PHILADELPHIA—By all accounts, 39-year-old Eric Crawley was a hard-working, dedicated family man. Relatives report that he was dedicated to his four children and fiancée. His sister was a victim of domestic violence. On June 17, during the course of an argument with her boyfriend, she had called on her brother for help. Within an hour after that call, Eric Crawley was dead after being shot by the Philadelphia police.
The police claimed that Crawley pulled his legally registered gun from his holster and aimed it at them. In addition to his job as a city bus driver, Mr. Crawley had a film company. He had a gun, relatives and friends said, because he often carried expensive cameras and related equipment.
Relatives dispute the police version. His mother, who was at the scene and in close proximity to her son, stated that “he never, never pulled his gun.” Other witnesses at the scene collaborated the mother’s version.
Furthermore, family members wanted to clarify what they say was a coerced statement from Crawley’s sister, Danielle. Danielle, they said, was intimidated and threatened into making a statement to the police indicating that Eric had pulled a gun. His family indicated that they plan a lawsuit against the city.
This is just one incident of the police violence that is all too common in the city of Philadelphia. Less than a week prior to Crawley’s death, on June 11, a protest was held at the prominent intersection of Broad & Olney in Philadelphia to protest the previous police murder of 22-year-old Eric Radcliff. He was shot and killed by the police on May 21.
Police murders of Black males have been a persistent issue around the country. That is why it is essential to support the upcoming Black is Back protest against the “Other Wars.” This demonstration is scheduled for Aug. 20 in Harlem and is endorsed by the United National Antiwar Committee (UNAC).
> The article above was written by Yusef Shahadi. It first appeared in the July 2011 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.