I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Valley communities unite against police violence: Remembering the victims in Scottsdale

I've spent the last two Friday nights down on the corner of Scottsdale and Indian School Roads protesting the execution of John Loxas by Officer James Peters, as well as the bigger issue of police brutality and lethality in the Valley. It's surprising how many passers-by are clueless about John's death. Anyway, we're a leaderless and disorganized mass of about 30-40 people from all over the place, but we're finding each other out there, slowly, and a group with coherent objectives is taking form. Several groups, actually, seem to be coming together, with different tactics to employ. 

Here's the common page we share information on right now: Scottsdale Campaign for Justice and an end to Police Murder.

I want to encourage anyone with concerns about police brutality and use of lethal force in our community to turn out for these Friday demonstrations, from about 8pm to 10pm - especially those of you who have survived such encounters yourself. If you have been victimized by the police or the state with violence, you have likely also been isolated and frightened or shamed into silence. Come be with us, either anonymously, clad in black, or openly, as a survivor willing to join forces with other survivors of police and prison violence.

I'm hoping to get some folks with resources down to our street corner to train community members on dealing with police and putting together a COPWATCH group, to how the city administrative and political structure work and where citizens may be able to exercise a voice. I'm also hoping that these Friday gatherings will be a place where survivors can share their stories and people can safely bring their families - that we'll continue to have both a stationary, vigil-type action at the corner as well as a march through the streets of downtown that people can choose to participate in. It's on the march where police confrontations and violence against us (including the act of arrest) are most likely to occur, as happened this past Friday when Jeff was so aggressively taken into custody for talking to a driver on the street.

If you can't make the Friday anti-police violence vigils/marches, at least follow on Facebook, share what information you come across, sign the petitions people put up there, and show your support in some other way. You can write letters to your own city councilperson (post copies or message Peg so we can track official inquiries and responses), research other cases of police violence in your own community, pick up and drop off supplies like candles, glow sticks, and sign-making materials, or have a gathering during the week to make signs, chant sheets, or cookies for the Friday demonstrations while talking strategies for citizen action with some like-minded folks. All of that could be really helpful and can be done at your convenience. 

The specific cases in Scottsdale we're most concerned with right now are those of John Loxas, Jason Prostrollo, and David Hulstedt. There are survivors with standing to sue in both instances who are vulnerable to further police and state harassment, including prosecution. David, who was paralyzed by a Scottsdale police bullet in the back (also while holding an infant), is being prosecuted for kidnapping and child abuse to make their shooting of him look justified - they filed charges against him shortly after his family filed a lawsuit against them. Both families will need support in the weeks and months to come so that they don't end up isolated and further victimized - we'll just need to leave it to them to let us know how we can be most supportive. 

Here are some great photos from this past week's candlelight vigil and march, by Robert Haasch. Please come out next Friday, March 8 at 8pm and join us. Be sure to wear black and bring a candle if you can.

No comments:

Post a Comment