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San Francisco | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons

The murder of Marcus Law, 17, rocks Hunters Point
by mesha Monge-Irizarry (reposted)
Friday May 5th, 2006 8:29 AM
Candlelight vigil Friday 8pm
Monday, six perfunctory lines from Chronicle staff writer Tanya Schevitz read:



“’Police responding to a call of a shooting at 7:15 p.m. found the second victim, a 17-year-old male who had been shot in the chest, sitting in a vehicle at West Point Road and Middle Point Road in the Bayview District,’ Oropeza said. He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police do not have any suspects. ‘It is just an unfortunate situation. Today’s victims were young,’ Oropeza said. She refused to identify either victim.”

Another young blood bites the dust – anonymously – and it’s “just an unfortunate situation”?

Rev. Jeff Branner, chair of the African American Community Police Relations Board, South East Branch, came by my home, recounting the shooting of yet another youngster “up on the hill.” He was going to comfort the surviving family and community members at the scene. This, less than a week after the shocking shooting death of his own cousin, 22-year-old Donte Marques White, at Ella Hill Hutch Community Center last Thursday.

Then I received a call from Mary Ratcliff at the Bay View: “I just can’t get over what happened to Marcus.” And the horror unfolds.

The 17-year-old shooting victim was Marcus Law, a Black youth who was the topic of many articles in the Bay View and Indybay three years ago, following his brutal assault by SFPD from the Bayview precinct, at the very same corner where he was found dead.

Shortly after Officer Stephen Benzinger assaulted young Marcus for watching Officers Matthew Mason and Stephen Jonas brutalize his neighbor, Lee “Baby Finsta” Collins, on Aug. 25, 2003, the Idriss Stelley Foundation and the Bay View hosted a press conference at the Green House on Third and Palou, attended by Chief Fong, Commander Greg Suhr and former Bayview KKKaptain Pucinelli, followed by a rally, protest and march, “Shape Up or Ship Out SFPD,” from Middle Point and West Point Road to the Bayview Opera House.

I remember watching Monica Autry, who has since become a leader of the Hunters View Tenant Association, accompanied by her child Marcus, an honor student who just had won a full college scholarship and had never been in trouble with the law, close to tears at the Police Commission in September 2003, when Connie Perry, then president of the commission, peremptorily announced that the matter would not be heard since “You do not seem to be aware of due process: It is now being investigated by the Office of Citizen Complaints. It’s out of the commission’s jurisdiction until the release of OCC’s findings.”

Young Marcus’ terrible fate is too reminiscent of other children set up for lethal demise in Hunters Point. The similarities are more than coincidence:

Tyrelle Taylor, at age 14, was brutalized by Bayview officers on MLK Day four years ago. He became a key witness in a case two of his friends filed against officers involved in the assault. And as the court date rolled around, he took four bullets in the back from Bayview police in September 2005, when he had just turned 18.

Marcus Law, brutalized at age 14 while watching the brutal arrest of a neighbor, filed suit against police for misconduct. His mother was quoted by the Chronicle on Feb. 7, 2006, in the special report, “The use of force,” saying, “I am going to do everything to see these officers are held accountable.” The Chronicle noted that the lawsuit “is still pending.” Now Marcus has been murdered at age 17.

In both cases, according to many eye-witnesses, the 14-year-old boys had done nothing whatsoever to provoke the police. Both were outstanding students.

In January of this year, police had warned Marcus’ mother that he was a target, when he was one of five youngsters shot by “unknown assailants.” In a Tuesday article, Jaxon Van Derbeken of the Chronicle wrote that according to the police, in regard to Marcus’ second shooting just last month, “Law said he had been working on rap music with friends outside a unit at Hunters View when some men from the East Bay showed up and opened fire.”

I wonder how the police knew the shooters were “from the East Bay.” Did they wear Raiders jerseys and introduce themselves before they opened fire? Another question is, do they make it a habit to warn the parents of every Bayview Hunters Point shooting victim to get out of the neighborhood, or just those who’ve they’ve beaten?

Thugs in blue manage the mayhem of our Black children killing each other. They provide the drugs and AK47s. They blame Black youngsters and their families for their own deaths. Meanwhile, 12 Bayview residents are currently in prison waiting to become “death eligible” under federal law. There are many facets of genocide. Six lines under “Crime Watch” or “Casualties” in the corporate press means a lifetime of sorrow for surviving families.

Sweet, beautiful Marcus was robbed of a bright future, a peaceful journey on his path to freedom, the freedom that was rightfully his under our somber skies of Bayview. In an interview with JR in the Sept. 10, 2003, Bay View, Monica said: “We’re still not free. They’re still trying to oppress us and keep us down, and I’m not letting it happen. I’m not. My son is already a Black man. I’m trying to keep him on the right track. My son goes to school everyday. The boy is a good boy.”

The best weather in San Francisco is tempting white folks to come in and steal our hood, police to come into our homes and drop guns in our backyards, the government to pour drugs into our community, snatch away our schools, keep us from jobs, block us from business opportunities. And it’s all the cause of us burying our babies.

Where do you turn when the storm of this Black and Brown war at home is camouflaged by the sunlight that bathes our streets, and murder in broad daylight has the same chance of being solved as those done in the dark – even with cameras posted at every street corner? Why were the police, who are parked at West Point and Middle Point Road EVERY DAY not parked there on Sunday? Where is the justice?

Marcus’ mother, Monica, I have been told, is not available for comment. Who would be in these horrible circumstances? Our hearts go out to you, sister. No words could possibly soothe the pain. But please know that we are here for you.

The Idriss Stelley Foundation will be hosting a press conference regarding the recent murders in Visitacion Valley, Excelsior, Fillmore and Bayview Hunters Point. It is time to hold City government accountable for their ineffective response to this crisis.

As for the residents of Bayview Hunters Point, how many more of our sons will we sacrifice before we stand? The demands made by young people during the 1966 uprising were for good jobs, decent, affordable housing and an end to police brutality. We make the same demands today.

We need a Bayview Guardian Angels contingent and Bayview Copwatching. We need fathers and sons, mothers and daughters to come forth in an effort to save their own lives and the lives of our children. We are the victims and the suspects; we are all at risk.

ISF will provide the technology, we will facilitate the meetings, we will provide the counseling, but we cannot do it alone. It’s time to stop the excuses and start the healing. It’s time, Bayview, it’s time.

If you would like to volunteer to help save this community, email mesha at iolmisha [at] cs.com or call the Idriss Stelley Foundation’s 24-Hour Crisis Line at (415) 595-8251. To read more about Monica and Marcus, including his own words, go to http://www.sfbayview.com/090303/hellonthehill090303.shtml, http://www.sfbayview.com/091003/occupyingarmy091003.shtml and http://www.sfbayview.com/120705/truecolors.shtml.

http://sfbayview.com/050306/marcuslaw050306.shtml

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by ntuit
Friday May 5th, 2006 12:11 PM
Some points Meisha makes are valid and you have to wonder if you start to connect the dots. I am offended that she refers to “white” people stealing the Bayview neighborhood like it belongs to any one race. I’ve tried to be supportive of Meisha and attended many of her events and rallies. But she can be a turn off and I think she is racist in her own way. That said, she went through a lot with her son’s death at the hands of SFPD. Whatever she thinks or does, I think what happened to her son was a terrible thing and there has really been no accountability for what happened – just a payout. Given all that, no wonder she questions the system, white people, etc. Being white, I try to unite with African-americans, latinos, Asians or anyone who wants to see human rights for all people. I hate to see the loss of all of the African-american community in San Francisco. it is vanishing. I hope it is more of a class thing than a race thing but then again – whites do seem to hog a lot of the money and they can manipulate things without concern for the needs of others. But then, human nature can be very ugly and all races are capable and vulnerable to behaving only out of concern for the self. But a truly self concerned person will see that he or she is in relationship in this world with other people, other races and the better life is for everyone, the better it is for us all.

I thought Rodney King’s words “Can’t we all just get along” were righteous and sincere. But Americans just can’t seem to listen and apply those basic words. A lot of healing needs to be done. Maybe Meisha can provide some guidance or insight.
by ntuit
Friday May 5th, 2006 12:36 PM
Sorry bout my misspelling - delete Meisha insert Mesha
by Cynthia Morse
Wednesday Aug 15th, 2012 8:12 PM
"Thugs in blue manage the mayhem of our Black children killing each other. They provide the drugs and AK47s. They blame Black youngsters and their families for their own deaths. "

This is true, and there is more. African American boys of 7,8,9,10 and up are deliberately stopped and taken into custody by the police simply to make sure they have police records that will follow and haunt them. Having a police record handicaps them at an early age, but policies like stop-and-frisk--and simple police corruption--mean that they'll be detained for no or minor infractions.

By adulthood or before, the handicap and the harrassment are destiny for some--they will not be able to work, their lives take wrong turns, and they are often used by police to set up others for arrest or even to be killed, under the threat of arrest for strikable offenses.

How can anyone deny there is a real campaign to wipe out a whole generation of black men?