Tireman and Whitcomb St, Detroit, Mi
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Sunday, January 3, 2016 from 3-6pm
@Tireman and Whitcomb St, Detroit, Mi
Black & Latino Communities Demand: • A Badge is Not a License to Kill! • Jail the Killer Cop! • We Reject the Policy of Cover-up and Blaming the Victim! Detroiters Demand: • Restore Our Real and Full Democratic Rights Now! • End the Rule of the Cops and the other Detroit-Haters Now! 1. The Senseless, Racist Killing of Kevin Matthews Once again, an unarmed black man, accused of no crime, fleeing from the police in an urban neighborhood, has been shot and killed by a white cop. Once again, the police and officials are carrying out a cover-up of a murder in which the police officer is the killer. Once again, fear of further racist police intimidation and violence is gripping a community, while friends and family in shock mourn the senseless killing of a loved one. On Wednesday, December 23rd- two days before Christmas - Kevin Matthews, a black resident of Detroit in his mid-thirties, was shot to death in broad daylight at 12:30 in the afternoon, by a white Dearborn police officer. Kevin was on his way to his mother’s house, where he frequently stayed, when he was shot to death in the backyard of a house in the neighborhood. According to police sources, the police officer, who has been on the Dearborn police force for five years, called Dearborn police dispatch at 12:27 reporting “approaching one on foot, Tireman and Whitcomb”; three minutes later the officer called in again reporting “ shots fired... I’m ok... We have a suspect with a gun shot wound.” Kevin Matthews was unarmed, he posed a danger to no one, the killer cop who shot him never asked for back up nor did he care that he was repeatedly firing his gun in a densely populated area of Detroit, full of school children enjoying their first day at home on Christmas break. Kevin was the father of two children. He is survived by loving family members for whom the joy of the holiday season has now turned to shock, grief, and anger. Kevin is also being remembered by friends who know Kevin should not have died so young and neighbors for whom he was a familiar figure in the neighborhood. His killing tears a painful hole in the day-to-day life of his community. Kevin’s sister, Kimberly, says, “My brother was very loving. He was my closest sibling. Every time I saw him he told me he loved me, and he would kiss me. We talked on the phone every day. He was a family-oriented person, the person in our family that made everybody laugh, that made everybody feel special, that was always around, just loving his family.” Family and friends describe Kevin as a man coping as well as anyone could with mental illness. Kevin and his family openly acknowledged his disability. Family, friends and neighbors knew he was disabled and on medication for paranoid schizophrenia. Kevin received monthly disability checks to support himself and his family. He had a full life ahead of him, children to raise, a family to love and care for. For all who knew and cared about Kevin Matthews and all who care about justice, the Christmas message of “peace on earth” has been wrenched by a brutal, racist act into the powerful demand; NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE! 2. The Witnesses: Besieged Neighbors in Shock, Fear, and Anger ￼￼Understandably, neighbors who witnessed the terrible events of December 23 are reluctant to speak out publicly, frightened of retaliation from the ever- present threat of two police departments, Detroit and Dearborn, which work together and are committed to defend what they regard as their license to kill. Off the record, neighbors speak of the white Dearborn police officer, who killed Kevin, as frequently harassing Kevin. Around noon Dec. 23rd, neighbors describe seeing the still unnamed Dearborn cop chasing Kevin across streets and up a driveway, ending in a struggle. They describe the cop firing seven or eight times until he felt confident he had shot Kevin to death. Then a swarm of Dearborn police descended on the scene, none of whom even bothered to determine whether Kevin was alive or dead. No one called for an ambulance. The only concern of the Dearborn cops was how to stitch together a lie to justify Kevin’s murder. The cop shooter was swiftly escorted away to safety. Kevin’s broken and bloody body lay for hours unattended in the driveway of the house, as police walked back and forth by, around and over his body, pre-occupied with creating a scenario to justify Kevin’s senseless murder. No ambulance arrived at the scene until 4 hours later. If Kevin was alive after the shooting, by the time the ambulance arrived, there was no chance of him surviving. While Kevin’s body lay in plain view for hours, the police began to “interview” people in the neighborhood, telling some that a police officer was shot, others that a long struggle between Kevin and his cop murder had ensued before the killing, and whatever other lie they could concoct to prime alleged “witnesses”, eager to “cooperate” with the police, with the testimony the police need to cover up Kevin’s murder. 3. The Dearborn Police: Professional Racists The very thought of Dearborn police regularly patrolling a poor black Detroit neighborhood sends chills down the spine. The Dearborn police department has been historically, one of the most racist group of cops in the Detroit area. For generations, black Detroiters have known that Dearborn police treat being black and in Dearborn as a crime, harassing and arresting black Detroiters shopping or simply driving through Dearborn. Half the arrests in Dearborn are of black people even though black people only constitute 4% of the population. In 2011 and 2012, 4,500 black people were arrested in Dearborn, 500 more than the total black population of the city. Dearborn police feel they have free rein to terrorize an already besieged black neighborhood that borders Dearborn. Before Kevin Matthews’ murder, they regularly drove through the area he was killed in, harassing and brutalizing residents in the neighborhood. Kevin Matthews is essentially an inevitable victim of the racist policy of turning a Detroit neighborhood over to the Dearborn cops. We demand; NO MORE DEARBORN COPS IN DETROIT! 4. The Detroit Police: Brutal and Corrupt Experts at Cover-up The Detroit and Dearborn police departments work together in several “special task forces”. One of these joint task forces, Detroit Fugitive Arrest Team (DFAT) is responsible for the murder of Terrance Kellom in June of this year. In the murder of black Detroiter Kevin Matthews there is a certain division of labor. A Dearborn cop killed Kevin, then a swarm of Dearborn police descended to begin the cover up. The Detroit police have the job of conducting an “independent investigation,” supposedly on behalf of the people of Detroit. But their real job is to provide another layer of cover up- for the killer and for the Dearborn cops’ original cover up. There is a standard drill in Detroit when a police officer kills or injures a black or Latino citizen. The first rule of the “standard drill” is especially brutal: if at all possible, make sure the victim is dead. A dead victim cannot testify against the killer cop. The Dearborn cop shot Kevin seven or eight times to try to make sure he was dead. The Dearborn police then left his body lying there for hours to add a further layer of certainty. Thus it was guaranteed that Kevin would never be able to tell his story. The second point of the “cover-up standard drill” is whatever the cops were actually doing at the crime scene while Kevin’s body lay on a driveway, bloody and disrespected. The next point of the cover-up will be the story the Detroit police create, in their “independent investigation,” to protect their Dearborn colleague; Kevin Matthews will be slandered and presented as somehow the author of his own death. The police officer who killed Kevin will somehow be turned into a hero or a tragic victim. The Christmas holiday has provided the two police departments with ample time to get their lying ducks in a row. These days, the usual lie is to claim the dead victim was trying to get the cop’s gun, to shoot the cop. Almost all killer cops can make up some sort of story, to present murder as “self- defense.” Some misl