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Cop Killer


Russell Mokhiber 

and Robert WeissmanCop

killer.

No,

we are not talking about Mumia Abu-Jamal. After a trial that the National

Journal’s Stuart Taylor called "grotesquely unfair" and that included

"fabricated evidence," Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing a

Philadelphia police officer. He now sits on death row.

We

are talking about alleged cop killer Stuart Charles Alexander. If convicted,

will Alexander end up on death row? Not likely.

That’s

because Abu-Jamal is black, while Alexander is white. Abu-Jamal is a journalist,

Alexander is a businessman.

Last

week, Alexander, who owns a sausage factory in San Leandro, California,

allegedly shot and killed two federal meat inspectors and one state meat

inspector who were visiting his factory.

According

to news reports, after killing the three inspectors, Alexander chased a fourth

inspector for a couple of blocks down the street, took one shot and missed. He

then returned to his sausage factory, walked inside, fired some more shots, went

outside and surrendered to police without resistance.

A

videotape from a security camera inside Alexander’s Santos Linguisa sausage

factory "clearly depicts" Alexander killing the three meat inspectors,

San Leandro police told reporters last week.

Alexander

and one of the inspectors each placed a call for help to local police minutes

before the shootings. State officials charged Alexander with three counts of

murder.

Federal

officials charged Alexander with two counts of murder — two of the federal

inspectors worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According

to news accounts, meat inspectors closed the facility in January for not

properly heating sausage that was labeled as fully cooked and for not using

expiration dates on meat. The inspectors shut down the facility in January after

Alexander refused to comply with the law.

The

plant was reopened earlier this month.

A

sign outside Alexander’s sausage factory read: "To all of our great

customers, the USDA is coming into our plant harassing my employees and me,

making it impossible to make our great product. Gee, if all meat plants could be

in business for 79 years without one complaint, the meat inspectors would not

have jobs. Therefore we are taking legal action against them."

Nowhere

in any of the more than 60 articles that have appeared about Alexander’s

killings have the words "cop killer" appeared. Yet, when referring to

Abu-Jamal, news reporters feel obliged to refer to him as "cop killer"

as if it were his newly adopted name, as when the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier

this year headlined an article: "Antioch College Invites Cop-Killer as

Commencement Speaker."

Every

day in this country, meat inspectors and other law enforcement officials are

cracking down on corporate crime and violence. And every day, they meet

resistance, harassment and threats from corporate executives indoctrinated in a

radical, reckless, and lawless political ideology.

"There

is a great deal of friction and turmoil on the front lines of federal meat

inspectors," said Bobby Harnage, president of the American Federation of

Government Employees. "The deaths of the three meat inspectors was

senseless — they were killed trying to protect consumers."

Recent

surveys indicate that corporate crime and violence is on the uptick. According

to a survey released earlier this year by KPMG’s Integrity Management Services

unit, employees are observing a high level of serious illegal and unethical

conduct on the job, workers perceive management as unable or unwilling to deal

with unethical conduct, and employees are discouraged from reporting unethical

conduct.

And

earlier this month, a survey by the National White Collar Crime Center found

that one in three American households are now the victim of white collar crime

and that there is growing public concern with the seriousness of white collar

crime and the criminal justice system’s ability to control it.

Neither

of these surveys was reported in the mainstream corporate media. Nor did the

mainstream corporate media report on a survey conducted by former Washington

Post reporter Morton Mintz and published this month in Nieman Reports.

Mintz’s

survey found that corporate newspaper editorial writers rarely condemn corporate

crime and other wrongdoing. He surveyed 124 leading editorial writers,

columnists, and commentators about what they had said about egregious corporate

behavior during the ten years ending December 1998.

Mintz

concluded from the responses he received, and from the large number of writers

who failed to respond to his inquiry, that "it’s fair to say that it’s a

rare day in 3,650 days when the national media expose Americans to opinions on

corporate wrongdoing."

Political,

corporate, and media elites have little time for and little respect for the

victims of corporate crime and violence. They will rant and rave about

Abu-Jamal, but hardly give the time of day to Alexander and his rampage.

It’s

time that we begin to give a little respect to those who put their lives on the

line to protect us against the ravages of the corporate criminals. Call your

local newspaper editorial offices and urge them to take a strong stance against

corporate crime. Support your local corporate crime police. Condemn corporate

brutality.

Russell

Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime Reporter.

Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor.

Mokhiber and Weissman are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for

MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press,

1999, http://www.corporatepredators.org)