Stolen Lives

“For George Floyd: The Whole World was Watching”*

Shawn Mottram, killed dead on October 12, 1998 by

what Trooper Joseph Stone said was an accidental

shot when he slipped while climbing a chain

link fence with gun in hand. A kill shot.

Stone shoots so well by accident that he can split

a bullet in the air with a second bullet fired

from the same gun. A spokesman for the State

Police, Lieutenant Maloney, that sounds a lot

like baloney, said the shoot was unintended,

an “unintentional discharge”, not to give unwanted

life, but to take that life. Like, he didn’t mean to do it.

Now the officer, a stone of a man, is distraught

and needs counsel so he can go on.

Go on with his life, which he still has.

Fred Mottram, the father of he who was accidentally

direct-kill-shot-dead asks, “Why was the trooper’s gun

out?” Answer. Guns work better when

removed from holster. Shawn, unarmed, shot dead in the

heart through his back, had nothing to say.

The Mass Stated Police will investigate,

giving Officer Stone three days off, with pay.

Joseph Sanchez, 15, killed June 21, 1996 by police

from CRASH unit in Los Angeles. Shot in the back.

Hong Byong Chul, 40, killed May 10, 1996 by LAPD for making

noise, banging on signs, and yelling while

running in the street. After being beaten,

drop-kicked in the neck by police, he died of what a police spokes,

another Public Relations Lieutenant, said was natural causes.

Abner Louima, 30, not dead yet but not for lack

of police effort, had the wooden rod of a toilet

plunger rammed up his rectum by Brooklyn

Police. Everyone denied everything but the shit

was on the plunger.

Antonio “Tony” Gutierrez, 14, killed dead on

July 29, 1995 by one Officer Falvo, shot in

the back. The eternal-omni-present Police

Spokes said the boy pointed a gun

at the police and then threw it away when

the bullets were flying yet there were no finger

prints on the gun and, since he was shot in the back,

it was obvious he was pointing it

at them from over his shoulder, an old

party trick he had learned from hanging with

William Tell, Wild Bill Hickok, and William

Burroughs. Tony was buried, the investigation

was buried; Officer Falvo, after a thorough internal

investigation, was promoted.

Leon Fisher, 23, shot twice and pepper-sprayed

by police while hand-cuffed in Nashville, Tennessee

for running from a traffic stop, died

of his injuries while police stood by and chatted.

Leon, a Black man, spilled his hand-cuffed life

Into the street.

The Nashville mayor denied any racial component to the kill. No cops

were disciplined and the Police Spokes was seen smiling and nodding

as the video tapes were spinning.

There was a man in Baltimore

shot dead while standing still.

There was a man in Springfield, Mass kicked

in the head while cuffed.

There was a woman in Los Angeles shot

twice in the chest and seven times

in the back.  Some of the bullets

had mushroomed.

This means those bullets had been fired at her

while she was lying on her face.

There was a man, there was a woman,

there was a man, there was another man,

there was a woman, all dead, all Black, and the police

just walk away and the results of the investigations

are always the same.  Always the same.

Spoked Maloney, in Massachusetts, after

Officer Stone killed Shawn Mottram, said

there were other officers nearby.  He declined

to say what they saw.  There will be

an investigation and then, as usual,

the police will get away with murder.

*published in 2011 in Liberation Poetry, An Anthology edited by Tontongi and Jill Netchinsky—showing this has been going on a long long time.”

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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