters sought refuge from the violence in a synagogue, police reportedly threatened to fire tear gas inside, thus inspiring Nazis to crawl out of the woodwork with the hashtag #GasTheSynagogue. Police, meanwhile, defended their actions: They boasted "We're in control - this is our city" and, insult to injury, chanted "Whose Streets? Our Streets.” With a police state clearly in sight, dismayed (black) writer Elie Mystal echoed them. "Whose streets?" he asked. "Not mine. I get it."

You can imagine how St. Louis police treat African-Americans: Here's video of them literally marching over, knocking down, then arresting the elderly white woman in red and white.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

Share This Article