Sunday, January 11, 2009
Police killings need always spark riots
The anger displayed on Wednesday night should not come as a surprise. This the most horrible cop killing I have ever seen, a response of this nature is justified and arguably helpful as a means of achieving justice for Oscar Grant. [account of the killing]
Admittedly, riots are not always a useful tactic in social justice campaigns, but the manic maneuvers in which cops cover their tracks, and the general apathy of the white public around police brutality requires a huge noise to be made, and that's exactly what Oakland's youth did.
There has been a lot made of the fact that rioters broke windows of black-owned business as well as those owned by the city. While this is undeniably sad and regrettable, I would argue the blame should point back to the police who truly incited this riot through brutal murder. As a friend reminded me, sometimes thoughtfulness goes out the window in the fervor of a riot, anger and despair are not always conveniently contained (at least a couple accounts of the riot blame the riot cops for charging the peaceful protesters and pushing them into the street, where they started running and breaking windows). This posting at Racealicious and the many responses discusses the typical and important debate points on the topic.
A roundup of coverage of the riots
Watch the sickening video of the murder
Video and photos of the protest and riots