by BAR editor and columnist, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
If the Baltimore cop on trial for murdering Freddie Gray is acquitted without huge protest “it will signal to the authorities that they can continue to get away with beating us down till we're completely broken,” says Carl Dix, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Police lawyers contend Gray’s death was a “freakish accident,” but the brutality and torture inflicted on poor Black people “is built into the fabric of this system.”
Carl Dix on the Freddie Gray Case: “Take to the Streets if the System Lets This Killer Cop Walk”
by BAR editor and columnist, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo
“The prosecutors 'forgot' how to prosecute because they were dealing with a cop charged with killing a Black man.”
Carl Dix is a founding member, and a representative, of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (RCP.) He is a regular contributor to Revolution newspaper, and has long been associated with Bob Avakian.
In 1996, Dix co-founded the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Most recently, Dix has been a central figure in the campaign to Stop "Stop and Frisk," aimed at opposing the New York City stop-and-frisk program.
Carl is a co-founder, with Dr. Cornel West, of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and has spent his life opposing injustice. In 1970, Carl was one of the Fort Lewis 6, the largest mass refusal to go to Vietnam by US soldiers during that war. He spent two years in a US military prison for this stand. Carl has been a leader in the fight against police terror and of the annual October 22 marches to stop police brutality.
In 2011, he and Cornel West called for mass, nonviolent protest at New York City police precincts with the highest rates of “stop and frisk,” contributing to mass public opposition to the practice. Along with Dr. West, Carl put out the Call for the October 2014 Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. In August and October 2014 Carl joined mass protests in Ferguson, Missouri, against the police killing of Michael Brown, and was arrested while standing with the “defiant ones” on the first night of the National Guard mobilization.
The trial of the 3rd Baltimore City police officer to go on trial for having caused the death of Freddie Gray is coming to a close. The defendant in this trial, Officer Caesar Goodson, faces 2nd degree murder charges for having given Gray a “rough ride.”
Marsha Coleman-Adebayo: From your perspective, please describe for our readers what are the essential facts of the Goodson case and what are the political consequences for the African-American community?
Carl Dix: This trial is an injustice on top of an injustice on top of an injustice.
The 1st injustice was the modern day lynching of Freddie Gray. Cops police chased, beat, tortured and arrested Gray for nothing. Then they dragged him to a police van with his hands cuffed behind his back and threw him into it without fastening his seat belt. Then they drove him around for 45 minutes, even though the precinct they took him to was only 2 minutes from where they arrested him. This was done to give him the “rough ride” that Baltimore cops use to punish some people they arrest. And all along the way they ignored his cries for medical assistance.
Then the prosecutors 'forgot' how to prosecute because they were dealing with a cop charged with killing a Black man. The prosecution hasn't mentioned the brutality and torture inflicted on Gray before he was put in the van. And the prosecution put on witnesses who argued the defense's case.
On top of that, the cop who was initially the lead investigator on this case testified on Thursday FOR THE DEFENSE. Her testimony challenged the heart of the prosecution's case – that the spinal injuries which led to Gray's death were caused by him being deliberately given a “rough ride.” This cop said Gray's death was a freakish accident, and that the Medical Examiner had said the same thing before changing her mind and saying Gray's death was a homicide! Even though the Medical Examiner had testified that she always felt Gray's death was a homicide.
Coleman-Adebayo: What does it mean that the prosecution has been unable to mount an effective defense of Freddie Gray that would lead to a conviction?
Dix: The failure to get convictions on either of the 1st 2 cops who went on trial for the death of Freddie Gray came down to this system delivering a message that this system has nothing to offer Black people; nothing but savage attacks that have a genocidal thrust - lead-paint poisoning, rotten education, falling down housing, no jobs, abuse and even murder at the hands of the police. And the way this latest case is being conducted comes down to declaring that Black people have no rights the police are bound to respect. Bob Avakian, the leader of the RCP, has said: “The role of the police is not to protect and serve the people, but to protect and serve the system that rules over the people.” This is ultimate logic behind the way prosecutors and judges almost never punish in any way cops who brutalize and murder people, especially Black and Latino people. This happens in cities all across the country, all the damn time. This is another reason why I say the terror police spread in Black and Latino communities is built into the fabric of this system and why it'll take revolution, nothing less, to end that terror once and for all.
Coleman-Adebayo: What, if anything, can people do to respond to the verdict and to the continuing reality of police getting away with brutality and even murder?
Dix: People need to take to the streets if the system lets this killer cop walk, or just gives him a slap on the wrist. These cops wouldn't have gone on trial in the first place if people in Baltimore hadn't rebelled last year after the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of the police.
There is a lot riding on whether or not people take to the streets in Baltimore and everywhere if Goodson walks or just gets a slap on the wrist. If an outrage like this isn't met with a powerful response it will signal to the authorities that they can continue to get away with beating us down till we're completely broken. But if we do respond powerfully, if we do put something on the line in response to another killer cop walking free, it will give heart to all those who hated the murder of Freddie Gray and who hate to watch again and again as killer cops walk free.
The spirit of resistance is contagious and inspiring, and rebellions show the potential strength of the people when they straighten their backs. As people straighten their backs and raise their fists, they can see further, and will seek out different and more revolutionary ways of understanding and dealing with the problem we face. This is what the authorities were desperately trying to cool out when they charged the cops for Gray's death last year. And it's what they are now trying to crush by these outrageous trials, so they can convince people that their struggle and their lives don’t count for anything.
A call has gone out here in Baltimore for people to gather at the courthouse when the verdict comes down, to bring their desire for justice for Freddie gray and their anger at the way police in Baltimore and all across the country have spread terror in Black and Latino communities. And people in cities all across the country need to be in the streets if the system lets another killer cop walk. And people should send pictures, videos and reports on any actions they take to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website.
Coleman-Adebayo: Thank you.
Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is the author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated: No FEAR: A Whistleblowers Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA. She worked at the EPA for 18 years and blew the whistle on a US multinational corporation that endangered South African vanadium mine workers. Marsha's successful lawsuit led to the introduction and passage of the first civil rights and whistleblower law of the 21st century: the Notification of Federal Employees Anti-discrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (No FEAR Act). She is Director of Transparency and Accountability for the Green Shadow Cabinet, serves on the Advisory Board of ExposeFacts.com and coordinates the Hands Up Coalition, DC.