Last night, Baltimore's WBFF aired a video of protesters chanting "kill a cop"– evidence, it claimed, of murderously violent rhetoric on the part of anti-brutality protesters in Washington, D.C. The only problem? The protesters weren't chanting "kill a cop" at all, and there's video evidence to prove it.
The current national pastime appears to be constructing elaborate ways of laying responsibility for recent police shootings at the feet of anti-police-brutality protesters. This, of course, is bullshit. Faced with the daunting task of shifting blame for broad and escalating distrust of police away from the murderous bastards themselves and onto mostly non-violent activists, our insanely cynical news media has been forced to dig deep into their bag of tricks.
The rhetorical line has it that the all-too-recent lack of unequivocal support for police actions up to and including the murder of unarmed civilians in broad daylight has put rank-and-file cops at grave risk. Well you can just imagine how much more vulnerable they are when reckless cop-hating rioters take to the streets and actively call for the murder of police! Why, just listen to these hate-mongers!
What you are hearing there is a protester in Washington, D.C. shout the following chant:
We can't stop!
We won't stop!
'til killer cops are in cell blocks!
Not a particularly provocative chant, all things considered: protesters are announcing their intention to continue organizing until murderous police officers are put in jail. Fair enough!
That is, until Baltimore's local FOX affiliate got their hands on this video. Here's their interpretation of it:
We can't stop!
We won't stop!
So kill a cop!
By cutting away from the video mid-chant, FOX's segment paints protestors as explicitly calling for the murder of police. They've depicted a non-violent protest about accountability for police brutality as a bloodthirsty mob.
What's significant about this act – other than the fact that it is intended for and will be gobbled up by psychotic paranoid racist conservative white people as evidence of the inherent criminality of black people – is that the woman leading the chant is Tawanda Jones, the sister of Tyrone West, who was murdered by Baltimore City Police on July 18, 2013. The West family's quest for justice for this crime has been overwhelmingly ignored by the city of Baltimore – after 73 weeks' worth of "West Wednesday" actions, the family has still not even been given Tyrone's full autopsy report.
Here's Ms. Jones, speaking at the most recent "West Wednesday" action:
And here she is, on Facebook, responding to FOX's segment:
This week Baltimore's corrupt, inept, and ineffectual police department issued a statement in which they all but explicitly promised retaliatory violence for what they've characterized as an "atmosphere of unnecessary hostility" created by politicians and pundits, but of course this line crumbles at the slightest scrutiny: police are killing civilians with impunity, and the media is doing the dirty work of casting those outraged about these killings as the true villains. If there's an atmosphere of unnecessary hostility, it is the direct handiwork of police and their apologists.
Update: Here's a statement from Baltimore Bloc, an affiliated activist group working for justice for Tyrone West's family:
Last night, Fox45 ran a story during their 10 p.m. broadcast about anti-police-brutality demonstrations. During the story they showed a C-SPAN clip of last weekend's mass demonstration in Washington, DC, which featured Tawanda Jones, the sister of Tyrone West, who was murdered by Baltimore City police last July. In the video, Tawanda is leading a chant that is well-known to local activists and attendees at the West family's "West Wednesday" demonstrations: "We won't stop/we can't stop/'til killer cops/are in cell blocks."
Fox45 chose to edit the video to cut out the last bit of the chant ("are in cell blocks"), and described the video as follows: "At this rally in Washington, DC, participants chanted, 'We can't stop, we won't stop, so kill a cop." They then cut away to footage from the aftermath of the murders of two New York police officers, saying, "The anti-police sentiment reached a turning point this weekend in New York, when two officers were gunned down in cold blood."
This editing and the anchor's words deliberately link not only the anti-brutality movement in general, but specific local activists to the murders of police, thereby endangering the safety and lives of those activists. Tawanda Jones and the West family have led over 70 demonstrations since last summer, and every single one has been peaceful. The West family has repeatedly called for non-violence in the movement and for an end to all types of violence, including the violence by Baltimore police that took their beloved Tyrone from them. They have never condoned or called for violence against police officers.
Baltimore Bloc has participated in every West Wednesday and has close ties to the West family. We know them to be peaceful, honorable, and consistent in their message of non-violence. Fox45 has targeted them for slander, and has placed them in grave danger by accusing them of encouraging the murders of law enforcement officers. The media is putting ratings above the safety of the community and fanning the anti-democratic and anti-Black flames lit by the statements from elected officials and union spokespeople over the last several days. This is irresponsible and violent, and we demand an on-air retraction and apology from Fox45, and for Fox to conduct live, unedited interview with Tawanda Jones so she can speak for herself. We also ask for support from the rest of the local media in decrying this unethical and dishonest propaganda disguised as journalism.