US Police Still Killing African Americans at ‘Phenomenal’ Rate: Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior political analyst in Detroit slammed the current US administration for its failure to effectively address police brutality against people of color and other minorities, saying that many African Americans are still falling victim to the phenomenon.
“The (US) police are still killing African Americans and others at a phenomenal rate,” Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire, said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
“Since taking office in 2009, US President Barack Obama has systematically and consistently refused to propose any policy initiative to end racial profiling, lethal force and cover-ups of crimes committed by law-enforcement agencies across the country,” he added.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: A new wave of protests has gripped various states in the United States after another unarmed African American, Keith Scott, was shot dead by police on September 22, in Charlotte. As you know, the US has been a self-declared champion of human rights across the globe. However, the recent killings of African-Americans by the US police have raised questions about Washington's own record. What do you think about the human rights situation in the US?
Azikiwe: The human rights situation in the United States has worsened under the current administration of President Barack Obama. Since Obama ran for office in 2008, there has been a huge increase in right-wing, racist and vigilante organizations. The number of hate crime has increased. The police are still killing African Americans and others at a phenomenal rate. The Justice Department has failed to prosecute the overwhelming number of these cases along with the local authorities. The rebellions and mass demonstrations in Ferguson, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Charlotte exposed the failure of the administration to effectively address these issues.
Tasnim: On the other side, the US government has denied claims on police brutality. FBI Director James B. Comey recently rejected as inaccurate Americans’ information about the prevalent use of force by US police against the people of color. Addressing an annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego on October 16, Comey said, "It is a narrative that has formed, in the absence of good information and in the absence of actual data, and it is this: Biased police are killing black men at epidemic rates." He called the numerous videos leaked so far “a small group,” which is used by Americans as “proof of nationwide police brutality." What is your idea about the remarks?
Azikiwe: This is a standard avoidance of the real crisis. It flows from the Obama administration's refusal to address the special oppression of the African American people. Since taking office in 2009, Obama has systematically and consistently refused to propose any policy initiative to end racial profiling, lethal force and cover-ups of crimes committed by law-enforcement agencies across the country. It was during his first year in office that an African American Imam was entrapped and brutally gunned down by FBI agents right outside of the city of Detroit. Nothing was done about these acts of political violence. No one was held responsible. This clearly illustrates that Obama represents the ruling class which has oppressed and exploited African Americans for centuries.
Tasnim: The African American society has become deeply frustrated and angry with excessive use of force by the law enforcement. In your opinion, what are the root causes of such police brutality and how can the US government put an end to the crisis?
Azikiwe: The root causes can be found in the system of slavery which began in 1619 under British colonial rule in Virginia and has extended through the 17th to the 21st centuries. Despite the passage of several constitutional amendments and civil rights laws since the 1860s through the 1960s, the African American people are still not recognized as a nationally oppressed group deserving of self-determination and full equality as a class. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 all have been eviscerated by the local, state and federal courts. African American political rights are violated routinely and the state apparatus upholds this process on behalf of the economic interests in industry and on Wall Street.
Tasnim: In recent years, the US has been shaken by a string of shootings including the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults. Back in June, the US Senate rejected a series of gun-control measures just days after the Orlando nightclub massacre shooting, including proposals to keep weapons out of the hands of people on terror watch lists. Every year, more than 30,000 people are shot and killed in the United States. What do you think about the Senate move?
Azikiwe: They are incapable of passing any gun control laws because it would jeopardize the system of racial capitalism and imperialism. The US was born in racist violence, genocide and forced removals of the indigenous people of North America. Most of the guns are held by the armed agents of the state and their supporters within the civilian population. Only if the oppressed and working class becomes armed with revolutionary ideology will there be any attempt on the part of the ruling class to institute gun control.