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(en) US, Phoenix: O22 National Day Against Police Brutality

Date Sat, 29 Oct 2005 08:29:47 +0200


Can’t stop, won’t stop the fight against police brutality! - By Collin Sick
Seventy people came out for the October 22, National Day Against Police
Brutality annual protest in Phoenix last weekend. The demonstration
was organized by the Phoenix Anarchist Coalition (PAC) and Phoenix
Copwatch, both are long time valley organizations involved in working
against police brutality in the Phoenix metro area.
Marchers met on a warm Saturday afternoon at the Cesar Chavez
Memorial Park in downtown Phoenix, a refreshing change from the
usual rallying point of Patriot’s Square Park, just a few blocks
away, and much more in line with the spirit of the day. Before the
march began, participants were treated to a speech by Sean of
Phoenix Copwatch on the necessity of policing the police and from
KB of the Phoenix branch of the Industrial Workers of the World
(IWW) on the history of police repression and brutality against
working class movements and labor. Marchers gathered their
numbers and left the park, with a few people already moving into the
street to draw others out from the get-go. Across from the park is the
Maricopa County courthouse, and one of the two fallen officers
memorials in downtown, Collin from PAC spoke on the hypocrisy of
the city and county fallen officer memorials while dozens of people
are killed and injured by valley officers every year while the state
does nothing for the family or survivors.

The crowd marched around the Maricopa County jail a couple of
times, as people shouted out anti-sheriff Joe statements, and
pro-inmate slogans (Maricopa County’s Sheriff, Joe Arpaio has
come under fire from Amnesty, the Justice Department, and
numerous human rights groups for his “Tent City”, the
return of chain gangs for male inmates, and now female and youth
chain gangs, and also for a number of incidents where inmates have
been murdered and tortured by guards and sheriff deputies.), cussed
out guards outside on a cigarette break, and then rallied in front of
the 4th Ave. jail entrance.

The march went into the streets on to the Phoenix police station, the
final stop for the day. To reach the police station, the easiest march
route was to cut through the backside of the federal courthouse, the
march, still in the streets with no police interference, moved up the
stairs of the federal building only to be confronted by a lone federal
cop who began yelling that the marchers were trespassing on federal
property and to turn around and leave. Everyone surged passed him,
stripping away what little authority he thought he had, and one
demonstrator turned to him and let him know he had just been out
voted. The federal cop, now at the end of the march and feeling
powerless, was yelling at the marchers in the rear, a few punk rock
kids near the back quickly silenced him with chants of “Kids
win, cops lose!” to the amusement of all the marchers who
cheered them on.

At the police station, the Phoenix PD bike officers and detectives
reappeared across the street, chatting with the steaming mad Federal
cop, meanwhile participants stepped up and got on the bullhorn,
calling the Phoenix PD out on their shit, as officers looked on from
inside the building.

Once back at the Chavez park, marchers relaxed and sat in the grass
listening to a variety of people on the bullhorn speak out against
police brutality, police abuse, and the institution of policing in
general.

It was commented on later, by a member of PAC, that this
year’s O22 was the most diverse in age, ethnicity, and class, of
any of the last six O22’s that were organized by local anarchists
and/or copwatch activists, an added bonus was the dozen anarchists
from Tucson who made the trek up to Phoenix for the protest and an
O22 benefit show.

Later in the evening, Phoenix Copwatch and PAC hosted a benefit
show featuring local bands and speakers to raise money for Phoenix
Copwatch and for two political prisoners that PAC supports, Laro
Nicol and Richard Williams. Before the show began, a local defense
attorney gave a Know Your Rights presentation that was organized
by copwatch, as usual the event was well attended and attendees
were chatting with the lawyer after the forum had ended. Stacy and
Jon from PAC gave a presentation on how to write and give support
to political prisoners, other speakers included Collin of PAC who
spoke about the life and the commitment to struggle of Richard
Williams, Stacy of PAC read a letter from Laro Nicol, and Kate, a
displaced New Orleans organizer from the Iron Rail collective, spoke
on prison abolition and hurricane Katrina. Musical Acts included
Brad B, an MC from the Drunken Immortals, Swallowing Stones,
and Severe Tire Damage.

The days events were largely successful as anarchists, copwatchers,
community activists, brutality survivors, and anti-police activists
came together for the sixth year in a row to take a stand against the
racist police state and it’s warped perspective on justice and how
it continues to be dealt out.

PAC has worked with and supported a number of individuals who
have been brutalized, abused, or had loved ones murdered by police
officers by helping families organize demonstrations and in building
a greater public awareness of police crimes in the valley.

Phoenix Copwatch has been patrolling the streets of the Phoenix for
over seven years, videotaping the police and recording their activities
at stops, as well as being at the front of the struggle against police
abuse and brutality. In addition to copwatch patrolling and
videotaping police actions, the group has also organized a number of
lawyer Know Your Rights forum, in which a lawyer (invited by
copwatch) details the rights people have when forced into a police
confrontation, and how to get through the encounter with your rights
intact, the talk is always followed by a Q and A with the lawyer. The
forums always manage to bring out a lot of people eager to learn
their rights when dealing with the cops.

Dedicated to Dawn Rae Nelson, Ali Altug, Mario Madrigal Jr., Rudy
Buchanan Jr., Edward Mallet, and all those murdered by Phoenix
and valley police officers.

For freedom and revolution,

Collin Sick
Phoenix Anarchist Coalition
October 2005

Pictures at
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20051028174354962
One march participant makes her feelings known
Just before the march begins
Phoenix copwatch members on the move!
Taking the streets
Copwatch represent!
Rallying outside the 4th Ave. Jail
Videotaping our police escort.
A federal cop tries to stop the march.
------------------------------
www.phoenixanarchist.org
www.phoenixcopwatch.org
=============================
Copied from infoshop.org
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