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

Who Could Make a “Mistake” Like This?

Jun 30, 2008

Two Grand Rapids Michigan policemen on a domestic violence call ran out into an alley looking for a man who had fled the house. Catching up to someone, they held their guns point blank on the kid and slammed him face down on the ground, jerking his arms behind his back.

It was the wrong person. The cops were looking for a 42-year-old man. The person the cops had on the ground was an 8-year-old child named Ivan Hawkins, who had been playing with a friend in his backyard.

After Ivan’s mother, Aina Clark, filed a formal complaint with Internal Affairs, the Grand Rapids police department tried to excuse the attack as a simple case of mistaken identity.

Mistaken identity? What lies! No, the only thing the 8-year-old child and the 42-year-old man have in common is the color of their skin: they are both black.

That’s not a “mistake”–it is the most profound racism, which clearly is alive and well in the Grand Rapids police department.