Submitted to It’s Going Down
On the night of Tuesday December 22nd, 2015 Burlington pigs along with the DEA conducted a no-knock raid at the house of Kenneth Stephens in search of narcotics. Kenneth, or Kenny as he was known to his friends and family, was diabetic and had limited mobility. Pigs claim Kenny was about to raise a gun which prompted them to shoot and kill him upon breaking into his home. Pigs shot an estimated total of 16 shots during the raid.
The side of Kenny’s house was riddled with bullet holes and at least one bullet went through the house of Kenny’s next door neighbor. The neighbor had been sitting on his couch when the pigs started shooting next door and was startled by a stray bullet that went into the wall just inches from his head.
The next day on on Wednesday December 23rd a vigil was held across the street from where the pigs had gotten trigger happy the night before. Many of Kenny’s loved ones along with neighbors and activists were in attendance. Whether Kenny was dealing narcotics out of his house or not doesn’t change what our stance needs to be any time the police exercise violent force in our neighborhoods. Heroin has had a grave impact on working-class communities in Vermont but the drug problem is ultimately the problem of capitalism. In a system where folks must either work or starve desperation will manifest in self-destructive forms such as perpetuating drug abuse in order to survive.
Police presence in the North End of Burlington has greatly increased in the last 10 years but so has the epidemic of drug addiction. Pigs are not in the North End to curb the rise in drug use and addiction, but to continue the round-up of poor folks into prisons and cemeteries that is this so-called “war on drugs.”
And so, on the night December 23rd, 2015 at around 10pm some comrades assembled again across the street from where Kenny was murdered. The vigil had taken place earlier that day in the same place as a chance for mourning and now was a chance for a more overt show of resistance. The group was called together on hours notice and was comprised of comrades from the anarchist community, Workers Defense Guard, and other community organizing groups.
The group decided to take the street and march to the police station a few blocks away. Some comrades took the lead of the march with a banner that read “REMEMBER THE DEAD, FIGHT FOR THE LIVING, BLACK DECEMBER.”
The rest followed behind with signs and megaphone chanting against police violence. Burlington pigs began following in patrol cars occasionally becoming aggressive to try and get around the crowd and up ahead of the march but were circumvented several times by Workers Defense Guard comrades blocking their way.
The march snaked back and forth between residential areas and main streets all the way to the police station. Whenever the march entered a residential street the megaphones and chants were quieted and comrades began to sing until crossing back onto a major street. The march concluded at the police station where stories were shared and a moment of silence was held as somber a reflection of the tragedy of police violence.
WORKERS OF THE WORLD TO THE STREETS. FUCK THE POLICE.
-Wildcats! of Vermont