Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cops gun down unarmed student in Wilmington, N.C.

Published Jan 2, 2007

Peyton Strickland, 18, a student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, was shot and killed Dec. 1 by a special-unit police team at a house Strickland shared with three roommates.

Armed to the teeth while smashing the door in with a battering ram, the police raided Strickland’s home with a warrant allegedly searching for two PlayStation 3 systems they claimed he had stolen.

The cops apparently were armed and trigger-happy because they had seen on-line photographs of Strickland in which he carried weapons. When they assaulted his home and killed him, Strickland was unarmed. Not even waiting for him to open the door, the police fired several rounds through the door, killing Strickland and his dog, Blaze. The cops immediately arrested Ryan David Mills, 20, Strickland’s roommate and fellow student.

This occurred amidst a brazen rash of racist police brutality and murders all across the country, including, but not limited to the murder of two African-American victims, 23-year-old Sean Bell in New York City and 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta.

Investigations still linger these cases where the victims were African American, and to date no cop has been fired or convicted of murder. In fact, officers are not working, yet still being paid.

In the North Carolina case, where the victim was white, Cpl. Christopher Long was fired and on Dec. 11 charged with second-degree murder. Nevertheless, as is typical in response to state sanctioned violence, the officers were first served a mere slap on the wrist. The three New Hanover County deputy sheriffs have been on paid leave since the shooting Dec. 1, according to county Sheriff Sid Causey. It is routine to put officers on leave if they fire their weapons.

Then, on Dec. 12, officials rescinded the murder charge, after a grand jury foreman said he had checked the wrong box on the indictment form.

The events reinforce the outlook of working-class organizers in North Carolina that no justice will be served until working-class community forces can unite and force it onto the system.

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