|Follow @Tampa4Justice on Twitter|
Yesterday was quite the day at city hall. Below is what I shared during my public comment during the council meeting. I was just one of many citizens who turned out to demand accountability. I was so proud of everybody who came out to represent their communities. Of all who spoke, not one spoke against a review board (duh) nor in defense of Buckhorns mockery review board.
Accountability in this City is a much deeper question than a few bad apples. The problem in this city has to do with power, It's been Tampa's struggle since it's inception. People, with concentrated wealth, which...equals concentrated power, who can basically buy results and who are using physical force and violence to subdue the poor.
It's a question of power;
The police are the fruit at the end of a long chain of command.
- who has it?
- who made it that way?
- and who is it we see doing anything necessary to keep it that way?
The mayor is just as much in need of accountability as are his local troops policing our neighborhoods. You see what the mayor just did, with his preemptive executive decision, demonstrates the very unilateral abusive power tactics that characterize the values that manifest themselves in abusive policing in our neighborhoods.
In fact just yesterday more 10 squad cars decended on Homeless helping Homeless to raid the place and execute a search warrant. They were looking for tax records. I'm not even that interested in the question of guilt or innocence as much as the unnecessary and overwhelming demonstration of force and the intimidation tactics used at the place run by a guy who just sued the city, forcing your hand to repeal your panhandling legislation rather than try to defend it as constitutional.
Our police need acountability, yes, but that accountability needs to be independant and have the authority to follow leads right up that chain of command.
We need to take decisive legislative action so that the few, with concentrated wealth and power in Tampa do not further enshrine their privilige in policy.
In a democracy power is supposed to be in the hands of the people. But when the people of Tampa organized to demand accountability for forces that seem to only act on behalf of the wealthy and terrorize poor communities, what did we see? Mister big shot privilege and power himself making executive decisions that mock the demands of the people AND that were meant to put you, our city council in your place.
Is this the way we are going to let power work in our city?
Power must be guided by conscience
We cannot abide a strong mayor with weak character.
So we're here today putting the whole of city gov't on Notice. The people of Tampa are uniting to take power back from those who are abusing it and to demand justice. Holding police accountable is just the beginning.
Attorneys are in here debating the charter about who has what power.... So go ahead and argue, meanwhile we will organize and remind you who it is that really holds power in a democracy.
The people of Tampa...demanding justice.
Also here are two related blogs that I posted over the last few weeks in case you want to follow along
- First are my comments from the last council meeting discussing the revew board
- The second is me having a bit of fun retelling events in mythological language. I enjoyed doing that and really hope you enjoy reading it too. (this post also has many links embedded in it to related news if you are trying to catch up on things)
Finally, here are links to news stories that came out yesterday about the council meeting: