The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

The Tears of a California Police Chief

Aug 26, 2002

Jerome E. Lance, police chief of Long Beach, California recently broke down in tears speaking at a local NAACP meeting about the fatal shooting of Marcella Byrd.

Byrd, a mentally ill black woman who lived in a seniors’ apartment complex, was confronted by the Long Beach cops because she had allegedly taken groceries from a store without paying for them. Seven cops followed her for at least a block. When she was crossing the street, the cops shot her with two rounds of bean bags. When she turned in anger against her attackers, three of the cops fired a total of eight bullets into her torso, killing her instantly.

You might think that Chief Lance was crying in sympathy for Byrd and her family. But no–he was crying out of sympathy for Byrd’s killers! And not because they are being punished–for they face no charges whatsoever. So what were the tears for? For emotional torment which, according to Lance, the cops must be going through!

Lance, like many other police officials, has no shame when defending killer cops. He even dared pretend that Byrd presented a threat to bystanders.

If any bystanders were in danger, it was certainly from all the bullets fired by the cops, not from a five foot three inch nearly 300 pound, severely incapacitated woman.

The worst threat, of course, comes from police officials who justify police killings.