For Immediate Release
January 4th, 2016
Ana Robelo, Deputy Secretary General, Anakbayan New Jersey
Nina Mariella Macapinlac, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell:’ Non-Indictment of Killer Cops in Tamir Rice Case Caps a Year of Police Terror
In the last week of December, a local grand jury failed to convict the two Cleveland police officers who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio. This non-indictment comes at the end of a year in which nearly 1000 people were killed by the police alone. The decision joins a growing list of preceding non-indictments like in the cases of Michael Brown; Eric Garner; and most recently, Sandra Bland. Anakbayan NJ condemns this slate of police brutality as state terror, and calls for an immediate end to impunity through the arrest of all police officers responsible for extrajudicial murder.
In November 2014, Tamir Rice was in Cudell Park, a recreation center where he was playing with a toy gun. Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback drove up in their police car in response to a 911-caller who had informed the dispatcher that Rice was “probably a juvenile” with a fake gun. With fewer than two seconds of reaching the boy, Officer Timothy Loehmann opened fire and killed Rice. Neither officer administered first aid to the dying boy, who lay on the snow-covered grass for four minutes as Loehmann took cover behind the trunk and Garmback situated himself across from his partner.
After more than a year of investigation, mounting evidence was found against the police officers, such as Loehmann’s dismissals and rejections from four other police departments prior to working at Cleveland Division of Police. Despite this, Loehmann and Garmback will face no charges for the 12-year-old’s death. According to Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty, Loehmann “had reason to fear for his life” because of “indisputable” evidence that Tamir was reaching for what the officers thought was a real gun.
In response to this blatant disregard for justice, youth and students across the country are mobilizing for Tamir Rice and all who have been killed at the hands of the police. In New York City, hundreds mobilized at Washington Square Park immediately after the announcement of the non-indictment on December 28. In the midst of freezing hail, protesters blocked the streets and shut down the Brooklyn Bridge. Protests continued until New Year’s Eve, with mobilizations from Cleveland to Washington, DC.
Anakbayan NJ recognizes that the struggle for the liberation of the Philippines is not separate from the liberation struggles of Black people in the United States. Through police violence and impunity, an underclass of poor and working class Black people is created and maintained for the benefit of the ruling few. The same tactics of militarization and extrajudicial killings are used to intimidate and oppress the peoples of the Philippines to better facilitate the imperialist plunder of the country’s natural and human resources. Like Tamir Rice, Filipino youth have been targeted and killed by their own governments, like Freddie Ligiw, an Anakbayan member who was tortured and killed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines almost two years ago.
As an organization that stands for the rights and welfare of the most exploited and oppressed masses, Anakbayan NJ sees no choice but to expose the State that is responsible for the killings of Black people in the U.S. as well as the killings of Filipinos in our home country. As the new year surges ahead, we call on youth and students in New Jersey to rise up against police brutality and state repression by taking the streets and defending our communities.
On Friday, January 15th, we will march in solidarity with our allies in People’s Organization for Progress for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March for Racial Equality, Economic Justice and Peace. That same weekend, we invite youth to attend the Kabataan Magkaisa (Youth Unite) conference in Seattle to join Filipino American youth nationwide in tackling burning issues that face Filipinos and other marginalized communities in the U.S. and abroad. The conference will culminate in a march on Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 18 alongside Seattle-based Black community organizations.
END POLICE TERROR, IMPUNITY, & STATE REPRESSION!
JUSTICE FOR TAMIR RICE! JUSTICE FOR SANDRA BLAND!
JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS!