Photo: Raul Pena and his daughter, Suzie Lopez
A baby? Yes, a baby! On Sunday, July 10th, an LAPD SWAT team ended what they called a hostage situation by storming an office in a car dealership and firing dozens of shots into a small room. When the smoke from the more than 60 shots had cleared, Raul Pena and Susie Lopez, his 17 month old daughter, lay dead, both shot
multiple times by police bullets.
The authorities were quick to blame Pena for everything that happened on that day. First they claimed that maybe Pena had shot Susie. Then after the coroner's examination proved that police bullets had killed Susie, pig chief Bratton insisted police had no choice but to storm the building to 'try to save Susie's life' and that his cops had every right to defend themselves when Pena fired on them. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on the public to await the outcome of the police investigation. He also said: "...we do know this: There was a man with a firearm shooting at the public, shooting at officers." In other words, the people should cool out while the authorities try to cover up their horrendous crime, but
he's not going to wait for the outcome of any investigation before he blames the man the police killed for his own and his daughter's deaths.
We don't need to wait for their investigation/whitewash. What happened is clear. The cops showed a callous disregard for the lives of both Susie and Raul. In the middle of the afternoon the police received a report that a man was firing random shots. When they came into the area they encountered Raul with Susie in his
arms. Shots were exchanged and Raul went back into the office of his auto dealership. Several of Raul's family members begged police to let them go in and talk to Raul because they felt they could talk him into surrendering, but the police refused. 80-100 cops came into the area and laid siege to the place. Raul was on
the phone with family members and people in the neighborhood during the three hour siege. He was also negotiating with the cops by phone.
Two hours into the standoff, a police sniper spotted Raul at a window of the office and fired at him. Raul didn't shoot back, and the cops thought he was wounded and maybe disabled. This is when they decide to storm the building.
The cops say Raul fired at them as they rushed his office and wounded one of them. They stormed in with their guns blazing, firing more than 60 shots into the tiny office. Susie and Raul were both killed by police bullets.
Police chief Bratton and mayor Villaraigosa are doing a two-step dance in the wake of what we can only call cold blooded murder. Step one: blame Pena for everything that happened. Step 2: shed crocodile tears of sympathy for the family. Bratton has even said that some of the SWAT members wish they could trade places with
Bullshit! When they stormed the office on Sunday, the cops showed whose lives they cared about and whose they didn't. They said they were being fired at by Pena and had no choice but to defend themselves--by finishing him off. They fired 60 rounds into a tiny office they knew little Susie was in. Are these the actions
of people who were concerned about her well being? No, they are the actions of people who didn't give a damn about her!
In commenting on the police murder of Tyisha Miller, (Tyisha was a young Black woman who was shot 12 times in the back by 4 white cops as she lay passed out in a locked car in December of 1998. None of the cops were ever charged in her killing.) Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, said the
"If you can't handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation but get off the earth-get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled that situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome,
and frankly if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people's police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That's what you're supposed to do if you're actually trying to be a
servant of the people. You go there and you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people.
"Fuck all this "serve and protect" bullshit. If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene, they could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it's been in power, has handled and would again handle this kind of thing-valuing the lives of the masses of people-as opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, without necessity, because exactly the more
arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that's one of the reasons why they like to engage in-and have as one of their main functions to engage in-wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people."
This speaks volumes about the role of the cops in this capitalist system--front line enforcers for those who exploit and oppress the people. As do other events like the pig killing of Devon Wilson in LA and cops firing of more than 100 shots at Winston Hayes in Compton. This kind of brutality and even murder is built into
the very nature of this system. And cops are almost never punished when they abuse the people. The 100's of people who've taken to the streets in the wake of this foul murder and protested in other ways are doing the right thing. We have to fight for justice everytime the pigs brutalize and murder. To stop this and everything else foul this system perpetrates on people here and around the world, we have to go beyond resistance. Doing that is going to take masses of people rising up in revolution and going on to build a whole new society on the ashes of this messed up one.
IT'S WAY PAST TIME TO THROW OFF THE CHAINS OF OPPRESSION AND GET
WITH THE EMANCIPATORS OF HUMANITY!