Cops in three cities gun down Black men
Jan 16, 2009
In the early morning of the first day of the new year, as celebrations
around the country were waning and millions were clinging to a hope of change
coming soon with the first African-American president, the police of Bay Area
Rapid Transit demonstrated the brutality of the capitalist state in Oakland,
In fact, within a 24-hour period, from New Year’s Eve into New
Year’s Day, three Black men in three different cities were shot by cops.
Two were killed. Although some things on the surface may change, the racist
nature of the bourgeois state—the apparatus that protects the capitalist
system—remains the same.
New Orleans cops kill young father
In New Orleans at around midnight, as a fireworks display illuminated the
sky, Adolph Grimes, who had evacuated during Hurricane Katrina and settled in
Houston, arrived back in his home town to visit his family.
According to his father, Adolph Grimes Jr., “He made it at 12
o’clock exact, with a second to spare.” (nola.com, Jan. 3)
The time the family would get to spend with Adolph Grimes III would be
short. Three hours later he was brutally gunned down by nine plainclothes cops,
supposedly part of a drug task force.
Grimes was in his car waiting for a cousin when he was surrounded by cops.
The end result was that Grimes, 22, married and the father of a 17-month-old
son, was gunned down in a hail of 48 bullets. He was shot 14 times, 12 times in
Police allege that Grimes shot first, but even cop superintendent Warren
Riley admits that Grimes probably did not know the men in plainclothes were
Grimes had a license to carry a handgun. Whether he had one or not, however,
he had the right to defend himself from a perceived robbery or worse.
The onus falls on the police who provocatively approached the vehicle, most
likely because a young Black man was in it.
Texas cops shoot ball player
On the same night, in the city of Bellaire outside Houston, which is at
least 95 percent white, white cop Jeff Cotto shot Robbie Tolan, son of Bobby
Tolan, who played professional baseball for 15 years with the St. Louis
The young Tolan, who played baseball for the minor league Washington
Nationals, and his cousin Anthony Cooper were
followed by a police car on their way home from a fast food restaurant
around 2 a.m.
Tolan and Cooper had exited Tolan’s SUV and were walking toward the
house when they were told to get on the ground. According to Cooper, “He
was saying ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’ We were saying ‘Why?
Why?’ We didn’t know he was a police officer.” (cbs11tv.com,
Tolan’s parents came outside, and his mother was pushed against a
wall, which reportedly elicited a response from Tolan. He was then shot, and
still has a bullet lodged in his liver.
The cops said there were reports that vehicles were stolen in the area. Mike
Morris, an uncle, said, “This is a classic case of racial profiling, I
Family attorney Geoffrey Berg said of the city’s response, “I
think the city would have done well had it said it was sorry that it
happened—if the city had expressed some regret that a member of its
police force shot a member of a family—the only African-American family
on the block.”
Oscar Grant and family.
Killing in Oakland caught on video
Anger in response to the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant on the platform of a
train station in Oakland has reverberated across the country. The brutal
tragedy was captured on a cell-phone camera by a passenger inside a waiting
BART train. The video was aired on KTVU on Jan. 6.
The person with the camera can be heard in the background saying,
“Baby, I’m fine, I’m just recording.” Someone responds,
“You gotta take pictures of this shit.”
In the video several men are seen sitting against a wall and one is on the
floor in handcuffs. Three cops are standing. The passengers on the train are
very vocal in response to the over-aggressive attitude of the cops.
A person later identified as Oscar Grant, who is handcuffed and on his
knees, moves and is pushed down onto his stomach. One cop has a knee in his
back, another a knee on his neck.