I Don't See an American Dream, I See an American Nightmare
Prairie Fire Organizing Committee
George Floyd, another unarmed black American, was murdered on Monday in Minneapolis, Minnesota by another white police officer. The ongoing rage and outrage that understandably and legitimately erupted, led to demonstrations from Memphis to Los Angeles, with protesters setting fires in Minneapolis which continue to burn.
Most of the protesters wore masks to protect themselves from Covid-19 —which also puts the black and brown populations at greater risk than white populations. Four officers have been fired, but to date, none have been arrested and charged. Until that happens, there is nothing to protect against being killed by police if you are black or brown.
CSPG’s Poster of the Week was made in response to another act of police violence almost three decades ago, when Glen ‘Rodney’ King, an African American motorist, was beaten repeatedly by Los Angeles Police officers on March 3, 1991. Unbeknownst to the police, a bystander, George Holliday, videotaped the beating and it aired on television throughout the world. The incident raised an outcry, as many people, both within and outside the African American community, believed that the beating was racially motivated, excessive, and an example of police brutality. Although 27 officers were witnesses and/or participants, only 4 were brought to trial. The trial was moved from Los Angeles to Simi Valley because the defense argued that it was not possible to have a fair trial in Los Angeles. The defense team also preferred Simi Valley because its population is more affluent, contains a much smaller proportion of African Americans, and contains a disproportionately large number of law-enforcement officers.
The April 1992 acquittals in a state court of the four officers triggered massive rioting in Los Angeles, which left hundreds of buildings severely damaged or destroyed and dozens dead. Smaller riots occurred in other U.S. cities. King made an appearance before television news cameras to plead for peace, saying, "Can't we get along here? Can't we all just get along?"
On May 1, 1992, as the unrest continued, President G. H. W. Bush announced that he would most likely charge the officers with violating King's civil rights. King testified in this Federal trial on March 9, 1993. Then on August 4, a federal judge sentenced LAPD officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell to 30 months in prison on this charge. The other officers were not convicted, and there was no rioting.
This poster was produced in Berkeley, California, and shipped down to Los Angeles, while Los Angeles was under curfew during the 1992 uprising. It was going to be distributed at a demonstration held in front of LAPD headquarters at Parker Center, downtown L.A. As hundreds of protesters arrived, the LAPD rescinded the permit and declared the demonstration to be an illegal assembly.
No Justice No Peace