Look at this thing I posted on here that now has over 43,000 notes.
I’m really glad this picture made it around the way it has. Fighting against the concept of policing, especially in it’s contemporary “new jim crow” incarnation of mass incarceration is something very important to me.
The night before the 4th of July I was walking home from the grocery store that underlined why I like this very simple message this sticker expresses. For those of you who know Milwaukee, I live on Humboldt, a few blocks north of the intersection of Humboldt Blvd and North Ave. To give a quick back story every July 3rd is the big fireworks show by the lake in Milwaukee. Three years ago on that night following the fireworks a group of mostly very young (I’m talking 12-16) black kids were leaving the fireworks and then did the media described as a “flash mob” stealing a bunch of stuff from the BP gas station on that corner, then going through the park where people were still gathered following. Several people in the park were attacked and robbed. A girl I “dated” when I was 14 on AOL instant messenger was one of the people attacked and her attacker exclaimed “white girl bleed a lot”, a racist scumbag wrote a book titled that on the “scourge” of “black on white” racism in the US. It was a fucked up event and a similar one happened at the state fair grounds in Milwaukee at the end of the summer. Black youth were attacked and demonized in the media, by politicians and police. The police failed miserably handling the situation and told witnesses and victims to just leave.
In the following days my neighborhood became a police state. If you were young and black you almost certainly be stopped or at least followed. Three days after the event a young black man from the neighborhood named Derek Williams was killed while in police custody. He was a robbery suspect who ran, when he was found it was unclear what happened. Witnesses report they heard a scuffle, the district attorney’s office never investigated. He choked to death in the back of the squad car after pleading for his life saying he couldn’t breath and the officers telling him he was lying. Racists and cop apologists claimed he should not have been a robbery suspect, obviously he was never convicted and even the victim of the robbery spoke out against what the police did, no one knows it was him as the weapon that was used was never recovered. Long story short the cops covered up the death. The medical examiner ruled it a sickle cell crisis. Derek only carried the trait for sickle cell and thus it would have been literally impossible for him to die of the disease he did not have. He did have a cracked hyroid bone, a bone that is often only broken in cases of strangulation or a broken neck. After a year the story came out and the medical examiner changed the ruling to homicide. After months of protests, a grand jury voted to indict 5 officers on a misdemeanor charge of failing to provide medical support and failure to do their duty or something like that. Despite the grand jury indictment the state’s attorney declined to prosecute and the cops that killed Derek patrol my neighborhood everyday.Many people believe the heightened police presence and paranoia of the white citizens in the neighborhood contributed to the police mentality and violence that killed Derek.
Milwaukee is the most segregated city in the country. The 53206 zipcode, which borders my zipcode and shares the same police district has the highest and most disproportionate black male incarceration rate in the country. NPR called Wisconsin “the worst state to raise black children”. Milwaukee Public Schools fail black children at some of the highest rates in the country and less than half of all black youth graduate high school. Milwaukee has the highest black male unemployment rate in the country. The employment rate for black males convicted of a felony crime is 0%. ZERO. My reaction to the flash mobs 3 years ago is “what do you expect?”.
Last year on July 3rd after the fireworks, I walked from my house across the North Ave bridge to the East Side neighborhood. On the bridge I saw the police herding black youth like animals. Shouting that they would be ticketed if they stopped for loitering. Myself and my other white roommates of course could loiter all we wanted. Toward the end of the bridge I witnessed the police making a particularly violent arrest, one of the officers was dragging a young black women by her hair. I immediately started taping the incident on my phone. A horse officer tried to obstruct me from video taping stating “I know you can film, but if you want to play games let’s play games”. One of the officers making the arrest told me to stop filming, I replied that I didn’t have to. He got angry. He asked for my ID (you legally do not have to provide ID in the state of WI) and before I could reply I was tackled to the ground. My phone was stomped out of my hands. The officer mocked me for trying to video tape him and deleted the video (illegal). He took me into custody. He found out I was on probation and had a field day telling me how I was going to be upstate in jail and revoked from probation. All of a sudden my phone which was in his position buzzed and he read a text message my roommate who was still accross the street had sent that said “don’t worry dude I got it all on tape”. The officer decided I was not an asshole, because “he didn’t want a video of himself being an asshole to me shown to the chief”. Instead of going to jail I was given an “obstructing and resisting” citation, not even a misdemeanor but an $80 fine. I filed a complain with the fire and police comission, not so much worried about my incident but the whole atmosphere the cops created that night, blatantly targeting black youth. Without the video no my phone and lack of squad car video it was a “he said she said” and nothing happened.
Back to a couple of weeks on July 3rd of this year. This year I knew what was going to happen. Like they have every year the cops turned the corner of North and Humboldt into a police state. The gas station that was raided was sealed off with police tape. The cops blocking the intersection preventing traffic from going to the east side of the river were extraordinarily rude and volatile. But I made it to the grocery store and almost back to my house without any incident. By the time I was on my own black I looked behind me. There was about 30 black youth walking down the street with what looked like about 10 squad cars, a dozen bike cops and 3 horse cops trailing them shouting at them to move along. The youth were doing nothing out of the ordinary besides walking. I ran up onto my to my porch and filmed this www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkoTToIQdeI 2 mounted officers charge into the group who were completely non-violent, they weren’t even obnoxious, they were just kids. You can hear a girl scream “i don’t like horses”. I saw at least one kid shoved violently by the horse. The cops forced the kids to walk to the end of the block and then made them turn down a side street, leading them from Humboldt Blvd into the Riverwest neighborhood. The intention was very clear. Black youth are perceived as dangerous and they do not belong in white neighborhood of the East Side. As my friends and I sat there stunned, a cop came rode up to us and asked if we were injured, I told him to leave the kids alone and stop making me feel unsafe. We walked down to the end of the street toward my friends house passing the 3 mounted officers and overheard a woman asking the officers what happened. The officer replied “there was a group of thugs and gang members that we were trying to get out of the area”. The youth ranged in age from what I could see from 8-16 years old, but they were black and thus were threatening and the equivalent to thugs and gang members.
This isn’t the most eloquent thing I’ve ever written on here but this what I mean when I posted this. The police are not our friends. They especially are not if you are young and of color.
I can’t wait to see the racist responses to this post.