“The Revolutionary Column” is our monthly series by raptivist Bella BAHHS, where she spits revolutionary commentary on politics and pop culture.

In a counterrevolutionary column for the Chicago Tribune on April 6, columnist Eric Zorn advised that Chicagoans should “wait before turning slain 13-year-old Adam Toledo into a martyr” because “13-year-olds aren’t inherently angelic.” 

Zorn also asserted that it was too soon to rule out the possibility that the Chicago Police Department (CPD) shot Adam in justifiable self defense. Then, he wrote it was too soon to say whether or not a child deserved to be gunned down in an alley by a grown agent of the state. He did all of this eight days after a CPD officer Eric Stillman murdered Adam Toledo on March 29, and 17 days before the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) released the body camera footage. 

This is how I know that it’s much too late for police reform. It’s 2021 and there are millions of educated and empowered Americans who, like Zorn, deny or ignore the long racist history of policing in this country. They earnestly believe that it is too soon to do away with plantation justice.

Although 16 police officers recently participated in the elaborate cover-up of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s murder by saying the teen posed an immediate threat to responding officers, too many people were — yet again — too quick to believe the police and criminalize the child. They believed the police’s narrative that a juvenile offender was killed during an “armed confrontation” that left CPD officer Eric Stillman no choice but to use deadly force on Toledo. Mayor Lori Lightfoot passionately repeated that there was a gun in Toledo’s hand and instantly called for community — not police — accountability. 

Trying to wean the United States of America off its addiction to the punishment and enslavement of BIPOC peoples has actually been much too long a process. Policing as we know it today evolved from 19th century systems of slave patrol and social control of the working class and new immigrants. We should have abolished it a long time ago.

Yet here we are. After centuries of reforms, trainings and increased funding, the police are still murdering civilians with impunity — and millions of Americans are still okay with that. It’s like the Ku Klux Klan got a social promotion that came with new hoodless uniforms, badges, hand-me-down military weapons and qualified immunity. Chicago is already two years into its consent decree, which is a federal court order mandating broad police reforms that govern their training and policies to implement safe and constitutional policing practices. And even that has proven to be too little too late.

I don’t need to see Toledo’s murder video to know that he was taken too soon and that CPD be lying. I don’t need to see the video to know that Toledo would still be alive today had the city of Chicago invested more into resources that support and affirm the lives of Black and brown youth instead of resources that criminalize and surveil their existence within an inequitable cityscape.


I don’t need to see the video to know that there’s something fundamentally wrong with a justice system that responds to vulnerable Black and brown youth as threats that need to be neutralized. I really never need to see another police murder video to know that we do not need armed policemen to keep us safe — we need abolition.

But there’s always another police murder video. On Sunday April 11, Officer Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran of Minnesota’s Brooklyn Center Police Department, shot and killed a 20-year-old Black father, Daunte Wright, during a traffic stop. 

It happened just 10 miles north of Minneapolis, where former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin is currently on trial for the murder of George Floyd, which happened less than a year ago. Now THAT was too soon. 

And now, millions of Americans who share Zorn’s liberal view of police as inherently good and unbiased people with panic-inducing and life-threatening jobs are trying to convince us that Wright’s outstanding warrant for an illegal weapon possession and fleeing police — which he likely knew nothing about because the notice was mailed to the wrong address — and his attempt to resist arrest warranted Potter’s use of violence.

They want us to believe that there is nothing malicious about a duly trained agent of the state admittedly reaching for a taser, though “accidentally” grabbing a gun, in an attempt to cripple a young man who posed absolutely no threat to her or anyone else on the scene. But we know better.

Remember last month when a white 21-year-old by the name of Robert Aaron Long was pulled over and arrested without injury after fleeing the scenes in the Atlanta area where he murdered eight people? Or last summer when the 17-year-old white supremacist Kyle Rittenhouse walked right past police vans while carrying the rifle he had just killed two people and injured another with during a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Or when officers in Charleston, South Carolina bought Burger King for 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof after he shot and killed nine Black congregants at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during evening Bible study. We know that the racially disparate outcomes of policing are systemic.


We know that there are no uniforms — especially not ones fully equipped with Glocks and tasers — more panic-inducing and life-threatening than Black skin. We know that the weapon of choice doesn’t matter and neither does the presence or absence of malice.

Dominique “Damo” Franklin was 23 years old when he was tased and subsequently killed by a CPD officer he was running away from in 2014. His death prompted the creation of the We Charge Genocide initiative and delegation that sent eight youth from Chicago to Geneva, Switzerland that year to present evidence against the Chicago Police Department at the United Nations Committee Against Torture.

We know systemic genocide when we see it. We know that individual police officers or “bad cops” aren’t the problem, but a symptom of it. We know  Potter’s resignation and subsequent arrest on charges of second-degree manslaughter, like Derek Chauvin’s trial, are desperate attempts to maintain the police’s perceived legitimacy and restore the public’s dwindling respect for the failing institution. We know nothing will bring Toledo back, and enough is enough.

We know that abolition cannot come soon enough.

(Black Ancestors Here Healing Society) is a Chicago-based raptivist and revolutionary, nationally known for making sedition irresistible through her art, activism and advocacy.