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

Cops Gun Down Homeless Man

Apr 18, 2005

Just after midnight on April 14, a Michigan state trooper shot and killed an unarmed homeless man, Eric Williams, on the street in downtown Detroit.

As usual, the state police claim that the 40-year-old Williams "lunged" at the officer, threatening him. But there’s a small fly in the ointment this time–Detroit city police were also there and say they have an in-car video. The Detroit police report states that Williams was walking slowly toward the state police car when the cop got out of the car, unholstered his gun and shot Williams down.

Now that the two different accounts are in the press, it remains to be seen how the two police agencies will decide to play this out in public. But what is absolutely clear is that cops are put on the street with a license to kill. Here’s a state trooper safely in his car, with other police cars around. He has no reason to get out, let alone shoot. There is nothing going on that two or three cops could not have restrained, if necessary, without weapons. Especially since Williams was nearly blind! And no one even pretended he was armed. But to the state trooper, what difference was this man’s life? The first response–not the last resort, but the first response –was shoot to kill. No different than if Williams had been a dog on the street.

Shoot first and cover up later. That’s the way citizens are "protected" by this society’s police.