African community under siege after police killing!

Update: Since this story was initially published, police announced the "surrender" of a 16-year-old African youth, following an interrogation in which neither his parents nor a lawyer were present. For a full summation, tune-in to Sunday, Feb. 27 at 4pm Eastern for an open community meeting which will be videocast live.

The African community in St. Petersburg, Florida is under siege after a cop in St. Petersburg, Florida was shot and killed on Monday, February 21. style=”width: 140px;” />

David Crawford

Two cops, David Crawford and Donald Ziglar, reportedly came to 2nd Avenue South and 8th Street South at 10:30pm after allegedly getting a call that someone in the area had a brick.

According to the police, a few minutes later, shots rang out and Crawford was hit multiple times from close range. It’s not clear what the other cop did during the incident, but he was not injured.

The police don’t seem to have any idea who the person was who did it. There have been two different descriptions put out. First, they said they were looking for a young African with a white t-shirt and no shoes, but now they are saying they’re looking for an African with a black hoodie.

According to a witness who drove up to the scene, the shot cop was laying against his car with gun still in hand. The witness, Michael Ponce de Leone said when other police arrived they got very emotional. “Everybody was screaming,” he said. “All the cops were like, ‘No, not again!’” style=”width: 250px;” />

Police from several agencies, including the Florida Highway Patrol, the Tampa Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office met in the parking lot of Tropicana Field

Cops have locked down the African community and are engaged in what can only be described as collective punishment. More than 200 cops from half a dozen agencies are sweeping the African community, searching and storming people’s homes like Marines do in Afghanistan. Africans are being stopped in their cars with guns pointed to their heads and having their trunks searched, similar to what has been done at U.S. military checkpoints in Iraq.

Even city buses are being stopped and searched. People in the African community are being told they need to stay in their houses. Helicopters swarm above the community while at least one tank rides through the streets.

It is obvious that this activity is not an attempt to find the shooter, because they don’t know what he looks like, and even if they did, a tank would hardly be necessary to apprehend him. This is an attempt to punish the whole community. It is clearly a message being sent to the community that it will be punished until someone hands over the person involved in the incident. The FBI has even put up a $50,000 bounty to further entice someone to turn the person over.

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Occupation has been the norm

The current situation in St. Petersburg is only a deepening of an already existing occupation. Before these incidents, occupation has been the norm. There have been cases like one where a small marijuana arrest has resulted in more than 30 cops blocking off an entire community and raiding a home with assault rifles and masks.

In another example, several carloads of heavily armed police with dogs stopped a young African for supposedly running a stop sign on a street where none exists. In yet another case, an African was stopped and charged with a DWI while riding a bicycle.

African teenagers have often borne the brunt of this occupation. The lives of TyRon Lewis, Marquell McCullough, Jarrell Walker and Javon Dawson were all taken by cops carrying out this occupation. Jarrell Walker was killed by sheriff’s deputies who shot him in the back after kicking in the door and throwing flash-bang grenades into the house where he and his two-year-old son lay sleeping.

Point Eight of the Working Platform of the African People’s Socialist Party explains this relationship the police have with the African community:

“We want the immediate withdrawal of the U.S. police from our oppressed and exploited communities. We believe that the various U.S. police agencies, which occupy our communities, are arms of the U.S. colonialist state, which is responsible for keeping our people enslaved and terrorized. We believe that the U.S. police agencies do not serve us, but instead represent the first line of U.S. defense against the just struggle of our people for peace, dignity and a socialist democracy. Therefore, we believe the U.S. police is an illegitimate standing army, a colonial army in the African community and must withdraw immediately from our community, to be replaced by our liberation forces whose struggles in defense of our community and against our oppression demonstrate their loyalty to our community and their willingness to serve in its interest.”

Resistance is the trend

This police shooting, seen by many in the African community as resistance to police colonial military occupation, comes right off the heels of the National Convention of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement that was held under the slogan “Africans Have a Right to Resist! Freedom and Reparations Now!”

It marks the second time in less than a month that occupying cops were shot in the African community. The first happened shortly before the convention when two St. Pete Police and a U.S. Marshal went into Hydra Lacy’s home to capture him. In that incident, the two St. Pete Police were killed and the U.S. Marshal injured before he was killed by a barrage of gunfire by an array of cops that included participation by U.S. Homeland Security forces.

The resistance in St. Petersburg is part of a larger trend of resistance. Just in the 24-hour period that the Hydra Lacy incident occurred, 11 cops were shot across the U.S. In the recent past, police have been shot in Miami, Detroit, Indianapolis, Oakland and Tampa, among other places.

This resistance in the U.S. can also be recognized as part of the wave of the larger resistance of the people in places like Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere who are rising up against one form or another of colonial domination and military occupation.

White nationalism rising in face of resistance

In the midst of this resistance in St. Petersburg, rabid anti-African sentiments are growing more blatant. Comments on the website of the St. Petersburg Times even call for “terror tactics” to be carried out against the Uhuru Movement, the clear representative of the African community, as in the minds of many in the North American or white community, we are associated with any act that suggests the lack of white power control of our community.

One such comment posted on a February 22, 2011 article entitled "St. Petersburg police search for killer as they mourn another fallen officer" says: “While we may kill many of them, we cannot win a battle against an enemy that is using unconventional tactics that quickly adapt to our force. If we, the citizens, wish to combat these people, we must use unconventional tactics. If we employ terror tactics on groups like the Uhurus and scare them underground, they will cease to be a threat. It's time to take it to the Uhurus and eliminate them in their own territory.”

This attitude is consistent with the occupation of the African community that treats African people like animals. Such open calls for attacks on the African community and the Uhuru Movement must be opposed! The oppressive occupation of the African community must be opposed!

Call in to the St. Petersburg Police Department and the St. Petersburg Mayor’s Office and demand that the occupation end! Demand an end to the roadblocks, random searches, pointing of assault rifles in people’s faces and other violations of democratic rights of the African community end!

St. Petersburg Police Department: (727) 893-7780

Mayor Bill Foster’s Office: (727) 893-7201 / fax (727) 892-5365

End the Occupation!

Africans Have a Right to Resist!


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