June 28, 2018 is the second annual International Day of Solidarity with Eric King. June 28th, 2016 was the day that he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Now, two years later, he is able to share his story about the action that got him there.
We hope that you will join us in celebrating and showing solidarity for our friend by writing him, sending him books, spreading the word through banner drops or leafleting, or organizing a fundraiser or celebratory event. Thank you for your continued support!
Kansas City is such a beautiful place in the summer. So hot that you can feel your lungs melting with every breath, but dim enough where the stars still shine through the city lights. Walking to Congressman Cleaver’s office, that is what caught my attention: the stars, a full 12 of them, were keeping me company on my journey.
I must not have looked suspicious at all, walking down the street in a sweater, jeans, and a loaded backpack. Nothing to see here! Just another fellow having a late night jaunt through the city. I miss that backpack more than anything, it was a real loyal companion. As any street/traveling kid already knows, you never leave home without your backpack. Mine had my essentials in it: extra socks, two loaded bottles, assorted weapons, tooth paste, and one can of black beans. Only a fool leaves home without a can of black beans. This backpack had been my companion for over a decade, it was as important as anything I owned. It was also used as evidence against me in this and many-a-crime. Why could I never take you off backpack!
The Kansas City midtown area is a bit run down and beautiful. Murals and taggings on every building, some political, some gang affiliated, some just fish swimming out of rabbit brains… something for all taste. There are some lovely gardens, discarded homes, occasional busses missing wheels. I walked these streets every day and night, slept on them occasionally, sprinted down them from time to time. They offered me shelter and escape, comfort and solace… concrete as an accomplice.
There were no nerves headed to the office, not because of any bravery or extensive convictions, but because my dumb body just doesn’t produce adrenaline at the right moments. My shoes were tied tight because I knew there may be some running involved, and you never want to lose a shoe while being chased, or at any other time. It took me 24 minutes to get where I needed to be, a familiar walk that I had made daily in preparation. This was an area completely engulfed in predatory capitalism. Pay Day loans, check cashing, liquor stores, banks, every one of them deserved a bit of violence headed their way, and some actually got it. =) A whole street full of bullseyes.
The congressman’s office was decided on two weeks prior. A lawmaker sitting comfortably in my city while an uprising happens just hours away, no no no. There are many options when deciding in which way you want to fuck up a building. Some are very basic, like a brick, but I didn’t think that said enough. Spray painting was too simple and wouldn’t get the full message across in my mind. A Molotov was the choice because it painted the right picture, and because really who can afford to make pipe bombs. The thought of the National Guard in Ferguson, an occupied city, the smell of a city on fire, the fear of having armed soldiers ready to pop…I felt like our police-supporting law makers deserved to feel that as well.
Sitting across the street I waited patiently, listening to the sounds of the city. My eyes kept darting around, looking for any signs of life in the office or headed my way on the streets. After 30 odd minutes it was go time. I walked to the back of the office, unloaded my bottles, and made sure my face was properly covered. There were two options to aim for: a big ass front window where all the staff worked, or a little window on the side of the building, which seemed to be (and was) the congressman’s window. I chose the tiny window. A hammer was used to bust out the window. The biggest surprise of all of this was that I actually got that hammer through the window. No one has ever in my life accused me of being a good throw. My hand eye coordination is comparable to a drowning mole rat. When the window was busted the clock started, yet in my mind time kind of froze. My hand lifted the first bottle, the wind wanted in on the action and kept blowing out the lighter, the wind is always trying to get involved. Bottle one goes in the air annnndddd…smashes against the side of the window frame…fuck. Bottle two gets lit, gets thrown and…hits the underside of the window…the office isn’t up in flames. Of all things it was disappointing that the sun would rise on an intact building.
After the second bottle hit it was time to move. Everything became incredibly loud, my breathing, the sound of my feet scuttling down the hill and into the sub-street before making my final exit and vanishing into the night (headed back home).
In hindsight I made a serious handful of mistakes. I should have never used the hammer to break the window. I should have deleted my facebook or at least shut it down. There were successes as well, though. I was able to maintain my values which include not cooperating with the state even though it meant that my sentence was more severe, that’s a win. I was able to express my feelings and wage my own revolutionary battle, and that’s all that we can ever do. I took on a symbol of authority in complete solidarity with the people in Ferguson. Nothing changed after this, and nothing was expected to.
When I arrived in prison I had no support system. There was no money waiting for me, there weren’t people spreading word to help me or get information out. No one let the community know this was a Ferguson solidarity act. My complete narrative in that first month or so was dictated by the media, and I was painted as a mentally ill jackass, this wasn’t ok to me. I spent two years per-trial unable to give words or explanation. So this is my story, my narrative of the events that happened and why they happened, and what has happened since.
In closing, the building failed to ignite… not the Molotov cocktail 😉
They are still fighting in the streets, so we are still fighting in here.