From Feguson in New York, from Winsconsin to North Carolina the ghost of racism looms large again shaking the USA. Five Afro-Americans shot dead by policemen from the east to the west coast branded with the squalid equation negro=criminal too often abused by the US police-force. Let’s be clear: the social condition of the coloured community in the US, if it had not been the cinema, we already knew about it, it would be sufficient to read data on capital punishment, according to which at least 40% of the convicts sentenced to death are Afro-Americans. But news-reports in the last months have incessantly spoken about them, slamming the reality under everyone’s nose even International public opinion showing that there is a latent sore point which has been kept dormant with fatigue by America-
TIt all started from Ferguson-Missouri, in the heart of the Usa. We are thousands of kilometres away from the southern states where racism is culturally widespread among the white population. On 9th August 2014 an agent of the local police riddles with gunshots Micheal Brown, an 18 year old coloured who was disarmed, unfairly because suspected of having burgled a few moments earlier. But Darren Wilson’s version, the assassin, does not coincide with that of the witnesses, according to whom the initial approach had nothing to do with the burglary at all. Not only, but the shop-owner who had been burgled, who was enquired by the authorities shortly after, explained that Micheal had entered only to but some cigars. The news of the killing of the youth went around the world, the citizens of Ferguson openly protested demanding justice, and were repeatedly supported by Barack Obama’s interventions through social-media.
Ten days after the second episode, always in Missouri. During a protest for the Brown case, a 23 year old armed with a knife, Kajieme Powell, was cold-bloodedly shot by agents of St. Louis. A witness filmed the scene, where it is possible to see the Afro-American approach the policemen despite been given the halt, the killing followed with 12 gunshots. Tension is high: in St. Ann, a policeman is sospended from service fora n indefinite period of time after having pointed his semi-automatic gun against the protesters threatening to kill them.
Three months pass and the scene repeats itself, this time it’s in New York, the metropolis of integration par excellence. Two recruits on patrol in the dark stairs of a building. Found themselves unexpectedly in front of a couple of blacks. A shot went off that hit the 28 year old Aka Gurley in the breast, the ambulance arrived but it was too late: the man died instantly “It was dark the colleague heard a noise and got nervous” said the police-agent to the New York Daily News. “What happened was a tragedy- he explained at a press-conference the head of the police-force William Bratton -. It seems the shooting was accidental.
The year 2015 opens with another victim. On 7th March in Wisconsin, the 50th anniversary of the Selma March is being celebrated, a grand event auspiced by Martin Luther King on the rights of the black people which passed into history with the name of the US “Bloody Sunday”. The highest personalities take part in the event, amongst whom the smae Obama. Ironically, a few kilometres far off from the historical city, in Madison, the police-headqurters received a telephone call. A person was reported seen jumping amidst the traffic putting the drivers at risk. Agents arrived at the site and shot dead Tony Robinson, aged 18. The youth was to die shortly after, chaos exploded: the police were accused of havig opened fire against an disarmed teenager. “What happened to Ferguson is not to be taken as a complete aberration, an isloated case –comments the US president with a frown –this is something that carries on happening”.
The last homicide dates back to April 4th, but the report was transmitted only in the last few hours. It is a purely heinous act, filmed on a video. In South Carolina, a policeman fires a disarmed black man who was fleeing, eight shots on his back. The policeman, arrested and convicted, trie sto defnd himself saying he had feared for his life when he had seen the man, a 50 year old, who had grabbed his pistol a Taser, during a street patrol. But the video nails him down. And America seems to be slipping back into the dark years of its past.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati