JANUARY 7, 2020—Baltimore City is one of 7 cities, including Detroit, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Kansas City, Memphis and Milwaukee, selected for the Trump Administration’s “Operation Relentless Pursuit” which is intended to “surge” federal, state and local resources into cities where violent [horizontal] crime rates remain high.
“This newest version of the so-called war on crime must be seen for what it is – the latest incantation of the State’s relentless war on Baltimore’s Black working class and poor and should be categorically rejected by Baltimore’s public officials,” according to BAP organizer Vanessa Beck.
At the end of October, during the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, President Trump announced, “In coming weeks, Attorney General Barr will announce a new crackdown on violent crime—which I think is so important—targeting gangs and drug traffickers in high crime cities and dangerous rural areas.”
In Detroit, right before the holidays, Attorney General Barr was joined by leaders of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Marshals Service at a press conference to unveil what amounts to a new domestic military surge.
In an op-ed written in Detroit News, Barr says,
“Operation Relentless Pursuit will surge an unparalleled amount of federal backing to Detroit and the other most dangerous cities in the United States. It will build on the Justice Department’s successful Project Safe Neighborhoods, which encouraged community-based solutions to sew violent crime. It will also complement Project Guardian and DEEP (Disruption and Early Engagement Program), agency initiatives focused on reducing gun crime and preventing mass shootings.
With Operation Relentless Pursuit, local law enforcement will have access to state-of-the-art technology and our nation’s top federal agents, who will be tasked with investigating and taking down the most violent offenders and their criminal organizations. We’re matching our rhetoric with resources by committing significant manpower and up to $71 million in additional funding for our federal, state, and local partners.”
BAP-Baltimore demands that public officials reject this blood money.
BAP-Baltimore is clear when we say, “Police are used to enforce the status quo of white power and colonial control over the lives of Black, Brown, and other oppressed nations of people.” 4 of the 7 targeted cities have majority Black populations – Baltimore, 62.8%; Detroit, 79.12%; Cleveland, 50.41%; and Memphis, 63.9%. Increased militarization of police departments leads to increased numbers of civilians murdered by police, in addition to the everyday terror experienced by residents in occupied communities.
Baltimore, Detroit, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee all participate in the Department of Defense (DoD) 1033 Program. Through the 1033 Program, military equipment gets transferred to civilian law enforcement agencies. Related is the “Deadly Exchange” program, which is a massive exchange between the U.S. and Israeli police and Israeli military where hyper-militarized policing techniques and technology are shared.
The Black Alliance for Peace – Baltimore says No Compromise, No Retreat when calling for the demilitarization of local police departments. There should be no confidence in any imperialist parties or state institutions to address the horizontal violence plaguing our communities. The behavior of police departments in this state and across the U.S. shows us the role of the police is to protect private property, sectors of the middle-class community, and the ruling-class interests. Police are called to colonized communities of ALL oppressed folks to carry out the standard imperialist orders, with every intent to do more harm on behalf of the state than actually serving any positive purpose.
BAP-Baltimore intends to resist this latest assault on the human rights of the Black and Brown poor and working class.