For a downloadable copy of this statement, click here. [PDF, 101kB]
The weekend of July 21 saw another chapter in the long history of racist police violence in Southern California, with Anaheim police shooting to death two young Latino men. The Freedom Socialist Party campaign of Stephen Durham for president and Christina López for vice president condemns the extreme abuses of police power that ended the lives of Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo.
The brutal abuse continued with police reaction to protests of the killings, starting immediately after the shooting of the unarmed Diaz. Cops fired rubber bullets and unleashed a police dog against a concerned and outraged crowd of neighbors, including infants and children, who gathered at the site.
Protests have swelled to a thousand or more. Over 400 people tried to attend a City Council meeting but were forced back into the street, where they were attacked by cops. The mayor and City Council add insult to injury by blaming demonstrators rather than police for the uproar the city is going through and by vilifying the murder victims as “known gang affiliates.” Suspiciously, after increasing media and official hysteria against “violence” by protesters, the Los Angeles offices of ANSWER, an anti-war group that participated in the rallies, were broken into, ransacked, and robbed.
The Durham-López campaign demands that city officials immediately rein in the cops and that prosecutors file criminal charges against the officers involved in the deaths. The campaign stands for the country-wide establishment of local elected civilian review boards over the cops. These boards should be administratively and financially independent of the police and have the authority to make policy, to conduct investigations and subpoena witnesses, and to discipline and fire police officers who abuse and kill. And they should have the services of an independent special prosecutor at their disposal.
Elected civilian review boards will not end police violence. To achieve that will take a changeover to a new system that does not rely on police to protect the wealthy and their interests against workers and the poor. But these boards would reduce police abuse, making life better for its main targets: strikers, political activists, the homeless, and people of color — especially those who are young and male.
Issued by the Durham-López 2012 Presidential Campaign