St. Petersburg mayor fires respected African city official in continuing attack on community

The ongoing attack on the African community by forces tied to the U.S. colonial State continues in St. Petersburg this week. On Friday March 4, the white reactionary Mayor of St. Petersburg, Bill Foster, fired a prominent African city official and ex-police chief Goliath Davis because Davis declined to attend the funerals of three white police officers killed in two incidents of African resistance to occupation in the past month.

The firing of Davis comes as a current U.S. government campaign of counterinsurgency has been stepped up against Africans in St. Petersburg. After the incidents of African resistance that led to the police deaths, the African community was cordoned off with a military lockdown led by assault troops from local, state, and federal agencies including the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security and Federal Marshals. Also, the ruling class media, radio talk show hosts linked closely to police and other operatives have launched vicious attacks on Uhuru Movement leaders and on Africans generally.

The same talk show host who recently called for the assassination of Chairman Omali Yeshitela – Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem – also took credit for getting Davis fired from the city on Friday. This “Sponge” has recently launched relentless slanders and attacks on the Uhuru Movement and Davis. After Davis, “Sponge” said Omali Yeshitela “is next.”

Whatever the details of Davis’ attendance at police funerals, the role of Davis in the African community represented a problem for the ruling class in St. Petersburg that they needed to solve. Davis was named St. Petersburg police chief in 1997 after in response to an uprising after teenager Tyron Lewis was murdered by cops. width=”350″ />

Hundreds of Africans came out to show support for Goliath Davis in the face of mayor Bill Foster firing him as part of attack on community.

Ruling class officials expected Davis to act as a neo-colonial attack dog like many police chiefs and mayors across the U.S. and brutally crush African resistance in the city. Instead, the city’s African police chief refused to denounce the Uhuru movement and united with the community’s call for economic development instead of police containment. This made Davis a symbol of African community independence from the white power structure, and, because of that, he has been relentless attacked by white ruling class and their lackey bourgeois media. Having a police chief unwilling to viciously attack the African community and instead treat Africans as if they were human beings was completely unacceptable.

Despite having no deaths of Africans at the hands of police during his tenure and several years after, Davis was removed as police chief in 2001. Because of fear of African outrage, he was made an administrator and liaison to south and central St. Petersburg in economic development. Mayor Bill Foster, a rabid advocate of police containment, saw the current controversy with Davis as an opportunity to pull what Foster saw as an annoying thorn out of the side of the ruling class, and fired Davis at the peak of police rage and white nationalist reaction over the police killings.

Friday afternoon, hundreds of Africans and media gathered at the Enoch Davis Community Center to hear Chief Davis give a press conference on his firing. With approving shouts and applause, the Africans showed their support for Davis at several points in the press conference. In contrast, the media was hostile and combative in their treatment of the ex-city official, as they had been throughout his career with the city, especially recently as the attacks from the “Sponge” escalated. All pretense of media “objectivity” was thrown out the window.

When asked Davis if he had been the target of media slander — which was being thrown at him long before the funeral controversy — because he was a symbol of the south St. Petersburg community, he said, “I am told that I am a polarizing force.”

Davis also received cheers when he challenged the mayor’s logic with the question, why of all the city cabinet who did not attend the police funerals, he was singled out for his choice. width=”350″ />

Chairman Omali Yeshitela, greeted with cheers, speaks about the firing of Goliath Davis. (Photo courtesy of Raslionphotography)

The bourgeois media expressed shock when Davis, in recognition of the role the Uhuru Movement has played in defending the African community over many years, gave the podium to Chairman Omali Yeshitela. In contrast to the shock and dismay of the ruling class media, the Africans in the room gave Chairman Yeshitela the biggest applauses and shouts of agreement of the entire meeting.

Chairman Yeshitela said Mayor Foster was not believable when he gave his reasons for destroying the house of Hydra Lacey, who was murdered by St. Petersburg Police, and Foster was not believable when he gave his reasons for firing the ex-police chief.

Chairman Yeshitela pointed out that “we can’t pretend that our community has not been one that is under siege constantly, historically by the St. Petersburg police department and that the only relief we had from that was when Goliath Davis was chief of police.”

“Goliath Davis has fallen because he represented this community to the greatest extent that he could,“ said the Uhuru Movement leader to rousing cheers. “Our community is a good community!”

After touching on the proud history of Africans in the city that gives no one reason to hang their head, Chairman Yeshitela drew much applause and positive shouts when he ended his talk with a rousing,

“Uhuru! All power to the people! And Black power to the African community!”


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