We want you all to know and remember that Black girls are always present despite efforts to disappear, displace, and rearrange us.
I want you to know what the members of Combahee River Collective wanted the world to know: black girls and black women are inherently valuable. To say that black women and girls are valuable to is to acknowledge the brilliance, labor, and love that proceeds from their very existence. To affirm and practice that black women and girls are inherently valuable is to negate the systems of oppression that depend on appropriating surplus value from black girls and other peoples in order to reproduce their death-dealing relations. To know that black girls are inherently valuable is to speak life in the face of death. Know that.
- SOLHOT, Know & Remember
I think about the work that my mentors at SOLHOT do and the deep immense gap there is in the representation of our stories. Black girls and women have been trying for centuries to tell the world that they are killing us. Yes, some of us live to tell those stories, but others don’t. This fight against white supremacist police brutality will not see any success if we continue to treat the violence and deaths of Black women and girls as a secondary niche cause for only feminists to deal with. Our lives are valuable. our names are worthy of remembering. SOLHOT created Know /Remember for this reason. We need to Know/Remember these girls and women and the countless. COUNTLESS. (64,000 Black girls are gone in this country. Missing or dead) others who get swept under the radar or are relegated to misinformed/incorrect scrolling updates on our fuckshit news coverage of the war being waged over Black bodies. There is no racial justice without gender justice and lives of Black girls and women that were taken at the hands of police are not any less valuable or worthy of mention.
Kendra James: Kendra James, the young woman killed by Officer Scott McCollister on May 5, 2003, on the Skidmore overpass in Portland, Oregon.Despite McCollister’s claims that he “feared for his life,” the AMA Coalition presented a detailed analysis that McCollister was not in any danger, knew who the unarmed Kendra James was and could have found her even if she had driven away, and raised serious questions about whether he had collaborated with the other officers on the scene by meeting at a restaurant to get their stories straight before they talked to investigators. McCollister was given 180 days’ suspension,
but that discipline was overturned by an arbitrator after the Portland Police Association grieved the action.
Rekia Boyd:Boyd was out with a group of friends at Douglas Park on 15th and Albany, on Chicago’s west side, when off-duty Chicago detective Dante Servin drove up to them in a BMW. Sutton told the Sun-Timesthat Servin — who lives in the North Lawndale neighborhood near the park — told the group to “shut up all that motherf**king noise.”
Boyd’s friend, 39-year-old Antonio Cross, responded with an obscenity toward Servin. At that point, witnesses say that Servin pulled out a gun and opened fire on the group, hitting Cross in the left hand and Boyd — an innocent bystander — in the head.
Chicago Police initially claimed that Cross pulled a gun on Servin, which caused the officer to open fire in “fear for his life.” An independent investigation found that Cross was unarmed, yet he was still charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault.Rekia Boyd died two days after being removed from life support. Servin has yet to be charged with a crime in the shooting and Boyd’s family has already filed a civil suit against Servin and the city of Chicago.
“Rekia Boyd was shot and killed on March 21, 2012, without any legal justification,” said James Montgomery, the family’s attorney on April 6. “Her young life was snuffed out by an aggressive, intimidating police officer who provoked the confrontation and when met with a verbal rejoinder took the life of an innocent young woman. The police spokesperson publicly claimed that the officer fired in defense of his life when a man approached his vehicle and pointed a gun at him. Incidentally, no gun was ever found.”
Darian Boyd, Rekia’s older brother, told the Huffington Post that Servin had made comments prior to the shooting demanding some “respect” from the community.
“He basically said, ‘What do I have to do to get some peace, quiet and respect? Shoot someone?’” Darian Boyd said. Darian Boyd added that several witnesses thought that Servin appeared to be intoxicated when the shooting occurred.
Servin fired five shots “blindly” over his shoulder, shooting Cross in his thumb and striking Boyd in the head. The 22-year-old died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital. There were no weapons recovered at the scene.
“lt’s a sad day when charges are warranted against a police officer, but we feel very strongly that in this particular case Ms. Rekia Boyd lost her life for no reason and that this defendant’s actions were reckless in shooting in that alleyway that was occupied,” the state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez, said.
The city settled a $4.5 million wrongful death lawsuit with Boyd’s family this past March, but it’s safe to assume they would rather have had her in their lives.
Tyisha Miller: Feb 8, 1999 Miller and five girlfriends went to a nearby mall at about 4 p.m., stayed for a few hours and then headed for an amusement park. There, they went on a water ride, filled out job applications for the ride, then went to a city park, where they “talked and wrestled on the grass.” Some of the girlfriends say they had been drinking, but others deny it. An autopsy found that Miller had been drinking that day. At about 12:30 a.m., Miller dropped off all but one of her friends, a 15-year-old girl nicknamed Bug. While heading home to Rubidoux, the car got a flat tire and they stopped at a convenience store. There, according to what friends told lawyers, a white man the young women didn’t know replaced the flat with a spare. But the air pump at the convenience store didn’t work, so they drove to a gas station, less than a mile away, followed by the man. When they realized the spare tire would not hold air, Miller began calling friends for help. Bug hitched a ride to Rubidoux with the man, while Miller waited with the car for her friends to arrive.
About an hour later, one of Miller’s cousins and a friend arrived at the gas station and found Miller locked in her car, with her seat back, music playing on the radio and a .380 semiautomatic pistol in her lap. She didn’t respond to knocks on her window. The cousin and friend thought Miller was foaming at the mouth. They called 911 and reported Tyisha was in distress, and that she had a gun. They then called her aunt’s house to get keys to the car.
Because the 911 call reported that Miller had a gun, a police car as well as an ambulance was dispatched. The police arrived approximately two minutes later. They tried to rouse Miller by banging on the windows and eventually breaking them. At this point, police accounts diverge. Two of the officers say Miller reached for her pistol; two said they weren’t sure whether she reached for it or not. The four officers — all white — fired about 27 shots, hitting Miller at least a dozen times. The Riverside police have not released tapes or transcripts of the 911 call or of the radio communication among the officers — a fact that has been singled out by critics, who point out that they had no problem releasing the autopsy report showing that Miller was legally drunk.
Shantel Davis: June 16, 2012 Unarmed 23-year-old Shantel was fatally shot by an NYPD officer in East Flatbush Thursday.
Around 5:40PM, The New York Daily News reports, plainclothes cops spotted Shantel Davis drive erratically in a Toyota Camry she’d allegedly stolen at gunpoint earlier this month.
After running a series of red lights, she crossed a double yellow line at East 38th Street where, according to NYPD spokesman Paul Browne, she crashed into a minivan.
As cops approached Davis— who had an extensive criminal history, including 8 arrests, according to police— she attempted to open the passenger side door. A cop was hit by the door and pushed backwards. Davis then reportedly went back to the driver’s side and put the car in reverse, hitting the gas.
At the same time, another cop, Detective Phil Atkins, entered the vehicle through the driver’s side door, attempting to put the car in park. In one hand, he was carrying a gun.
"He’s attempting with the other hand to shift the gear into park,” Browne said. “When she’s hitting the gas, a single round was discharged from his firearm, striking the woman in the chest.”
Cops then asked Davis to step out of the car, which she did, dramatically stumbling onto the street, bleeding profusely as a large crowd looked on in horror. From The New York Post:
A woman from a crowd of about 100 onlookers “cradled [Davis] in her arms and rubbed her head,” said witness Nacole Daniel, 26.“She was fighting, but there was so much blood gushing out,” said the woman who comforted Davis.
Browne said it was still unclear if the the officer intentionally pulled the trigger of if it fired accidentally.
Neighborhood residents were upset Thursday at what they were concerned was another case of excessive police force. As police descended on the scene of the crime, people screamed, “Murderers!”
"She did not try to put no car in reverse,” one witness said. ”They were already on her, she had nowhere to go.”
State Assemblyman Nick Perry called for an investigation. “I am seriously concerned that the police may have not acted with good judgement,” he said. “Deadly force appeared to have been unwarranted in this case.”
Miriam Carey: In the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s fatal shooting of Miriam Carey by DC police (after she rammed into barricades near the White House and led a police chase), the media instantly delivered a certain narrative: A crazy, dangerous, armed shooter was endangering the lives of prominent DC officials and needed to be taken down for safety reasons. When that story was undermined by subsequent developments, a new explanation dominated: The victim was mentally ill and had presumably done crazy things that necessitated her deadly shooting.
But while Carey’s family since corroborated that she indeed suffered from mental illness, the temptation to use this confirmation as evidence that the media (and police) handled this tragedy appropriately, is misguided. Like Alec MacGillis and several others, I am skeptical of the insistence that her shooting was necessary and inevitable.
For one thing, at least one part of the chaotic series of events was clarified: Carey wasunarmed and shot after having gotten out of her car.Several sites ran with headlines suggesting that Carey was mentally ill and a deadbeat (as if being behind on condo fees automatically makes one a National Security threat). The New York Daily News, whose history includes sensational headlines and innuendos, remained true to itself. At that point (Thursday afternoon, as Carey had just been shot), there was no explicit connection between her post-partum story and her actions near the Capitol, but that didn’t stop the tabloid’s editors from leading with innuendo.
It is certainly true that defense attorneys for women on trial for killing their children, such asSusan Smith or Paula Thompson, have used post-partum as the basis of insanity defenses. But defense strategies are a poor foundation for identifying post-partum depression with violent tendencies, unless substantial proof is demonstrated.
Moreover, we heard from neighbors and friends that they thought of her as a happy person, a “catch,” a great mother, and a role model. But those details weren’t in most headlines. By Friday afternoon, nearly every single media story highlighted Carey’s depression and her temper to harden the initial assumption that she was crazy and angry—if not violent.
Never for a moment, do these reporters consider that Black men and women have always been smeared with these traits, regardless of proof. Miriam Carey is subject to these terms—even though there are plenty of witnesses who describe her as upbeat, cheerful, strong, pleasant, happy. These are, in the ironic words of philosopher Charles Mills, part of “an epistemology of ignorance” features of a world made up by whites that preclude a more candid, historically aware, sympathetic understanding of social realities.
Perhaps Carey had a “chip on her shoulder” because she had to struggle twice as hard as someone who came from money to acquire the successes that she had. Perhaps she had a chip on her shoulder because she was being treated unfairly by her bosses and co-workers. But chances are, we’ll never find out.
Not only because she’s dead, but because the same reporters who have no problems casting aspersions on her personality and temper would never write a story casting aspersions on her employers’ tales about why she was fired, or casting doubt on the police’s story about why they shot her dead.
Aiyanna Jones: Aiyana Mo’nay Stanley-Jones, slept on the couch as her grandmother watched television. A half-dozen masked officers of the Special Response Team—Detroit’s version of SWAT—were at the door, guns drawn.The SWAT team tried the steel door to the building. It was unlocked. They threw a flash-bang grenade through the window of the lower unit and kicked open its wooden door, which was also unlocked. The grenade landed so close to Aiyana that it burned her blanket. Officer Joseph Weekley, the lead commando—who’d been featured before on another A&E show, Detroit SWAT—burst into the house. His weapon fired a single shot, the bullet striking Aiyana in the head and exiting her neck. It all happened in a matter of seconds.Police first floated the story that Aiyana’s grandmother had grabbed Weekley’s gun. Then, realizing that sounded implausible, they said she’d brushed the gun as she ran past the door. But the grandmother says she was lying on the far side of the couch, away from the door.
Compounding the tragedy is the fact that the police threw the grenade into the wrong apartment. The suspect fingered for Blake’s murder, Chauncey Owens, lived in the upstairs flat, with Charles Jones’ sister.
Plus, grenades are rarely used when rounding up suspects, even murder suspects. But it was dark. And TV may have needed some pyrotechnics.
"I’m worried they went Hollywood," said a high-ranking Detroit police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigation and simmering resentment in the streets. "It is not protocol. And I’ve got to say in all my years in the department, I’ve never used a flash-bang in a case like this."
The official went on to say that the SWAT team was not briefed about the presence of children in the house, although the neighborhood informant who led homicide detectives to the Lillibridge address told them that children lived there. There were even toys on the lawn.
Tarika Wilson: A SWAT team arrived at Ms. Wilson’s rented house in the Southside neighborhood early in the evening of Jan. 4 to arrest her companion, Anthony Terry, on suspicion of drug dealing, said Greg Garlock, Lima’s police chief. Officers bashed in the front door and entered with guns drawn, said neighbors who saw the raid.
Moments later, the police opened fire, killing Ms. Wilson, 26, and wounding her 14-month-old son, Sincere, Chief Garlock said. One officer involved in the raid, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, a 31-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Beyond these scant certainties, there is mostly rumor and rage. The police refuse to give any account of the raid, pending an investigation by the Ohio attorney general.
Black people in Lima, from the poorest citizens to religious and business leaders, complain that rogue police officers regularly stop them without cause, point guns in their faces, curse them and physically abuse them. They say the shooting of Ms. Wilson is only the latest example of a long-running pattern of a few white police officers treating African-Americans as people to be feared.
Alesia Thomas: Alesia Thomas lost consciousness and died in Los Angeles police custody on July 22, 2013, after being handcuffed, placed in a hobble restraint device (leg restraints) and put into the back of a patrol vehicle.
Police went to her LA apartment to arrest the 35-year-old mother on charges of child abandonment, after she left her two children at a police station. Thomas, who reportedly had a history of mental illness and battled drug addiction, was apparently taking advantage of the city’s “safe haven” law, which allows struggling parents to surrender their children at certain locations, including police and fire stations, or hospitals. The situation reported escalated when she resisted arrest.
According to police spokesman Sgt. Frank Preciado, there is no arrest report because Thomas died in custody before officers could reach the police station.
Police refuse to release the dashcam video that showed exactly what happened to Thomas that morning, but assault charges were filed against Officer Mary O’Callaghan, 48. O’Callaghan was seen on video repeatedly kicking Thomas in the stomach and genitals and punching her in the throat.
A statement released by department officials said officers used “questionable tactics” against Thomas while she was restrained, and made “inappropriate verbal comments.”
Kathyrn Johnson:In November 2006, three officers had entered 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston’s Atlanta home in what was later described as a ‘botched’ drug raid. Officers cut off burglar bars and broke down her door. Police said Johnston fired at them and they fired in response; she fired one shot through the door over the officers’ heads. They fired 39 shots, six of which hit the elderly woman.
None of the officers were injured by her gunfire, but Johnston was killed by the officers. Police injuries were later attributed to “friendly fire” from each other’s weapons.
One of the officers planted marijuana in Johnston’s house after the shooting. Later investigations found that the paperwork stating that drugs were present at Johnston’s house, which had been the basis for the raid, had been falsified.
The officers later admitted to having lied when they submitted cocaine as evidence, claiming they had bought it at Johnston’s house. The three officers were tried for manslaughter and other charges surrounding falsification of evidence. One police officer was sentenced to 10 years, another one got six, and the third officer in the case received five years’ imprisonment.