Ben Crump paints a chilling picture in his new book of how black and brown people in this country are often killed by police officers and private citizens, who then get away with murder.
And while the sheer number of people who have been killed is shocking and overwhelming, Crump, the Florida lawyer known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Botham Jean, among others, said his book, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, is more than a tabulation of victims’ cases.
Rather, he said, it is a call to acknowledge “how this legalized genocide is possible through a conspiracy of laws, policing, and the governance of the institutions that exist in America.”
“Remember, no moral society will accept horrific killings of innocent people unless it is somehow justified as rational,” he writes in the book, where he makes a case to charge genocide just as activists did in a 1951 petition to the United Nations.
“This is why the powers that be constantly portray minorities as uncivilized, dangerous savages who are not deserving of the equal respect and consideration that law enforcement officers must extend to white citizens.”
The Inquirer spoke to Crump in advance of his appearance Monday at an event sponsored by WHYY and the Literary Cafe to launch his book.
There’s a quote I use when I give speeches: “Democracy is like two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch, and you don’t have to be a genius to know who is going to win. But liberty is making sure the lamb is well-armed to protest that vote.” With Open Season, we are trying to make sure the young lambs from communities of color are well-armed to protest the school-to-prison pipeline, racist Jim Crow laws like Stand Your Ground, to protest voter suppression, to protest environmental racism, that would have children living in South Central Los Angeles having only one-third of lung capacity of children from Santa Monica. We want them well-armed to protest people of color and women of color not only having to worry about losing their constitutional rights, but also having to lose their reproductive rights. As late as 2014, in California, they were having forced sterilizations of black and Hispanic women that were in prison.