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Related Categories: Police State & Prisons
‘They butchered my child!’
by Willie Ratcliff (editor [at] sfbayview.com)
Monday Jun 25th, 2001 4:56 PM
Twenty-three-year-old Idris Stelley, from Bayview Hunters Point, was shot 20 times in the Sony Metreon Theater as he stood alone facing eight police officers.
The Bay View was asked by the grieving mother to look into the police action June 12 that "butchered my son" and into insensitive press coverage of the tragedy. Twenty-three-year-old Idris Stelley, from Bayview Hunters Point, a good young man with a 4.0 grade average at Heald College, his mother told us, was shot 20 times in the Sony Metreon Theater as he stood alone facing eight police officers.
Stelley suffered from a controllable mental illness. His mother, Mesha Irizarry, said, "My son is a good boy, a smart boy. He’s a bookworm. He asked the police for help — yet they butchered my baby." Idris was her only child.
The officers who killed Idris Stelley are from the same San Francisco Police Department that sent officers into an apartment building in Pacific Heights a few months ago to bring out Bane, a vicious killer dog that had just ripped the throat out of a young woman. Our men in blue went in scared as hell, but they brought that dog out alive. We can’t do as much for a human life?
The officers knew that Idris had a mental disorder. Why didn’t they use their training and equipment to restrain the young man? Eight policemen could easily have bound him. It didn’t take that many to control Bane, the killer dog. Even if Idris appeared to be as dangerous as they imply, a net thrown over him would have made him easy to subdue.
We have real problems in our community when eight police officers make a decision to use deadly force even though they are not helpless — cowardly, maybe, but not helpless. Maybe they have the wrong occupation.
I went to the press conference and rally on the front steps of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant yesterday. I met Idris’ mother and his girlfriend, Summer Galbreath, and my mind and heart quickly went out to all the mothers and loved ones of young Black men who have been slaughtered by a system that uses all its power and the might of our tax dollars to oppress Black people by denying them their most fundamental rights — their right to earn a living and even their right to live.
We must consider that oppression when we look at the 23 percent decline in the Black population of San Francisco over the last 10 years. We must ask ourselves how did we let economic exclusion and toxic waste contamination create an environment that destroys our bodies, our minds, and our spirits.
We have to ask ourselves how much of a role African Americans have played in creating these conditions by calling themselves leaders but refusing to take issue with the discrimination that leads to killings, incarceration and miseducation of our children. The future of the Black community in San Francisco is at stake.
If we don’t push forward as Black people for economic and political freedom, the conservative right wing white supremacists will surely push us back. The corrupt forces that have ruled this City care nothing for the needs and aspirations of Black people.
We here in Bayview Hunters Point are standing up for ourselves. We are about changing the way the City deals with the Black community.
We are here to stay, and we won’t tolerate the loss of one more of our children to senseless violence. We will work with and defend our young people and demand equal protection under the law and enforcement of our economic, environmental and political rights.
Each one of us in the Black community has a responsibility to keep struggling. We must not defeat ourselves.
Get involved in the struggle. Help create jobs in our community. Invest and develop Bayview Hunters Point and create jobs for ourselves, our children and our neighbors. Let us build and save Bayview Hunters Point for us by us.
Published in the SF Bay View on June 20, 2001.
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spider jerusalemanonymousMonday Jul 2nd, 2001 8:25 PM
more unanswered questionsSpider JerusalemMonday Jul 2nd, 2001 2:47 PM
More On This Bloody MurderAlarmed IntenselyMonday Jun 25th, 2001 6:02 PM
More On This Bloody MurderAlarmed IntenselyMonday Jun 25th, 2001 5:58 PM
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