OAKLAND, Calif. — Supporters of the Socialist Workers Party campaign of Joel Britton for U.S. Congress here are widely circulating his statement demanding the arrest and prosecution of the San Leandro cops who shot and killed Steven Taylor inside the Hesperian Blvd. Walmart store April 18.
According to his family, Taylor, who was known by workers to shop at the store, was suffering a mental health crisis that day. He was stunned by a Taser and shot dead by the cops for refusing to drop a baseball bat as dozens of workers and shoppers called for them to stop.
Britton’s statement has been well-received by many workers at the store and customers who campaign supporters — including this worker-correspondent, who works there — have been talking with in the parking lot. Dozens of Militants, two subscriptions and a copy of “It’s the Poor Who Face the Savagery of the US ‘Justice’ System”: The Cuban Five Talk About Their Lives Within the US Working Class were sold in area Walmart parking lots.
“All working people should join with the family of Steven Taylor in demanding the arrest and prosecution of the San Leandro police officers who gunned Taylor down,” Britton, who is a Walmart worker at a different store, said in an April 20 statement.
“This is another example of cops in the service of the capitalist class acting as judge, jury and executioner. Such police violence is aimed at intimidating working people and falls disproportionately on African Americans such as Taylor.”
“This cold-blooded killing comes as today’s deepening capitalist economic and social crisis has put tens of millions of workers out of work,” the statement said. “Those of us still working face speedup, attacks on our wages and unsafe working conditions. A movement of millions of working people needs to be built that can fight to defend working people from the attacks of the bosses and their government. We need our own party, a labor party, that fights on the shop floor and in the streets 365 days a year.”
On April 25, the one-week anniversary of Taylor’s slaying, Britton and his campaign supporters joined a caravan of dozens of cars filled with protesters organized by a coalition of local groups that drove through the Hesperian Walmart parking lot, horns blasting.
The caravan went to the San Leandro police department offices. Some residents of the working-class neighborhood around the cop station came out of their homes, waving in support of the caravaners. Several took copies of the SWP campaign statement.