Last Friday, the Department of Investigation released a cream puff report minimally critiquing the NYPD’s May/June protest response. This report sent cowardly, right before the weekend, was designed to close the media cycle with the message that there are policy reforms the Mayor can put into place to stop the police. This is false. The police are only governed by their mandate to protect property, target Black organizers and police working class Black and Brown neighborhoods.
The FTP Coalition led street actions so Black communities can see that while the police will always respond with unbridled violence even to peaceful assembly, we have the collective right and duty to stop them. But instead of affirming Black people’s collective self determination and sovereignty, the liberal and left institutions, online movement posers, and opportunicoons have chosen to be silent about Black sovereignty. Non-profits like Bronx Defenders, Human Rights Watch, NYCLU, and Legal Aide Society, and others that benefit from consultants and white philanthropy speak with forked tongues. They loudly acknowledge the police can’t be reformed then quietly “welcome reforms” and then claim, “the only way to keep Black and brown New Yorkers safe is to demand that policy changes.” These footnotes to white supremacy justify the recently added 900 NYPD cops; helping the police add units by reorganizing Community Affairs and the Strategic Response Group to disrupt organizing through community infiltration. There is no reform or policy solution that can address the U.S. policing of Black people.
What this discussion intentionally ignores is that, “top police brass in interviews with DOI said they would not have done anything differently, even with the benefit of hindsight.” In fact the NYPD MARAUDED throughout the city on the night of June 4 under the guise of “disorder control”–trapping, pepper spraying and choking Black people at 7:50pm on 136th St.and Brook Ave, running around Brook and St. Ann’s Avenue rousting people then attacking and arresting Crown Heights residents at their family BBQ after a protest group rolled by the building at 11pm. The DOI’s discussion of the NYPD brutalizing the FTP coalition ignores how NYPD “human rights violations” on Bronx Bloody Thursday included Black people not involved in protest activity at all. Standing against the NYPD’s violence on June 4th took courage, and we thank the hundreds of people who did so to the point of enduring hours in the pens crowded, facing police who had no masks on. The FTP coalition thanks the hundreds that sacrificed in person, and the thousands who weren’t there but provided critical support for the direct action. We state again that the NYPD is illegitimate and so are all the liberal responses to police violence that mask as radical.
We do not expect justice from our oppressors. But most importantly Black people, descendants of enslaved Africans are sovereign people and have the right to individually and collectively prevent any form of violence, particularly state violence. To Black communities, indigenous people and the grassroots working class left we say, police violence is not the full conversation. Our effort must now be focused on realizing collective self determination for Black people and all oppressed communities.