Hunted in Hunter's Point


root - Posted on 13 May 2002

Community forum to get JUSTICE FOR THE Children of HUNTERS POINT

by Connie Lu/media intern PoorNewsNetwork

The memory of Idriss Stelley continues to fuel the
sheer and ever powerful driving force behind the
pursuit of justice that united the many passionate
supporters who gathered at the Justice for Idriss'
Community Forum, which served as both an update to the
shooting of Stelley and as a meeting for a violent act
of police brutality around Hunter's Point.

Mesha Monge-Irizarry, Stelley's mother, has been
fighting this long battle since June 13, 2001 when her
son was shot over 20 times at the Sony Metreon by
eight San Francisco police officers, who were fully
aware of his personality disorder, but obviously not
trained to handle situations such as this. Irizarry
has been ignored and lied to by the SFPD, but has
recently broken through to the SF Board of
Supervisors, who voted in favor that all SFPD Officers
undergo a crisis intervention training program.
However, this is only the beginning for Stelley's
mother, who continues to seek justice and at the same
time, support those who have suffered through the
similar pain of police brutality.

As Irizarry finishes with updating the current
situation regarding her son, she introduces the
mothers from a closely knit neighborhood around
Hunter's Point, where police brutality has also become
a threat to the lives of the many children who no
longer feel safe to play outside. The innocence of
their childhood will never be the same as it is taken
away by the very ones who are supposed to protect and
preserve their safety.

Susan McAllister, who lives
in Hunter's Point with her 13-year-old daughter began
sharing about this traumatic incident as tears formed
in her eyes and in her broken heart. Her voice was
shaky and apparently very upset as she spoke to the
audience that sat surrounding her in a crowded, elbow
to elbow semi-circle. The walls were made of red
bricks with layers of mortar oozing out from between
the bricks. There were also a few windows in the
front of the room, which brought on sudden relief to
the extreme sauna of body heat and sweat, as people
fanned themselves in a desperate, yet futile attempt
to somehow coax the cool air outside to come in.

But soon, the heat was forgotten as my attention
was drawn to listening intently to McAllister's
emotional account of an unforgettable Martin Luther
King Day. The police were yelling and holding a
threatening gun to the head of McAlllister's daughter,
who was absolutely terrified along with the other
three children involved, ages 12 to 14 years old. The
oldest boy, Jerome Brown suffered the most severe
injuries of a concussion, dislocated jaw, and bruises.

The police finally answered the parents after
ignoring their several attempts to find out why their
children were being treated like criminals when they
had done nothing wrong. The police say that they
received a call regarding suspicious men in a red car.
But, there was nothing found on the innocent children
or in the car they were in.

After this traumatizing experience, the children's
perception of the police will be completely skewed and
corrupted. They continue to struggle with even being
able to sleep with ease at night. I did not
personally experience the terror these children had to
endure, but at the same time I have realized that a
uniform does not necessarily symbolize trust and the
absence of feeling vulnerable.

At the end of the forum, I truly felt a sense of
unity after listening to the many personal experiences
that were shared. By holding hands in concentric
circles within the room, I realized the power of unity
to achieve a common goal, as each person around the
circle said just one word of encouragement such as:
love, peace, unity, Jesus, courage, hope, justice,
power, prayer, determination

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