On Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 3:04 am, a metropolitan police officer from the Seventh District shot and killed 34 yr old Cleman Richard Swepston Jr. on the 2500 block of Sheridan Road and Stanton Rd., in S.E. Washington, D.C. The details of the interaction between the police officer and Swepston have been disputed. The Police Department has stated that Swepston was intoxicated and brandished a weapon and fired at the officer. “According to his family, Swepston was sitting on the stoop of his mother’s apartment building when police came and told him to move along. The family says he got on his bike to leave, and the next thing they heard were gunshots. His mother says police may have mistaken a small radio she gave him for a gun.” The mother has also stated that Swepston had no prior criminal record and did not own a gun.
According to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s “Operation Ghetto Storm” report released just last week, every 28 hours someone of African descent is murdered by the State or private security following State protocols, in an extrajudicial execution, and it does not matter if they have a weapon or not. With police containment on every corner in the African community in S.E. D.C., continued harassment, profiling, and raids have become the regular routine of State sponsored terrorism. We know that these are the tactics of colonialism and imperialism no different than what is used on Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians and all oppressed people around the world. While the D.C. government has waged war on working class and poor people in regards to housing, schools and cutting other needed services, they have not cut the amount of police in the African community, and it is in fact increasing. These are not policies unique only to D.C. however, so there is little surprise that if you added up the global prison population, 1 out of every 8 prisoners would be a Black male in the United States!