The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Legalizing Murder-by-Cop

Sep 30, 2019

Ismael Lopez was murdered by a cop in Southaven, Mississippi in 2017 when police, responding to a domestic violence call, went to the wrong house and one of them shot him in the back of the head. After a grand jury refused to charge the cops, Lopez’s widow filed a civil rights lawsuit, pointing out that the 41-year-old auto mechanic was in his own home, doing nothing wrong, when he was killed.

The city’s attorney had the nerve to try to dismiss the case by arguing that, since Lopez was an undocumented immigrant, he has no constitutional rights. “Ismael Lopez may have been a person on American soil,” she wrote, “but he was not one of the ‘We, the People of the United States’ entitled to the civil rights invoked in this lawsuit.” Attorneys for the city have also argued that his widow has no right to sue since she is herself undocumented.

The widow’s lawyer pointed out that this argument amounted to saying to undocumented immigrants: “Stormtroopers can come into your house and kill you.”

The attempt to legalize this kind of police violence is not just an attack on undocumented immigrants—it is an attack on all of us.