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(en) US, Lansing MI. Support Benton Harbor Rebellion - All Out in Support of July 12th March

From steve swart <swartste@comcast.net>
Date Tue, 8 Jul 2003 10:23:42 +0200 (CEST)


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By Steve Lansing, Michigan - Nightvision Anarchist Collective
nightvision@ziplip.com http://www.frac.ws/supportbh.html
For two days in June, police faced the wrath of the oppressed in
Benton Harbor, Michigan. The uprising began after police chased a
speeding motorcyclist and forced him to crash. According to local
activists, more than 40 people witnessed the police kick the dead
suspect and give each other high fives. The rebellion that followed
rocked the small, impoverished town of 12,000. Local activists from
the Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers (BANCO)
have called for a day of action against police brutality. It is crucial
that anarchists and other anti-authoritarians mobilize to support
those who rose up against the system that perpetuates violence,
racism, and poverty.

Terrance Sturn was pursued by police for drag racing on his
motorcycle. Benton Township Police chased Sturn into the town
where he lost control and crashed into a building and was killed.
According to a press release put out June 18th, by Reverend
Edward Pinkney:

"A young man was riding his motorcycle in Benton Harbor. A police
car began bumping the back of his motorcycle. The man took off to
escape the police harassment. Another police car cut off the
motorcyclist and "drove" the motorcycle into a building. The officer
who drove the motorcycle into the building was Mark Lundin. As
the man lay dead, Lundin kicked him in and head, and then he and
the other officer present gave each other high fives. There are over
forty witnesses to this tragic event. It is believed by many in
Benton Harbor that the police are now hard at work to cover this
up."

That night hundreds of Benton Harbor residents fought police with
bricks and bottles, burned the building Sturn crashed into, and
destroyed police and media vehicles.

The next day (Tuesday June 17th) over 200 people gathered at the
Benton Township Trustee's regular meeting to express their outrage
at the perpetual abuse by the police. Other people met at the scene
of Sturn's death. They also spoke out against the pursuit related
death of 11-year-old Trenton Patterson.

That night more residents came out to show their outrage at police
abuse. Police had to keep rebels away from the police station,
which they threatened to burn. Protesters continued to target police
and media vehicles, destroying several. Two people attacked a
police barricade by shooting at police while trying to bust through it
with their car. At least seven people were arrested.

The next day Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm declared a state
of emergency and sent dozens of State Police, which quelled the
rebellion, but not the spirit of resistance. More than 500 people
came out to Sturn's funeral and BANCO have put out a call for a
march against police brutality and judicial complicity July 12th.

Anarchists and other anti-authoritarians need to support this
rebellion and the work BANCO is doing. This uprising was
ferocious and targeted the racist criminal justice system. We
should organize with all our resources to bring people to the March
and Protest July 12th. We must demand amnesty for those involved
in the rebellion, and demand that the officers involved in the chase
be punished. Most importantly we have to continue building
resistance to the overall system, which more than any individual
officer or department, is responsible for the death of Terrance
Sturn. BANCO is working in this direction already.

"BANCO believes that these anti-police rebellions took place
because justice was not served in the Patterson case, and now yet
another person has been killed in an irresponsible police chase. The
people exploded in suppressed rage. They are not criminals or
rioters. They demand justice and we all are demanding justice.
There will be no peace without justice!"

The Southwest Michigan Coalition Against Racism and Police
Brutality and the Benton Harbor chapter of the Black Autonomy
Network of Community Organizers (BANCO) will hold a mass
march and rally against racism and police brutality in Benton
Harbor, Mich., on Saturday, July 12.

The rally will begin at 10 a.m. at the Benton Harbor City Hall, 200 E.
Wall St. At 11 a.m., we will march to the Berrien County
Courthouse, 811 Port St., in St. Joseph, for a rally at noon.

If your organization would like to endorse the march and rally,
please contact:

JoNina M. Abron
(269)370-4383
e-mail: jonina1.1@juno.com

Black Autonomy Network of Community Organizers (BANCO)
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Contact:
Rev. Edward Pinkney
(269)925-0001

Nightvision Anarchist Collective
nightvision@ziplip.com
PO Box 4502
East Lansing MI 48826


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