“Ima be fresh as hell if the feds watchin’”
Many people across the country are upset over the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin. And rightly so. The trial was a miscarriage of so called justice if I’ve ever seen one. However, the fact that we can’t sleep on. is that for the past two weeks the whole ‘hood has been on trial.
From the day that the George Zimmerman trial began, most of the focus of the media was not on the death of an innocent 17 year old Black kid, but on how Black folks in Sanford, Florida and ‘hoods across America were gonna react if Zimmerman was found not guilty.
While people in this country claimed to be on a nightly “verdict watch,” in reality, they were on a 24/7 “riot watch.” What is interesting is that the tactics the Feds used to monitor black rage in Sanford were the same ones that they have, historically, used over and over again when they think that there is the possibility of “urban unrest.” The preemptive strike against the hood has gone on for decades.
One of the strategies that they used in preparation for the Zimmerman verdict was to call together “local leaders” (preachers/community organizers) in order to get their followers to remain calm after the verdict was announced. They have used this tactic before. During the pre-LA Rebellion in 1992, the Po Po instituted a program called “Operation Cool Response” where they reached out to the same group of folks to keep the streets from gettin’ rowdy. So, since one of the current catch phrases in Hip Hop is “turnt up” maybe they call this ”Operation Turnt Down?”
Also, according to media sources such as USA Today, the Sanford Police Department set up snitching operations called “rumor control hot lines” to keep tabs on the streets. So, if you heard your next door neighbor blastin’ F*** the Police by NWA verdict night, it was your civic duty as a law abiding citizen to call the snitch hot line and drop a dime. This tactic has also been used before.. According to Dr. Patricia Turner in her book. “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” rumor control networks go as far back as World War II as “an effort to prevent potentially adverse hearsay of all sorts from gaining credibility.”
The media has, also, long played a role in snitching on the hood. I’m sure that many freedom fighters during the Black Power Movement were confused as to how statements they made to a mild mannered news person wound up in their court case file. According to Samuel Yette in his classic work, “The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America” , in 1969, the Justice Department subpoenaed the “unpublished notes of reporters from Newsweek, the New York Times, CBS and Time Life” who had interviewed members of the Black Panther Party.
I also found it strange that the pre -verdict police predictions of no violent protests in major cities across America was followed by a post verdict CNN map pinpointing protests across the country that they claimed to be nonviolent. So the question becomes, how did they know? There had to be some level of surveillance both pre and post Zimmerman verdict.
What is most ironic is that barely a month ago, white America was all up in arms by the “Prism” revelation by Edward Snowden that accused the government of using social media and cell phone data to spy on American citizens. If there
had been an announcement that a Tea Party or a National Rifle Association protest had been monitored because of unsubstantiated threats of violence, you can best believe that there would have been hell to pay. But since many people in power think that Black people are only interested in rap music and reality shows, there was no such outcry.
African Americans did not really need an Edward Snowden to tell us that we’re being watched, as researchers such as the late Steve Cokely ,warned us about the intelligence community 20 years ago. We have a long history of being under the microscope via the military or the Feds that goes back to the Marcus Garvey Era of the early 20th century.
And more information is being revealed everyday.
One of the most interesting things that came out of the trial coverage was Fox News’ revelation that the US Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, took an active role in the Trayvon Martin rallies, last year. The agency was set up in 1964 and, supposedly, serves as a “peacemaker for community conflicts over race.” But the same question must be posed that was asked of FBI agents during the Civil Rights Movement, “are you protecting us or are you watching us?”
Although the powers that be would like to downplay the outrage in the hood over the Zimmerman acquittal it must be noted that they invested a lot of time. money and resources to keep the hood in check.
The tactics that were used against the Black community during the recent Zimmerman trial seem to have been taken right out of the Richard Nixon playbook on “Law and Order” and anyone one who cannot see that is either blind or stupid.
Like Dead Prez once said: Can You relate/We’re livin’ in a police state.
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (919) 308-4233. Follow on Twitter @truthminista