Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Masked Protesters Disrupt Police Accreditation Meeting ; People gather before entering into police station.
On December 6th, a group of about 15 protesters marched into the Modesto Police station during a public meeting chanting, "Cops, Pigs, Murderers!" The group was dressed mostly in black and wore masks bearing the likeness of two people killed by Modesto Police and Stanislaus County Sheriff's in September of 2010, Francisco Moran and Rita Elias.
The meeting was held to discuss if the Modesto Police Department will again receive accreditation from CALEA (a national organization founded by cops and for cops), which the department won three years ago. The meeting (which started at 6pm) had a very low attendance, with many of the audience being police both in-and-out of uniform and representatives from other city government departments. Gaining accreditation means that police departments supposedly meet 'standards of excellence' in their cities, compared to other police departments.
In Modesto, this is laughable, being that the department has killed numerous people in 2010 alone, and is currently being investigated for corruption and police brutality. An out-going police sergeant recently sent out an email detailing the department's method of "beat and release," stating that police would beat people only to leave them at the local hospital. A subsequent email was published by some anonymous police officers in Modesto, backing the email, and stating that numerous complaints from within the department itself have protested abuses to the chief and others — all to no avail. It goes on to mention several officers by name for abuse and murder — one of them an officer involved in the shooting of Francisco Moran, who was armed with only a wooden spoon when he was shot down.
Holding banners reading "Fire to the Prisons! Revolt on the Inside, Revolt on the Outside!," "From LA to Oakland to Modesto, Resist Police Terror, 209 Rise Up!," and "RIP Francisco Moran, RIP Rita Elias," the protesters first rallied outside, then marched into the police department to disrupt the meeting. They heckled and shouted down the first couple of speakers, including head Sheriff, the hated Adam Christianson. At one point, Chief Mike Harden got up in front of the accreditation meeting and declared that he would have anyone shouting "arrested."
Several people got up and addressed the crowd from the group, stating the idiocy of even considering issuing accreditation to the Modesto Police while they are being investigated for corruption and brutality. The meeting was quickly over, only lasting about 1 hour, and the group then marched out.
We also found the comments of the head of the NAACP to be equally pathetic. He claimed that the problem with the police was one of 'bad apples,' and that the NAACP would continue to support MPD as long as it continued to dialog with them. Clearly, the NAACP needs the police just as much as the police need it. Both groups work with each other, in order to appear that one is hard on the other - when both groups have no interest in any real change. The NAACP continues to offer false opposition and criticism that gets us no where. Their comments tonight only further address this reality.
Protesters gathered at the accreditation meeting not because they believed that the committee would "bring justice," or "hold the police accountable," but because we wanted to disrupt the meeting and expose it as the farce that it was. We achieved this tonight. Our action is complemented by the following.
According to IndyBay.org, earlier in the day, a banner was dropped on the freeway in Modesto stating "Modesto to Greece, COPS KILL, Revolution not Investigation!" This brought attention to the ongoing revolt in Greece, kicked off in 2008 in part due to the police murder of a young man in December, and connected it to ongoing struggles against police violence in the local area. The post online read:
"On Monday, 06 December 2010, a banner was dropped in Modesto over a busy freeway during the morning commute hour. The banner read: \\\"From Modesto to Greece, Cops Kill. Revolution, Not Investigation!\\\" This was done in solidarity not only with comrades in Greece, as December 6th is the two-year anniversary of the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos in the Exarcheia district of Athens, but especially with those resisting police violence and murders locally.
The investigation of the Modesto Police Department will not change anything. It is in resisting the police on our streets here, in Greece, and everywhere that we will find freedom."