Media seek to justify racist police killings
Published Feb 2, 2007 10:47 PM
On Jan. 12 a Milwaukee police officer shot David Boone dead in a predominantly
Black neighborhood in the city’s North side.
Eight days later, Adam Quinonez, a student at the Career Youth Development Inc.
alternative School of Excellence, was also shot dead in a barrage of cop
bullets. Quinonez would have graduated in June.
In a rare occurrence, details of Boone’s killing made the front page of
the Jan. 13 statewide edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the biggest
commercial newspaper in Wisconsin.
Usually police brutality and killings are buried in the Metro section, if
reported at all. But Milwaukee received international exposure after the savage
police beating of Frank Jude Jr. and the acquittal of the white cops who beat
him. Milwaukee police killed five Black men in 2005 and the Journal Sentinel
and reactionary politicians need to appear concerned about the Black
This doesn’t stop them from relentlessly demonizing and criminalizing the
victims of police murder and brutality, mostly Black and [email protected] The pattern is
institutionalized nationwide: Make the victim the aggressor, or killable, in
order to justify wholesale racist occupation and police terror in oppressed
communities, instead of spotlighting the social and economic semi-apartheid
With Boone it only took the Journal Sentinel three sentences in its breaking
article on this police killing to demonize the victim. It reported that various
arrest warrants tied to sexual assault of children had been issued Jan. 5 for
The U.S. historical record in relation to Black men charged with sexual assault
should give progressives and revolutionaries pause regarding police versions of
this killing. The Journal Sentinel went on to report, “Online court
records indicate Boone is a felon, but details were not available.”
Thus, even before any details were provided, the Journal Sentinel had attempted
to portray Boone as expendable. The newspaper tried hard to link Boone’s
alleged attempt to escape from the police to his criminal charges, without ever
acknowledging that Boone may have simply been trying to escape police
The official description of the killing was familiar: Boone charged at the
officer, tried to take his gun and then ran off. The cop claims that, after
giving chase, he cornered Boone in an alley and, afraid Boone might use
“deadly force,” shot him.
The cops aren’t saying how many shots were fired or where Boone was hit.
Boone had no weapon—except maybe his bicycle, or his Blackness in the
minds of the cops. The newspaper quoted no community witnesses.
The cop who killed Boone is on paid administrative leave pending an internal
police department “investigation.” A police order delayed public
release of the medical examiner’s report.
Recently retired Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann has been
accused by many in the oppressed communities of covering up hundreds and maybe
thousands of cases of police brutality and murder during his tenure.
Two days after being killed, Boone was criminalized and demonized yet again in
the Journal Sentinel. The paper published accusations of sexual
assault—even though Boone had never been convicted of any of these
All this is aimed at deflecting anger and possible rebellions in response to
the many horrific crimes of the police. The Milwaukee ruling establishment has
a long history of promoting fear and racist ideology aimed especially at white
workers to divide from the oppressed nations, their true allies in the fight
for economic justice.
Fighting police terrorism and supporting self-determination for oppressed
nations within the United States must be a central component of all
working-class struggles. This is particularly imperative in the anti-war
movement, as some of the most vicious facets of the domestic war are waged
through state repression against the oppressed—whether that violence
comes in the form of bullets or the people’s empty bellies.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
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