Behind Georgia’s epidemic of police killings

Protesters in Atlanta demand justice for police victim Rayshard Brooks.

Atlanta – “More than a third of all Georgians fatally shot by law enforcement since 2010 were killed at home,” according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News investigation.

When police respond to a call for help or to intervene in a domestic violence case, it often ends with cops killing the residents, especially when they are Black or Brown. White residents who call the police for similar incidents tend to stay alive and get the help they need.

Tenisha Felio is still tormented after she called 911 in December 2010. Her husband James, the father of their three young boys, physically abused her. He was lying asleep in bed, naked and unarmed, and within ten minutes after police arrived, he had been shot dead.

A wrongful death lawsuit against the Lawrenceville Police Department has been filed by Felio’s family.

Friends and family of mentally ill Air Force veteran Anthony Hill demonstrated in DeKalb County because Hill, completely naked and unarmed, was shot in his apartment by police on March 9, 2015. The cops’ excuse was that he made a threatening move.

Former DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen was sentenced to 20 years, with 12 years in prison and 8 years probation, for the killing of Hill. This means he will only serve 12 years for his criminal, murderous act.

A no-warrant murder

Holli Gooch was at her home on Dec. 16, 2010, when six officers in Bartow County came to her door looking for a friend of hers who didn’t live there. She told them they could not enter without a warrant. The officers then kicked in her door and rushed into the home with guns drawn.

Gooch, who had a history of mental illness, panicked and ran into her kitchen. Officers said she grabbed a hammer and wielded it as a weapon, according to a lawsuit filed by her family. The police shot her four times and the mother of two died on her kitchen floor. 

Others killed by police include:

Lori Knowles, who called Henry County 911 after she took too much medication and needed help, according to the audiotape.

Her husband begged the police, “Please don’t hurt her,” but it was too late. Police had entered the home and shot Knowles when she refused to drop her handgun.

Struggle-La Lucha covered the police murder of Rayshard Brooks extensively.

On the night of June 12, 2020, Brooks, a 27-year-old African American man, was fatally shot by Atlanta Police Department (APD) Officer Garrett Rolfe.

Disgustingly, the killer cop was reinstated by the Atlanta Civil Service Board last May. Rolfe is still facing charges of felony murder, aggravated assault (5 counts), violation of oath (4 counts) and damage to property.

His accomplice Devin Brosnan faces charges of aggravated assault and violation of oath (2 counts).

While Ahmaud Arbery was not killed by active members of the police department, his killers were former police officers, and were protected by law enforcement in Brunswick. 

On Feb. 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was murdered in Satilla Shores, a neighborhood near Brunswick.

His murderers were interviewed, their narrative accepted and they were sent home without question. It wasn’t until a people’s struggle demanding justice exploded in South Georgia that these white supremacists were brought to trial and found guilty!

An investigation into “prosecutorial misconduct” in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case is currently underway as of this writing.

White supremacy serves ruling class

No matter what the talking heads may say, white supremacy does not serve the needs of the poor and working class. The so-called “free market” was constructed and functions within a white supremacist society, period.

The exploitation and domination of nonwhite people will continue to be an integral part of the capitalist market system, because it is built into the structures of the market. Therefore, when we challenge white supremacy, we are also attempting to dismantle capitalism.

Pitting white workers against immigrant workers or other workers of color serves capitalism and its ruling class. We only need to look at recent events to prove this fact. 

The white supremacists who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are tools of the ruling class because they serve to send fear into the hearts of others wishing to dismantle capitalism. “Bourgeois democracy isn’t so bad compared to fascism,” is the message we are supposed to hear.

For white workers, the tactics of stirring up racial, economic fear and anger helps to keep them fighting against their own class interests.

We can’t depend on the courts, the voting booth, etc., whose whole purpose is to keep us divided. They will never end police brutality, white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and sexism. 

Only a united working class fighting to own the means of production under a socialist economic system will achieve this goal and liberate the whole world. Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, Arab and white, gay, straight, trans, women and men – together we can dismantle this oppressive capitalist system. 

Join the Struggle-La Lucha Telegram channel