It is necessary to call things by their right names. The obscene regularity of police murders in the United States has reached the point where it is appropriate to speak of the police as an occupying army, whose daily violence and brutality can best be described as a war against the country’s poor and working people.
Practically every day brings a new outrage. The death toll mounts relentlessly, against the backdrop of harassment and beatings that are daily facts of life in much of the country. The government does not publish figures on police killings; however, according to statistics compiled from media reports, some 1,000 people lose their lives as a result of police violence every year in the United States. That averages out to almost three fatalities a day.
The list of victims reported just over the past three weeks includes:
- Anthony Hill, 27, Atlanta, Georgia. Unarmed, naked, suffering from mental illness, reportedly seen hanging from his balcony and crawling on the ground. Shot dead by a police officer on March 9.
- Anthony Robinson, Jr., 19, Madison, Wisconsin. Unarmed. Shot dead by a police officer who forced his way into the victim’s apartment building on March 6.
- Naeschylus Vinzant, 37, Aurora, Colorado. Unarmed, wanted on an arrest warrant. Shot and killed by a heavily armed paramilitary SWAT team on March 6.