By: Nat Turner
A resident sent us this video of an incident of police overkill at the Oak Park Apartments in Spanish Lake, Missouri, earlier this evening around 8:00 PM. According to witnesses, a Saint Louis County police officer pulled up to two black men sitting outside of their apartment. One of these men allegedly had a visible, legal firearm. Missouri is a permitless, open carry state, meaning that any individual is free to carry a firearm whether it be a pistol or rifle, excepting in schools, hospitals, etc. This apparently meant nothing to the police, who immediately seized the man's gun, tazed him, and arrested both of the men. Nearly two dozen police vehicles responded to this incident despite no laws being broken and the only injury being caused by the police, who tazed an innocent person sitting in an area where they had every right to be, breaking no laws.
The egregious police response is a testament to the overpolicing of the New Afrikan community. After the Ferguson Uprising of August-December 2014, the local occupation AKA police force responded with a brute force saturation policy. Oak Park has been targeted as a site of development and struggle by local militants for the past year, particularly with regards to anti-police and tenants' organization efforts. This is a very large complex, almost its own city, with over 700 units. The class and national composition is predominately New Afrikan and proletarian/semi-proletarian. Contacts who live and organize in the complex list the presence of a police substation as a primary contradiction – they don't want it there and instead want value for their rent paid, not an unusable pool and clogs/leaks. Oak Park is owned by Monarch Properties, which owns several other properties in the Saint Louis area and in the Midwest as a whole. Attempts to organize tenants through canvassing and flyering have resulted in a more responsive management – leaks are reported to have started being fixed shortly after organizers began canvassing the complex and making their presence known. However, the police are still out and about and tormenting individuals enjoying their lives. This is the same complex where Armond Lamont Beckwith-Bell was murdered by police last October and FTP-STL (For the People - STL) militants responded with propaganda, revolutionary education, and the development of Copwatch efforts targeting the overpolicing of this particular complex. In essence, this is a heavy site of struggle and a nascent base area – bases are built in the heat of class struggle and there's plenty of it in Spanish Lake.
It's important to remember that the police in relation to the New Afrikan population are an occupying power. This was concretely pointed out and struggled against by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The armed force of the police is really a paper tiger that is on fire. To stomp it out requires disciplined and correctly guided and educated armed force in the form of Revolutionary Fighting Organizations, mass organizations like Revolutionary Copwatches, and the mobilization of the broadest masses of all stripes with a vested material interest in overthrowing this currently existing order of things and advancing towards a world where these types of acts against unarmed New Afrikan people exercising what are supposed to be their constitutional rights are fading memories.