What’s Wrong with Chicago? What’s Wrong with any American City?
Let’s get something straight here about Ronald Johnson’s murder by Chicago police officer, George Hernandez and the Cook County state’s prosecutor’s refusal to charge the officer with murder: the prosecutor is not there and was not hired to charge police officers with murder and lock them up. Her job is to put away young black men and women because those are the ones that the wealthy white ruling class deems dangerous and is afraid of. The police are their protectors, defenders and servants because they’re the ones who hire and train them and pay their salaries. When shit hits the fan and people are on the streets, it’s the police that will be tasked with wiping the shit off the fan, not the rioters and not the poor. They’re their hired hitmen, their mercenaries, their gangster thugs, assassins and their soldiers, in the true sense of the word. When US troops execute unarmed and defenseless people who are considered the “enemy” in foreign countries, do they get charged, prosecuted and sentenced? Of course not. Doesn’t that show that not every life is valuable to them? Didn’t Ferguson police emails that were obtained and revealed after the murder of Michael Brown refer to people as “the enemy”? Doesn’t that tell us everything we need to know? The ruling wealthy class treats inner city minorities and the poor in general, just as they treat oppressed people they occupy overseas. In fact, the inner city police in the US looks and behaves much like an occupying force. The ruling white supremacist oligarchy doesn’t make a distinction between the American poor and Iraqi or Syrian oppressed populations. They will and do kill just the same.
It’s not that capitalism doesn’t want to value human life. It just can’t. it’s not because of this or that state prosecutor or mayor or police chief, but because a society divided so sharply between rich and poor will by necessity and by nature be repressive towards the poor and the minorities. Decades of racial profiling, killing in cold blood, often followed by planting a gun or drugs on the corpse of the victim and mass incarceration didn’t happen for no reason, by accident or due to the misguided and draconian policies of a particular administration. The repression, especially of Blacks, is built into the very fabric of the corrupt and oppressive capitalist system.
What would happen if every police officer, who shoots a black man in the back and kills him, ends up in jail? Won’t that make it harder for city officials, who are supposed to keep the city running for the ruling class, to hire new cops and send them into working class neighborhoods to maintain order? One of the “perks” of being a soldier or hitman for the capitalist class is the sense of power and ego and the feeling of being untouchable and the ability to target practice on live walking, breathing people. The joy of it is especially more when they’re black and running away. Officer Jason Van Dyke of Chicago police fired 13 additional bullets at 17 year old Laquan McDonald, while he was already on the ground and motionless, as if he was target practicing on a watermelon!
City officials had seen that video. They knew it was a cold blooded murder, but still kept it a secret and kept the killer on city payroll until a journalist could afford to go to court and ask a judge to order the tape released. Only then, after over 13 months, on the day of the video being released, did the City decide to charge the officer with murder. That video was clearer and the murder harder to justify compared to the case of Ronald Johnson, whose hand couldn’t be seen clearly. And, if you can’t see it clearly, then the conclusion is clear: he must have had a gun!
So, you see, they have to pick only the most egregious and most obvious ones to prosecute, and only when the truth comes out and they can’t cover it up anymore. What would happen if the State’s County prosecutor started charging these thugs with murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, battery, theft, filing of false police report, etc., which far too many of them commit and are never punished for? The poor and the oppressed minorities would love her for it, but those aren’t the people who matter; they’re not the ones with the political clout and power and billions of dollars to protect.
“No criminal charges should be filed”, said Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s prosecutor, “because the crime cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt”. Remember that it’s supposed to be up to a court and the jury to decide if the officer can or cannot be proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”, not the prosecutor. Her job is not to judge if the guilt is “beyond reasonable doubt”. If the tables were turned and Ronald Johnson had shot and killed the officer, instead, would she still refuse to charge him with murder because “it couldn’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt”?
The video clearly shows Ronald Johnson getting out of his car and running away from police officers, who could be seen in the video, when one of them shot him 5 times in the back and killed him. But, what the Prosecutor has said is that he was running towards the park and towards two other officers who were at the other end of the park, who supposedly could be in danger! So, they shot and killed him before he could have run through the length of the park and shot the two officers who were standing there! She also said that the police later found a gun near where he was killed, although the video shows nothing in his hand, while he was running away. But, he had to have had a gun because if he didn’t, it would have been hard to justify shooting him in the back, while he was running away from them? The need for the authorities to have him with a gun means he had a gun.
You see, if nothing can be seen in the hand of a man who’s fleeing from police, it must be that the video is low quality and grainy. Besides, it’s not the job of the police, who shoot and kill people, to prove they had a gun. It’s up to their family to prove that he didn’t. They teach in law school that you can’t prove a negative, but they won’t let those minor and inconvenient details get in their way. Iraq was invaded and over a million of its people were killed because their leader couldn’t prove that they didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. It wasn’t up to US authorities to prove that they did. And after an entire nation was destroyed on false premises and lies, no one was ever brought to justice. Lives don’t matter to the white wealthy ruling class, especially the black and brown type.
Let’s face it: the police regularly and routinely and as a matter of unwritten and unspoken policy, shoot and kill people who run away, despite Supreme Court ruling that deems it illegal. But, the law itself is nothing but scribbles on a piece of paper. Real policy is what real rulers with real power find beneficial, convenient or necessary for their interests to follow, whatever the law says. It’s also supposed to be up to Congress to decide to go to war with another country and protesters are supposed to have the right to protest without being harassed, beaten and arrested and people are supposed to have a right to privacy, including private communication. At the end of the day, the law in a capitalist society is really for the voiceless and powerless to follow, not for the powerful. We all know what happened to bankers who defrauded investors and homeowners which caused an economic turmoil and recession: they received large bonuses!
City officials in Chicago said in court filings that releasing video of the incident could jeopardize the officer’s right to a fair trial, if he were to be charged, which he wasn’t, anyway. If they were so sure the killing was justified, why hide it for 14 months? But, that’s understandable. Releasing the video would indeed be unfair to the officer because people would find out about it and would demand to know why he wasn’t charged. It would have also been unfair to the City officials, who would be exposed as lying hypocrites and racist scums, to use the proper psychological and sociological terms. City officials, in general, including the police department, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and State Prosecutor, Anita Alvarez are nothing but despicable racist scumbags, who have nothing but contempt and hatred for the poor and people of color. That can be “proven beyond reasonable doubt”.