On The Recent State Repression of Comrade Coyote Acabo
On July 17th a group of people inciting social rupture to bring attention to white supremacy and police violence disrupted Olympia's Lakefair by taking two mics from the stage. After the mics were taken and handed off, the rupture-seekers around the mics were immediately attacked by a large drunk white guy named Ted E Deskins. Ted then began to choke one of the mic-holders and a confrontation ensued. Later, after the group of rupture-seekers dispersed, an officer picked Coyote Acabo up for second degree assault, accusing him of pepper-spraying Ted. This same cop has previously harassed Coyote on many occasions and twice arrested him on charges related to anarchist graffiti and allegedly throwing a rock at a truck belonging to pro-police white supremacists. This same cop told the booking officer that he had arrested Coyote twice already and that this second degree assault charge “...should do it.” The Olympia police do not want Coyote agitating on the streets, they want him in prison. The police even went so far as to put Coyote in a jail dorm with a boastful Neo-Nazi in an attempt to set him up.
On a more macro scale, events like these are not uncommon in the United States. For centuries there has been a precedent wherein vigilantes, police, and others enforcing the ruling order get away with attacks on individuals who are seen as subservient or subversive, such as people who aren't or don't pass as men, people who aren't or don't pass as white, as well as rebellious people. This standard rarely swings the other way, meaning these subjugated populations are rarely seen as legally defending themselves. There are countless cases of people of color and especially radical people of color being charged with crimes they didn't commit. Today we see this in the case of George Zimmerman contrasted with the case of Marissa Alexander; George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin who was just walking to the store and got away with it, but Marissa Alexander, a black woman couldn't be defended by the same law for just firing a warning shot to defend herself from her abuser. Historically this often racist double standard has engendered countless examples, especially in the case of police getting away with murder. These examples go back to the Bloody Christmas massacre, to the founding of the police in this country, and even before that with the police's institutional ancestors such as the slave patrols and the strike breakers. This is not surprising considering the police exist to serve themselves and the ruling order, and this ruling order is a capitalist and racist one which values property, profits, and dissent-crushing more than the lives of people of color and rebels.
Let's bring this full circle: one of the catalysts for the Lakefair disruption was the attempted police murder of Andre and Bryson Chaplin. On May 21, 2015 white Police Officer Ryan Donald shot the two black men in the back on the westside of Olympia. Previously Officer Donald enforced American imperialism as an army specialist in Iraq and Kosovo. Ryan Donald has a history of violent behavior even above the typical cop. In 2013, one cop Sgt. Allen has claimed Donald, “...acted alone in situations where common sense and sound Police tactics call for more than one Officer.” This means Donald was actively seeking situations where he could escalate the “justified” level of violence he could use. Again we insist that this level of manipulation and brutality is not uncommon for the police. The shooting of Andre and Bryson has been declared justified by a justice system that invariably swings in favor of the ruling order. Additionally the police might bring criminal charges against Andre and Bryson.
Chief Ronnie Roberts, who got his big break repressing environmentalists and anarchists in Eugene Oregon before becoming the Chief of Police in Olympia, said openly that, “...all lives matter...” in response to people saying, “Black lives matter!” in an attempt to dismiss the racist undertones of his profession. Saying "all lives matter" when someone is trying to remind you that "black lives matter" in a society with notoriously anti-black currents is like an altercation wherein a person being beaten for no good reason says, "I don't deserve to be beaten!" and the person beating them responds, "No one should be beaten."
In his past Coyote Acabo faced similar kinds of institutional oppression, including racism, police brutality, and extreme conditions of confinement. In 1997 at the age of 19, Coyote went to prison for sixteen years for defending himself against an attack by five rival gang members. During his time in prison he came to realize the importance of solidarity in the struggle against domination of all kinds. In prison he founded the first prison chapter of Anarchist Black Cross(an ethical anti-authoritarian prisoner support group) in his area. Released in November 2013, Coyote has deeply struggled to adjust to life on the outs. Since his release he has been called out for intimate partner violence, sexual violence, manipulative/coercive behavior, macho/patriarchal behavior, and boundary crossing. Through a sequence of community accountability processes, Coyote has done significant work addressing issues related to communication, consent, boundaries, and his complicity within rape culture. The process of addressing his behavior is not over. That said, Coyote going back to prison will certainly not help in this regard. This is mentioned because the author(s) of this text do not mean to paint Coyote in a romanticized light, and aim to be real about the inherent difficulties of addressing in-community violence within anarchist cultures.
In July of 2015 Coyote became parent to a newborn child. Coyote’s possible incarceration would greatly and negatively affect his co-parent and his child. Besides his co-parent, it would be hard to find someone who holds more love and gratitude for his child than Coyote. His presence in this young person’s life is irreplaceable, and the trauma that his imprisonment would cause his child is immeasurable.
While there is a larger discussion to be had regarding the risk of imprisonment when engaging in meaningful action it will suffice to say that going to prison when it can be avoided is not desirable especially for a trumped up charge like the one Coyote faces. Though it is true that these state forces are violating Coyote's rights, it is not enough to say that we just want them to respect his rights, nor do we think that is the appropriate framework for arguing our cause. We want these forces of domination and oppression to stop existing. We are their enemy. They want to subjugate us. Some of us refuse to submit passively and this is one of the reasons they treat us with such contempt. Let's overcome this. Let's not break even, let's break free.
Solidarity, some comrades
PS other folks have set up a Support Fund for Coyote at the following address: https://www.crowdrise.com/CoyoteAcaboSupportFund . Please show your support for comrade Coyote.