ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — The crisis of the U.S. State was exposed and deepened on Monday, January 24, 2011 as one African man killed two local police, wounded a U.S. marshal and held off more than 100 police from various state and federal police agencies for several hours.
Earlier that morning, a U.S. marshal and two local police came to the home of 39-year-old Hydra Lacy to arrest him, and he apparently had determined that he was not going to join the more than one million African captives locked up in U.S. prisons that day.
While imperialist media attempts to deal with this as an isolated incident, the fact is that there is a trend across the U.S. of growing resistance by African people to police occupation.
That occupation — not unlike the occupation of the land of the Palestinian people — includes the regular harassment, brutality and murder police impose on African people.
However, Africans, no longer willing to accepting the State’s monopoly on violence, have been engaging is serious resistance. Within this same 24-hour period, at least 11 cops were shot across the U.S.
Also on the day this incident occurred, a funeral was being held for two cops in Miami, Florida who were killed the previous Thursday, January 20 while occupying the African community of Liberty City.
In Detroit, Michigan, a man walked into a police station just one day before the St. Petersburg incident and started shooting, hitting four cops.
Then there is Dontae Morris, who is on trial now after two cops got shot and killed when they stopped him in Tampa, Florida on June 29, 2010.
Of course, the case of Lovelle Mixon cannot be forgotten. He was killed by Oakland police on March 21, 2009 — two months after police in the same city murdered Oscar Grant — but only after 3 cops lay dead and another wounded.
Not isolated incidents
The media paint these all as isolated incidents by disturbed or pathologically criminal individuals. The reality inside the African community, however, exposes a much different situation. When one looked over the scene in St. Petersburg as police surrounded Hydra Lacy’s house, a sharp contradiction could be seen.
There was on one hand, the heavily armed police occupation. What looked to be more than 100 police cars were joined by four urban tanks with different police agency labels — at least three of which were St. Petersburg Police, Tampa Police and Homeland Security. Police uniform labels showed the presence of at least the St. Pete Police, Tampa Police, Pinellas County Sheriffs, U.S. marshals, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
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On the other hand, there were the masses of Africans standing and surrounding the area. The crowd recognized the police as an antagonistic force. In the crowd, calls could be heard for Lacy to “kill every one of ‘em!”
One elderly woman holding a baby yelled at a police truck that sped to park where she was standing. Another yell came from the crowd, “That’s why people shooting at y’all now!”
There was a general sense of a community fed up with military occupation.
Media also had a difficult time getting anyone to talk to them. People approached by reporters walked away from them, apparently recognizing the role the media constantly plays in justifying police assaults in the African community.
They were right as the media all day painted a false picture of a community in support of the police action while painting a picture of Hydra Lacy as a pathological criminal.
Who is waging war?
Police representatives have been raising the question in the media, “Is there a war on the police?”
The reality is that a war has been waged long before January 24. That war has been one waged by police who launch regular assaults against the African community and maintain a constant state of occupation.
Casualties of that war have included seven-year-old Aiyana Jones. They have included Oscar Grant. They include Sean Bell who was gunned down in a hail of 50 bullets just hours before his wedding.
In St. Petersburg, the police war against the African community has taken the lives of teenagers like Marquell McCullough, Javon Dawson, Jarrell Walker and TyRon Lewis.
This war is a war of occupation, not unlike the occupation of Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s one in which a military presence is constantly maintained.
That occupation is evidenced in statistics reviewed by the Center for Constitutional Rights that show that New York police stopped and frisked around 1,280,000 African and Latino people from 2005-2008 with police finding an excuse to arrest someone only 4-6 percent of the times that they stopped people.
Occupation in African communities in US no different from in Palestine
The similarities in the occupation of the African community and that of places like Palestine are striking. The police in St. Petersburg were unsatisfied after they finally killed Hydra Lacy.
Under orders of the vicious mayor, William Foster, they bulldozed the house with him in it and razed the land, turning what used to be a beautiful house into nothing more than a sandbox.
This is a tactic that is used often in Palestine by the illegitimate settler state of Israel.
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Hydra Lacy's house during bulldozing. The house was completely demolished and all evidence that a house ever existed there removed.
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Palestinians run in front of an israeli bulldozer as it destroy houses next to the border of Egypt at the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip (2004)
In Palestine the bulldozing of homes is done as an exemplary collective punishment when a member of the family who owns a home is involved in resistance.
It’s meant to “salt the earth” and prevent oppressed people from resisting for fear of their families being punished (or to win the families and communities of those resisting against them).
The bulldozing of Hydra Lacy’s house was meant to do the same thing.
In Tampa, Florida, when Dontae Morris was on the run after two cops died in a confrontation with him, police forced whole communities out of their homes as they ran through them. Despite this blatant attack on whole communities, the media was baffled as people in the community gave shout outs to Dontae over the air.
Resistance must become organized to end the occupation
The cases of Hydra Lacy and the countless others who have shot or killed cops represent only one expression of a growing resistance in the African community.
It also expresses itself through challenges to city government in places like Philadelphia where the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) President Diop Olugbala was attacked and arrested at City Hall for demanding the mayor stop taking away programs that served the African community to stuff money into the budget for police and prisons to lock up African people.
It expresses itself with African youth every day challenging school systems that miseducate them and track them into prisons. It expresses itself inside of the prisons, through actions like the statewide strikes that recently occurred in Georgia.
The question is whether the resistance of the African community will continue to be unorganized and isolated or if it will become organized to overturn the occupation that it responds to.
InPDUM says that it must be organized! It is with organization that we gain power. Only with organized resistance can African people overturn the colonial occupation and win control over our own lives and our own communities.
It is with this understanding that InPDUM holds its 20th Annual International Convention on February 19-21 in Philadelphia under the banner “Africans Have a Right to Resist! Freedom and Reparations Now!”
The convention aims to organize around various issues including the miseducation of African children, the special oppression of African women and the struggle against the whitewashing of African communities.
One workshop of the convention is entitled “U.S. is a Prison of Nations: 50 million Africans held captive!” Out of this workshop will come a strategy to take on the question of State violence and repression against the African community.
It is inevitable that occupation will produce righteous resistance. The question for African people is, will we organize ourselves to win power for ourselves or struggle in isolation forever? We must organize and resist!
Register today for the InPDUM Convention at www.inpdum.org
Resist Colonial Occupation!
Forward to InPDUM’s Convention!
Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement!