09 January 2015

Drop All Charges Against Anti-Police Brutality Protesters!


Tens of thousands rallied on December 13 for the “Millions March NYC” against cop killings of black people. In the following days, the NYPD thugs in blue and their supporters in the bourgeois media launched a witchhunt, broadcasting pictures of seven people who allegedly assaulted two cops on the Brooklyn Bridge. A $25,000 bounty made these individuals targets for any vigilante. Now six of them are facing bogus felony and misdemeanor charges such as resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, riot and assault on a cop. CUNY English professor Eric Linsker is accused of throwing trash cans at the cops, and five other protesters—32BJ SEIU union organizer Robert Murray, Zachary Campbell, Maria Garcia, Cindy Gorn and Jarrod Shanahan—are said to have engaged in a confrontation after police grabbed Linsker.

Grainy videos of the incident on the Brooklyn Bridge show the cops scuffling with a small group of protesters. The actual footage did not deter NYPD Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry from ranting that Murray’s supposed punching of a cop was “right up there with being one of the most violent acts that I’ve seen.” In a statement in defense of the protesters, the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee pointedly noted that Aubry and the NYPD have not used the term “violent” “to describe the police murder of Eric Garner, the execution of Ramarley Graham and Akai Gurley, or the countless others harassed and brutalized by the police” (trayvonoc.wordpress.com). It is the cops who are the real perpetrators of violence. From Ferguson to Oakland to New York City, protesters against police terror have been beaten, tear-gassed, shot with rubber bullets and arrested by armies of cops.

The vindictive prosecution of the New York protesters is intended to silence and intimidate those who oppose the police’s rampant repression. It is aimed against all those ground under the heel of capitalist society—not only black people and minorities, but also the multiracial labor movement, whose struggles have always been met with capitalist state repression. Yet rather than defending the protesters facing prosecution, the 32BJ SEIU tops placed Murray on unpaid leave. This betrayal can only serve to disarm and isolate the union in its own struggles. The workers movement must be won to the need to champion the cause of all the oppressed. We demand: Drop the charges against the New York protesters, and all those arrested in protests against police brutality across the country! Down with the witchhunt of protesters!

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1059, 09 January 2015)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.