This Saturday, in recognition of the the 16th annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, we will mark a historic development in our movement: on this day, activists from Occupy Boston will be joining activists from Occupy the Hood in a joint demonstration of strength and solidarity against police brutality. Not only will we be rallying against recent police repression of our movement, both in Boston and nationally; more importantly, we’ll be rallying against the police violence experienced by poor folks and communities of color every day in this country. What’s more, we’ll be rallying on the one year anniversary of a recent, unresolved case of police brutality in Boston: the beating of a 16 year old boy arrested at Roxbury Community College, just blocks from BPD headquarters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXDJvBaTTDQ).
In calling for this demonstration, we aim to use the international spotlight on our movement to illuminate the ongoing struggles against police brutality in our communities, struggles that receive frustratingly little attention despite the systemic and racist nature of the problems they’re confronting. Four actionable points coming out of Occupy the Hood in relation to this issue (points that do not represent any consensus decision of the Occupy Boston General Assembly, but rather are listed to increase awareness of some ideas community members have been putting forth to combat police violence) include:
1. The current CO-OP (Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel) must be given subpoena powers and the ability to initiate its own independent investigations.
2. There should also be a true Civilian review board with the same powers as, but independent of, the CO-OP. The CO-OP is primarily made up of criminal justice/law enforcement professionals and appointed by the Mayor. A true Civilian review board would be compromised of a cross section from all walks of life within the communities most affected.
3. We have begun work with State Officials to examine and propose a State Commission on Police Brutality. This commission would work statewide to study, examine and investigate cases of police brutality and misconduct where cities and towns have found themselves either unwilling or unable to adequately address these issues in a just manner. Local DA’s and Police Departments have shown that they cannot police themselves and some level of accountability must be established.
4. The Boston Police Department needs to reflect the diversity of the city in its command staff and other decision making positions. We recognize it is only in standing together, united in our solidarity and in action, that we will overcome police repression and succeed in creating a better world.
In the spirit of solidarity, and in recognition of the diversity of experiences of all members of the 99%, we invite all our supporters to join us in having these discussions by rallying at 12:00 Saturday behind the BPD headquarters in the southwest corridor park, near the Ruggles and Tremont Street intersection and a short walk from the Ruggles stop on the Orange line. A march is in the works for afterward (we gotta get back to see Chomsky, right?), so bring your walkin shoes!