by Poetic Assassins at Sai Werd Ink| May 29, 2009 • First let me say to the family of Fong Lee my thoughts and energy go out to you. Now to all the people like me, who feel that this case is much bigger than one person, one family or even one community let me say this… What are we going to do?
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For those of you that are not familiar with the case, Fong Lee was murdered by Officer Jason Andersen of the Minneapolis police. He was shot eight times. Yesterday it was decided that he (Andersen) did not use excessive force; based mainly on trivial differences in accounts, and on testimony from the police departments expert stating, what matters to determine if excessive force was used or not is if Officer Andersen perceived Fong had a gun. It is important to note this was a civil case not even a criminal trial, in essense Andersen has already gotten away with murder, literally. We will get into the implications of this later, and I will not get into the details of the case here as they can be easily found by anyone interested enough to do a Google search. I would prefer to use this time and space to examine the implications and possible responses to it (side note: while any action would be a response I think it is important that the response is not reactionary).
Lets start with what I believe is the most ridiculous claim, and perhaps the most disturbing aspect to come out of this debacle (at least in terms of implications for the future). The idea that what is key is whether or not Officer Andersen perceived Fong had a gun. If this is the standard we are holding for the taking of life, we are in serious trouble. It is not unrealistic to imagine a similar case five years from now where another young non-white male has had his life ended by the MPD, and we are told it is acceptable because he was thought to be a gang member and the officer perceived he had a gun. This should scare everybody if for no other reason then we don’t need to look five years in the future, on the contrary just a few months in the past, to a Bart station in Oakland and a young man named Oscar Grant. Add this to what can only increase the aura of invincibility enjoyed by police forces across the country, and we are not far at all from what can only be described as an occupation.
I am not going to pretend to have any big ideas for what we should do as concerned citizens. I will say this we need to do something. Please if you feel the same way find the time and energy to make it known because believe it or not next time it could be you. Ona Move!
Peace Love Respect!
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