I’d first like to start this off by appreciating those who, in light of this tragedy, support those who have been murdered.
My name is Eritha ‘Akile’ Cainion, candidate for District 6 City Council, and yes you read correctly, what happened to Dejarae Thomas, Jimmy Goshey, and Keontae Brown on the early morning of August 6th in Palm Harbor was MURDER on behalf of the notorious killer Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department.
And I don’t need white corporate media such as the Tampa Bay Times to validate that for me.
I know it was murder.
I knew it when I first heard the reports before they had even released the boys’ information, when the famous Gualtieri slander machine was already in motion.
The sheriff’s department along with the vicious, slanderous, despicable, offensive, oppressive, violence inciting white media was releasing criminal records before we even had names for the victims.
Bob Gualtieri held a press conference criminalizing these children based on NO evidence! “They were most likely responsible for this thing, that thing, and the other” without an ounce of proof.
Why would the sheriff’s department and the media immediately begin to pump out this type of information that serves to dehumanize and devalue the lives of three black teenage boys?
It’s to cover up a crime committed on behalf of the Sheriff’s department.
It’s to garner the support of a narrative that would serve to victimize criminals and criminalize the victims.
The victims, in this case, being Dejarae, Jimmy and Keontae. The victims being the other three boys that were also attacked on the morning of Aug. 6.
I know it was murder because just last year, March 31, 2016, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputies murdered by drowning three teenage black girls, Dominique Battle, Laniya Miller, and Ashaunti Butler.
I am the International Chair of the Justice for the Three Drowned Black Girls, and this has been my work since before entering this election.
And it was while chairing this campaign that I saw the same response from the Sheriff’s department and the media.
I saw the slander of the girls, their parents, and the black community at large.
I saw the same “stolen car” line to justify the deaths of black teenagers.
There were lies upon lies spewed from Killer Bob Gualtieri, even then saying his deputies hadn’t chased the girls (despite a cruiser being recorded at 93 miles per hour), and that his deputies did everything they could to save the girls (except leaked footage revealing no urgency and no rescuing on behalf of the 17 trained first responding deputies on the scene, just cynical conversation as the girls could be heard screaming for their lives.)
I say it’s murder because of this social system, a country with a state apparatus built upon the enslavement of African people and the genocide of the indigenous people.
The state in the form of the police formed to maintain the system, the status quo of the oppression and murders of the black community, formed to protect the white community from the poor and colonized black community.
It’s a system that myself for District 6, and Jesse Nevel are going up against, along with the tired people of this city, because until a revolution happens, there will continue to be countless murders of black children at the hands of the police.
Without reparations to the black community, my community will continue to suffer the worst forms of oppression, from police murder to gentrification, to poverty, to homelessness.
People keep asking is St. Petersburg, a majority white city, really ready for reparations to the black community? Is this city really ready for revolution?
Not only are we ready, but we have no choice but to be.
Should we be forced to be ready for Rick ‘Box-Cutter’ Baker or Rick “Sewage Dumper” Kriseman? Should we be forced to prepare ourselves for more of the pessimistic policies of police containment of the black community, which leads to the murders of 14 and 16-year-old black children?
We the people have to support reparations to the black community, we have to support black community control of the police, which includes the expulsion of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department out of St. Petersburg.
Because this is their legacy.
We have to support the indictment of Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, a much-hated supervisor of serial killers and all those deputies involved in this murder of the three black boys as well as those who drowned Dominique, Laniya, and Ashaunti.
And we have to totally be AGAINST a black mother having to bury her child! As something my fierce comrade and mother of Dominique Battle, Kunde Mwamvita, had to do last year.
I am outraged.
At this murder. At the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department. At the media. At this system.
I am completely at my limit of the slander against my community, against my people, who have had to bear the brunt of these murderous policies of this city government to ensure prosperous lives for the white community.
I am sickened that one year later, Bob Gualtieri can murder three more black teenagers and then paint the picture for the world to see them as less than human and deserving death because of an alleged stolen car.
That, even if it had been stolen, does not justify murder. Does not justify illegally chasing them and leading them to their deaths.
There is no car more valuable than someone’s life yet there is always this notion that property is supposed to be more valued than a black child. To assist in permeating that ideology is the Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and other white media.
This type of murder, this type of slander would not be possible if these children had been white.
And it’s never stolen if white people are the ones stealing.
News flash white people, you’re on stolen land, living off of stolen resources, based on stolen labor and stolen lives. And if you’re a white teen stealing a car, then you’re joyriding.
Where is the Times to indict the white community and to indict itself in the full participation of oppressing the black community?
What happened in Palm Harbor happens in St. Petersburg. It happens in St. Louis. It happens in New York City. It happens in Baltimore. It happens in Cleveland. It happens in Detroit. It happens all across this country and across the globe and the ruling class state always paints itself as the victim.
It always justifies itself and goes along killing black people with impunity.
This is why what we do in the city of St. Pete is so important. People are watching this city because these campaigns are providing hope to those who have experienced this sort of violence imposed on their community every day by this system.
The sort of violence carried out under Kriseman, Baker and current District 6 City Councilman Karl Nurse.
The sort of violence carried out with complicity from my opponents in the District 6 race who have condemned the black community, have criminalized black youth, rather than stand up against this system, including Maria Scruggs who is the state, who attacked Kunde once before.
Each of my opponents has praised and promised to continue the legacy of Karl Nurse and have never come out against the sheriff’s department that continues to murder black children. They have only criticized the black community and have blamed us for our deaths.
The line has been drawn. And it’s drawn in the blood of Dominique, Laniya, Ashaunti, Dejarae, Jimmy, and Keontae.
We, the campaigns to elect myself for District 6 City Council and Jesse Nevel for Mayor of St. Petersburg, as well as the people of this movement, completely denounce the murders of Dejarae Thomas, Jimmy Goshey, and Keontae Brown by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department, and are calling on all those who don’t allow this system and its media to speak for you, who stand in solidarity with reparations and against police containment, to vote on Aug. 29 for a future for black children, the black community, and the people of this city.
We have to be outraged by this. We have to be completely intolerant of this.
We have to demand reparations, black community control of the police, and not one more black life stolen by the state in the form of the police and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department.
Eritha ‘Akile’ Cainion