a report by Rosa Clemente, the Green Party Vice Presidential candidate in 2008
An hour ago, Jessica Care Moore, Talib Kweli, folks from the Fellowship of Reconcillation, Philip Agnew of Dream Defenders, Bgyrl ForLife, Malik Rhasaan from Occupy the Hood and Trymaine Lee from MSNBC and many others were chased like animals by the cops.
We ran to get away and were surrounded on a small path on bridge, surrounded by all types of police and told to lie down and put our hands up. We complied and we were told if we did not stop moving we would be shot. We were breathing. The young brother lying on my feet as I was holding him was not able to control his breathing he said "I'm choking" the cop told him to stop or he would shoot him.
I told him "try not to move, just lay still I got you." The gun was at his chest. I looked at the cop and said "please, he is not doing anything"
I tried to record but the cop had his finger on the trigger. I could feel Talib's hand on my back and Jessica behind me.
We laid there until one Black officer said “Let them go, we got who we wanted.” In all my life I have never been so terrified. The young brother Devin said thank you I think you saved my life. What is going down here in#ferguson in all my years of activism, organizing, I have never seen.
This is a war zone, a military occupation and our children are the cannon fodder. P.S. The white boy who threw the water bottle a big fuck you, I am sure you were an agent provocateur. But for the police to act this way, they are itching to kill more of us. P.S. Women are also brutalized and terrorized by the police, at the end all of us are Black and Brown and animals to them.
Let me state from the beginning: nothing provoked this, the first hour we were there, we walked, talked to folks, people were moving as they were told they had to and chanting. I saw Amy Goodman, Trymaine Lee, who I talked to for a while. He was the last person I talked to before police vamped. Right before I had talked to clergy, at one point their was a prayer vigil, I observed and did not join that as the police seemed to get very agitated because people were still protesting.
I was staying observant. Talib and Jessica were in a circle with young people who began to notice who they were and I truly believed there was about to be a cypher. I kept my eye on the crew we were with; the amount of police officers was just as many as protestors. I then saw people from Amnesty International, many who I know as I used to work there. We were talking, building; they told me we would see you tomorrow.
As soon as they left I stepped to Talib and said something is about to go down. I felt something shift, as a long time activist against police brutality I have been trained by elders and my organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement to be alert, stay focused.
I saw them raising their batons and getting in formation. As I was finishing talking to Trymaine, we saw a water bottle, plastic water bottle being thrown, people kind of looked up, turned back to what they were doing talking etc.…and the next thing police came at us like charging bulls, weapons drawn, screaming, causing mass confusion "leave the area now!" "Don't move!"
At the moment Jessica Talib and I grabbed hands and ran. As we were running the police came from all directions and locked us down. The threats, their eyes, postures, weaponry says it all, we have the power, we don’t care how many cameras there are we will never have to be held accountable. This is one of account of a small group of us. If young people of color did not know where they stood, they surely know now and they told us as much.
These young people were tired, but they were still determined. They were deflated but not defeated. They were longing for direction and leadership that is def not coming from the older generation. They are acquiring knowledge in this moment and are awake. They were expressing their frustrations with so called leadership, the honest truth is I saw many older people of color, talking with, shaking and laughing with the police. They also seemed to be angry with the older people, yelling at them, telling them to go home, they young people replied we are home.
Many of the male so called leadership were as Malcolm eloquently wrote, acting truly like house Negroes, the were not being subversive to the slave master, but being obedient to the new slave master. This might not be the most eloquent, succinct 500 word essay, but on da real: The moment I saw that rifle pointed at Devin, the young men who was right next to me, and I looked into this white bald headed man, and I saw his eyes, I feared the moment that so many young Black and Latino, Latina men and women face, potential death and all I could think about is my daughter hugging me telling me “be careful Mommy, the police hurt women too.”
That split second you think it is over is the most harrowing, terrifying. I thought I was prepared, and I was to a certain extent, but nothing can ever prepare you for that and that fact is that none of us should ever have to prepare for it. Devin and his boys got to go home tonight. They got to go home tonight. I hope they always get to go home.