Filed under: Community Organizing, Featured, Gentrification, Police, Repression, Solidarity, Southeast, The State, White Supremacy
A recent statement from Richmond, Virginia that links the recent horrific murders of Marcus-David Peters and Nia Wilson.
Marcus-David Peters was murdered by an officer of the Richmond, VA police department on May 14th, 2018. The details of his murder have been documented several times by a number of sources, including the body camera worn by the officer who murdered him. The people of Richmond have come together behind his family in the following months, as they challenge the city’s callous attempts to minimize and demonize Marcus-David’s murder and evade blame.
Nia Wilson, an 18 year old from Oakland, CA was murdered on July 22nd in cold blood by a white man in a racist attack, the night before white nationalists planned to descend on her hometown. In the days following her death, her community has mourned her and honored her with massive street demonstrations across Oakland.
Today in Richmond Stoney hosted a so-called community meeting, one of a series ostensibly designed to demonstrate his administration’s accessibility and interest in the public’s opinion. Stoney, along with police chief Alfred Durham, have leaned heavily on these events to soften criticism against them, as well as court public support for a number of major projects that they currently support. Marcus-David Peters family have also used these meetings to confront Stoney and Durham, both of whom failed to attend public meetings called for by his family following the killing.
After a series of confrontations, Durham and Stoney vaguely promised to hold a public meeting for the family’s demands for emergency reform of the city’s mental crisis polices when their investigation was complete. Two days ago, they suddenly announced some of the findings from this investigation would be released during a community town hall in a wealthy, predominantly white district at the edge of the city.
At the meeting this evening Mayor Stoney, Chief Durham and disinterested old white men infantilized the family and close friends of Marcus-David Peters as they brought forward documentation of lies and demonization by the police and mayor’s office. They said Marcus-David had to be high. His toxicology report came back clean. They said he was shot twice. The autopsy showed three separate bullet wounds. They said they would begin the implementation of a “Marcus alert” for mental health crises, but today they announced that “if” this was found to be necessary, it would occur following the Commonwealth Attorney’s investigation, in effect an extension of the months of delays that have already occurred. This is a familiar pattern of behavior from the city government and police, here and everywhere.
We see parallels in these murders, despite the fact that they occurred on opposite ends of the country. We see parallels in the callousness of our supposed leaders’ response, in the apathy of our wealthy white neighbors, in the smirks and scoffs of the police as they face a grieving community. We see parallels in the absolute grace and dignity of the bereaved as they face clawing reporters and the empty words of spineless bureaucrats. We see parallels in our shared rage and grief.
Tonight we raised banners for Marcus-David and Nia side by side, grieving for them both and shaking with rage at the system that took them away from us. The cop who chose death for Marcus-David and the racist who murdered Nia may be separated by 3,000 miles but they are products of the same country, the same hegemonic white supremacist leviathan, inescapable for all who live on these stolen lands.
Justice for Marcus-David Peters
Rest in Power Nia Wilson