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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 71/No. 46      December 10, 2007


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(lead article)
‘Jail the killer cops!’
Demand protesters in Miami after
police kill 4 Black men in 3 weeks
Militant/Bernie Senter
Marchers in Miami demand justice November 24 for four men recently killed by police

MIAMI—Four killings by police in 19 days have sparked a series of protest demonstrations and meetings here. Gracia “BG” Beaugris, 19; Roger Brown, 40; Michael Knight, 21; and Frisco Blackwood, 21, were killed in three separate incidents. Three of the men were Haitian American; the fourth was African American.

A crowd of 150 rallied at a local police station November 24 to demand justice. Demonstrators held banners that declared, “Jail the Killer Cops” and “1 Month = 4 Killed.” A dozen pallbearers carried mock coffins representing the four men. The protesters were greeted by honking horns from passing cars and buses. Numerous family members came to the rally, which was held after the funeral of two of the victims.

“The cops executed, murdered these young Black men,” Debbie Ferguson told the crowd. “Then they make up lies to cover up their tracks. My brother was also murdered by the cops and they covered it up. We all need to stand together.” Ferguson is organizing a rally in December in Fort Pierce, where her brother was killed.

Maizelyn Reid, mother of Frisco Blackwood, said, “You have the murders [by the police]. Then you have the silent murders when they cover it up. I need answers. I need justice.”

Marleine Bastien from Haitian Women of Miami told demonstrators, “They are building a case to make you believe they weren’t human beings. That they aren’t worth living. We know their games. They do it over and over and over again. The only way it won’t change is if we give up.”

On October 30 a vigil was held here to demand justice for Beaugris, shot to death by a cop as he and his brother were walking home from the laundromat. Officer Christopher Villano claims he shot the youth after Beaugris tried to reach for the cop’s gun.

On November 7 school and Miami-Dade police killed Roger Brown near Miami Central High School. They say he was driving “erratically” in the area and became “extremely resistant” when they tried to arrest him. The cops used a Taser stun gun to “immobilize” him. Handcuffed, he died in police custody.

Fifty people attended a vigil November 13 on behalf of Knight and Blackwood. The day before, police shot and killed the two men and wounded a 23-year-old woman who was in the car with them when they were stopped for allegedly running a red light. The cops say they had to shoot in “self-defense” because the men put the car in reverse and smashed into the police car.

The November 24 protest was organized by several local organizations including Cop Watch and the NAACP. Melody Gonzales spoke for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW). “This fight is our fight too,” she said. “We are here in solidarity to be in the streets with you. There should be an end to criminalizing of our youth. It’s important to mobilize together.” The CIW has been organizing protests against low pay and bad working conditions for farm workers in south central Florida.
Related articles:
Killing by cop sparks protests in Canada

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