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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/7/20

No Justice No Peace Watts Uproar Revisited

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Message Ron Ridenour
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I live in Denmark but I wish I were in my old hometown, Los Angeles. I would be there beside my younger brothers and sisters putting police cars on fire, plundering stores that discriminate against African-Americans, and shouting, "We Can't Breathe"! "No More Killer Cops!" "Long Live George Floyd"!

During the 1965 Watts Revolt, I had the privilege and honor of taking sides to resist the racist murderers of then when I was 25 years old. We, as you today, were indignant humans ready to fight for justice. In Watts, we resisted for a week without killing one white person, yet 34 of my black brothers and sisters were murdered by white cops.

Wattsriots-burningbuildings-lo c.
Wattsriots-burningbuildings-lo c.
(Image by (From Wikimedia) New York World-Telegram, Author: New York World-Telegram)
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As far as the white cop who started that rebellion was concerned, he was "Just doing my job." This is what police officer Lee Minikus told the Los Angeles Times 25 years later. "To [the police] officer who sparked riots it was just another arrest."

On August 11, 1965, Minikus stopped Marquette Frye for reckless driving. He tested him for alcohol, and arrested him for drunk driving. Frye's mother, Rena, came to the scene. As she chastised her son for drinking and driving, someone shoved her, and she jumped on a policeman's back. Another cop hit her with his baton just above the eye. The gathering crowd came to her aid. Soon, much of the city was on fire: 250-300 cars and a dozen or so public buildings burned.

I was one of some white people who participated in the revolt. I got man-handled by police because I was in a car with black folks driving in Watts. They didn't take me to jail, though, because there were many more black people watching them.

Today, there are many more white people fighting alongside black brothers and sisters than 55 years ago. Nevertheless, the racist violence by white cops against blacks is the same.

In Minneapolis, May 25, 2020, a storekeeper claimed to police that George Floyd tried to buy cigarettes with a counterfet $20 bill. The police arrested Floyd without knowing if, in fact, the bill was false or if Floyd knew that it was false. As witnesses stated and videos show, Floyd did not attempt to resist arrest although the police lied that he had. He was thrown on the ground, and cop Derek Chauvin held him down with his knee on his throat.

Demonstrators throughout the United States hold signs and shout Floyd's last words, "I can't breathe", the same words that Erik Garner cried out, in 2014, as he was being strangled to death in the same manner. Garner's crime, suspicion of selling individual cigarettes on a New York city street.

Possessing cigarettes, violation of New York State's tax law, is a capital crime for black men in White America.

As protests in Minneapolis grew and spread to scores of US cities, the killer cop was fired, and later charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter for choking Floyd for nearly nine minutes. Floyd cried out several times that he couldn't breathe. Chauvin is heard responding, "Shut up!"

The other three cops assisted their partner by holding Floyd's legs and threatening by-standers. They were fired for their murder complicity but not charged with any crime.

George Floyd's murderer already had 18 brutality complaints against him, including two involving killings of "suspects". This cop probably never would have been fired let alone charged with any crime had people not taken to the streets to resist these murdering officials of the racist empire. It is an illusion when well-meaning liberal-progressives tell those of us, who meet police violence head on, that violence does not work. Violence is what the United States of America is founded and built upon.

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Ron Ridenour is a retired journalist, anti-war and radical activist; author of a dozen books, including "The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert".

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