Seattle, WA

Posted: November 11, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011

 

October 22nd in Seattle was a very powerful and good day! Resistance to police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation was intensified and deeper political unity built. October 22nd was endorsed by the Occupy Seattle General Assembly which also recently passed a resolution not to speak to the police at the occupation. Occupy also assisted with legal and tactical help and the rally was shown on Occupy Seattle’s live stream.

An opening rally was held at Westlake Park, the site of Occupy Seattle. A very diverse mix of over 1000 people of all nationalities and many backgrounds came together—including many youth, students, proletarians, homeless, re-awakened anti-war activists, anarchists, people of color, activists, revolutionaries, and many people newly activated by the Occupy movement. The MCs from the October 22nd Coalition began by reading the names and telling the stories of scores who’s lives have been stolen by police murder. Powerful and moving testimony was given by family members who have lost loved ones to police murder.

Friends and family of David Albrecht told how he was shot by police after his family had called them for help because David was suicidal. Police ordered his girlfriend to move away from David, and then shot him 23 times. There are still bullet holes in the house. His family and friends have been tailed and stopped in their cars and harassed by police since they have spoken out. They carried the lead banner in the O22 march.

The aunt of James Whiteshield, who at 17 died under suspicious circumstances in juvenile detention spoke out with great grief and passion. A native American woman, she said that it’s not just people of color who are brutalized and killed by the police, it’s anyone who is poor, and ended by saying “we are all related.”

Brother Talib, an ex-prisoner, spoke about mass incarceration and torture in the SHUs, beginning his speech with “Power to the People!”

A young white woman Sarah, told the story of her foster brother Miles who was killed in juvenile detention. The authorities claimed he committed suicide, but his body was bruised and beaten. She opened up an album with pictures of Miles showing his smile and then the pictures showing what had been done to him in jail. People came up to the stage to see the pictures and were moved and shaken. Since her family has challenged the police version, they have been repeatedly threatened by police.

The statement from the RCP was very well received. The crowd especially liked the “Three Strikes” quote from Bob Avakian, responding with cheers when to the end of the quote, “Three strikes and you’re out.” The speaker held up the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian when saying “Get into BAsics” and was later approached by two college students who liked the speech and asked, “What was that book you held up?” and decided to get one. They are participating in Occupy Olympia (WA) and are also working with youth in juvenile detention and expressed a lot of pain and passion about people at the bottom of society and what incarceration does to young people and other prisoners—especially how youth are routinely medicated for the most minor violations in order to keep them sedated and compliant. They felt BAsics would help them at the occupation, where people are struggling to understand the world and how to change things, and that communism was little understood and needed to be seriously considered. The whole day of protest, they said, had been very empowering.

Also speaking were Eric Roberts, the brother of Aaron Roberts who was murdered by police after being stopped in his car, friends of David Young who was shot by police as his car was blocked into a fence, a witness to the murder of Shawn Maxwell, and Jared from the Responsible Marijuana Project who spoke about the incredible human toll experienced by people who are incarcerated for minor drug offenses and how people of color are disproportionately targeted and arrested.

The powerful testimonies given connected with all of us, including many new people in the crowd from Occupy Seattle who were just learning about the scope and cost of this epidemic. Pictures of the faces of the stolen lives were passed among people to carry and a powerful and defiant march of 1000 people took off. People did a die-in at the spot where Chris Harris had been body slammed into a wall by police after being wrongly identified as a suspect. Chris has suffered catastrophic brain injury. The march went by Seattle Police West Precinct, where protesters stopped, spoke out and indicted police brutality and murder. One person was grabbed out of the crowd by police and arrested.

After back and forth among the marchers, people went to the infamous spot where native carver John T. Williams was murdered a year ago. John T. was shot by Seattle cop Ian Birk within 4 seconds of jumping out of his car as he walked down the street carrying his small folded carving knife. There was and is tremendous outrage over this cold-blooded murder and the refusal to bring charges against Birk by prosecutors. At this site people died in, blocking the street. A close friend of John T’s spoke in his memory and did a prayer in Lakota.

The march was followed by an open mic back at the occupation site, where people of all kinds moved into a circle and were invited in to discuss and debate the role of the police and different strategies for ending police brutality and murder.

This whole day was extremely intense and also uplifting. People were inspired to stand together in resistance against this system’s crimes. Deeper understanding and unity among different political forces and sections of people developed around opposing police brutality and murder, mass incarceration and repression.

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Local coverage of Seattle’s National Day of Protest march and rally:

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