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Community protests Baltimore police killing of Anthony Anderson Sr.

By Steven Ceci

October 3, 2012

BULLETIN: The autopsy report released Oct. 2 officially ruled Anthony Anderson’s death a homicide. The report showed he died from a ruptured spleen, severe blunt trauma injuries, six to 10 broken ribs and other injuries. The Baltimore People’s Assembly – including Anderson’s family – is calling for the jailing of killer cops.

<small><small><b>photos: Sharon Black</b></small></small>

photos: Sharon Black

Baltimore, Oct. 1 — Anthony Anderson Sr. was brutally killed by Baltimore police officers on the early evening of Sept. 21 in front of his family, including his 2-year-old and 9-year-old grandchildren, his children and his mother. Both grandchildren continue to have nightmares.

In an investigation conducted by the Baltimore Peoples Assembly, countless witnesses described how “knockers” — a term used by the community to identify undercover narcotics police — ran up behind Anderson, grabbed him around the knees, hoisted him in the air and brutally slammed him to the ground. Anderson was a small man who weighed about 135 pounds.

Most believe that he died on the scene, handcuffed, prior to being transported to the hospital. Some describe Anderson convulsing with seizures; others stated that police tried to prop up his limp and lifeless body in order to remove him from the area.

The police immediately claimed that Anderson choked and died after trying to swallow a bag of drugs. All community witnesses agree that this is a lie. A leaked autopsy report, broadcast by WBAL TV investigative reporter Jane Miller, states that Anderson had no drugs in his system and that he suffered from a massive ruptured spleen and two broken ribs. Even before the autopsy was leaked, police had to admit that nothing was in Anderson’s airway.

A press conference of close to 100 people took place Sept. 25 to refute the Baltimore Police Department’s lies. The conference was organized by the Baltimore Peoples Assembly, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the All Peoples Congress.

Following the press conference, police stopped Anthony Anderson Jr., the victim’s 20-year-old son, as he was leaving the house and called out to him to “drop the gun.” He was carrying a bag of his father’s clothes to the funeral home. Fortunately five witnesses had the presence of mind to take down the police tag number.

The Rev. Cortly “C. D.” Witherspoon, a Baltimore Peoples Assembly organizer and president of the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said, “Obviously, police were trying to terrorize and intimidate Anthony [Jr.] or, if he had made the wrong move, kill him. Witnesses called us immediately. We wrote a public complaint to the mayor, commissioner and district major that informed them we intended to occupy the home and neighborhood if the police persisted.”

Police officials agreed to withdraw officers from that block, according to Rev. Witherspoon and Sharon Black, of the Baltimore Peoples Assembly. One organizer stated: “We had full intentions and the ability to carry out such an occupation to protect the family; in fact we returned the next day to make sure police kept their word. We also distributed fliers and asked people to call us if anything changed. Occupy members had spent the day right afterward taking the first shift.”

After funeral services for Anthony Anderson Sr. on Sept. 29, close to 200 people marched from the funeral home behind a banner reading “Justice for Anthony Anderson Sr.” Others carried signs demanding “Jail killer police” and “Community control of police.” The protesters, filled with anger and outrage and followed by a small procession of cars, marched a mile and half through Baltimore’s East Side to the scene of Anderson’s killing.

‘People are waking up’

Organizers of this struggle describe a changed situation. The Rev. Witherspoon said, “Baltimore has been like the valley of the dry bones, meaning there has been almost silence, but now the bones are rattling. The people are waking up.”

Sharon Black, All Peoples Congress organizer and Baltimore Peoples Assembly representative, added: “The fact that people are standing up under the weight of all these things — the joblessness, foreclosures and massive police brutality, which is in many ways unspeakable — and have begun to speak openly without fear is remarkable.

“After every rally and whenever we have been in the streets, we have heard accounts of the kind that you only hear about in a war-torn, occupied country. We’ve heard so many detailed accounts from women of sexual abuse by police, abuse of loved ones and sons, daughters and companions. Yesterday we spoke to one woman whose 9-year-old son died of asthma in the street surrounded by police. A bystander was trying to give the child CPR and the police forced him to stop.”

Organizers announced that they will continue this fight until justice is won, not only for Anthony Anderson Sr. , but for the entire community.

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UPDATED Oct 6, 2012 6:41 PM
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