[Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s keynote address at a special rally held at Life Center Church of God in Christ in Chicago, Ill., April 25, 2009 for Victor Safforld (formerly known as Cortez Brown) and other victims of police torture.]


In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

We give Him praise and thanks for His mercy and His goodness to the members of the human family, that whenever any one of the members of this family strays from His Straight Path and loses His Favor, before He punishes, He always raises up someone from among the people to warn the wicked, and to give good news to those who have suffered under the wicked.

I am a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and I could never thank Allah enough for His guidance and mercy to me, that as a young man I could find a teacher who knew God, and who knew man; who knew the Time, and what must be done. And who knew, and was preparing us for the Change of Worlds, for the world in which we live has been sentenced to death.

Those who are victims of torture are the witnesses that something like this should never exist in the world in which we live. They are the witnesses, multiplied by millions and millions across the Earth, to what this world has done, what it was prophesied it would do. Now it is time, not just for the “change that we can believe in,” but it is time for the change that the prophets predicted would come: That a New World, a New Government and a New Ruler would come to give justice and peace and mercy to the members of the human family.

Unjust judges bring God’s Wrath

The reason that we are here is because a cry is going out all over the Earth for justice. In the Book of Revelation, Chapter 11, verse 18, it reads: “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants, the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”



Everywhere we look on the Earth, nations are angry. When a nation is angry, that’s one thing, but it says, “… thy wrath is come.” The Wrath of God is something to be terrified of, because when God gets after you, He uses the very thing that we depend on for our life and our health and well being, and makes it an enemy to us. So, the worst person to get into a fight with is The God of Justice.


Well, the war is on, now, and the forces of evil are fighting a last-ditch battle to hold on to power. However, God is present now to remove not some of them, but all of them.

In the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 9, verses 6-7, it reads: “For unto us”—us—“a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government of peace there shall be no end …” The whole world is upset over injustice, but justice is on the way, and not from the unjust judges! There is a system of evil, not only in this city, but in this world.

Those of us who can walk in and out of “high places” may not feel what these who have been tortured feel; and are oft times bought off with “little gifts” so that our voices are stilled in the cry for justice. When I read the Book of Judges in the Bible, I understand why judges are so important in keeping balance in any society. To be able to judge the affairs of a fellow human being is the highest honor that any human being can be given, because a judge of men is standing in the place of God!

And when God judges, He doesn’t have a warped scale. He puts on the Scale of Justice the deeds of a man, the truth of the man; and then, the mitigating circumstances. But when He renders His decision, no one has ever declared that God was unjust, even when He destroyed whole cities, towns and worlds!

‘Good Ole’ Boy’ system of corruption

The judges of this world are, for the most part, part of a corrupt system. Sometimes, when you’re a good lawyer, and you fight for the poor, in order to reward you and get you “out of the way,” they’ll make you a judge. When you play the game of depriving people of justice, you get a reward in this world: You get “moved up.”

In a Chicago Tribune article dated Monday, January 11, 1999, titled “The Flipside of a Fair Trial,” it tells the story of a man on his first day as a prosecutor assigned to a trial courtroom at the Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, Illinois:

“… Michael Goggin slid into the chair next to the judge’s chambers and his shoes struck a most unusual object—a bathroom scale.

“‘What’s this?’ Goggin recalls asking another prosecutor.

“‘That’s for the Two-Ton Contest,’ came the response.

“‘The Two-Ton Contest?’ Goggin replied, quizzically.

“More than two decades later, as Goggin, now a defense lawyer, recalls the moment, his original amazement is still apparent.

“There was an ongoing competition among prosecutors to be the first to convict defendants whose weight totaled 4,000 pounds. Men and women, upon conviction, were marched into the room and weighed.

“Because most of the defendants were African-American, Goggin recalls now, with no small degree of discomfort, the competition was described in less sensitive terms behind closed doors—‘N_____s by the Pound.’”

This is just 10 years ago; and some of these prosecutors that were gathering “n_____s by the pound” are now judges.

And as we know, there are cases where some Black brothers who were arrested on automobile violations, or running a stoplight, went to jail alive—but died there. Where is their justice?

When these murders are committed by law enforcement, there is no justice for the victims because the judge and the juries are part of the same “Good Ole’ Boy” system where “the right thing” has always been to “let the murderer go,” therefore, justice is denied. The Fraternal Order of Police, state’s attorneys, prosecutors and attorney generals are all a part of the same system!

“Well, what are you advocating, Farrakhan? Revolution?” I’m advocating justice, but revolution is already taking place.

The scales of justice have been tipped

Jesus was not this “milquetoast preacher.” In fact, he was a revolutionary! Jesus one day, said: “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind” (Book of John, 9:39), so, that means there will be a reversal of the fortunes of those who have waxed strong and powerful by ruining the lives of people.

Where is the justice for a man shot 28 times by a law officer? What have you done to a life that you shoot 28 times? What have you done to this marvelous body? What have you done to his family? What have you done to his friends? Now, is this possibly the reason why Jesus prophesied that there would be wars and rumors of wars; and, nation would rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, because of the injustice that is perpetrated, where there is no real place of redress of grievance?

A court system that functions on the principle of justice keeps revolution away from the society. However, when a court system fails to act as it should; and the people that are aggrieved go away aggrieved because there is no justice, then something sets up in the breast!

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to us that justice is portrayed by a woman blindfolded, carrying a scale: Truth on one side; and the punishment according to truth, on the other side. When that scale is tipped, and people that are deprived of justice get none, it affects their state of mind. The more injustice we suffer, the more the scale is tipped. The more there is no balance in the system of justice, then the result of that is no balance in the mind!

Over a period of time, the people who are deprived of justice become savage; and a savage, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us, is a person that has lost the knowledge of self, and is living life on the level of the beasts of the field.

We live in a community deprived of justice! And when we walk the streets of our community, we are looking at savage behavior, demonstrative of people who don’t know who they are, and are living life on the level of the beasts of the field. This is why the nations are angry; and God’s Wrath has come. It is the time of the deprived to be given justice.

America’s history of torture practices

There are some commentators who say that the only time torture occurred in America was during the infamous Witch Trials in the colony of Massachusetts. Whites make such claims in full confidence that the image of a magnanimous America will survive historical scrutiny. It doesn’t.

Even this specific egregious act of “water boarding” is not a new invention of the U.S. military. The same technique was used to torture Black inmates in the Georgia prison system 139 years ago. They called it “watering” then; and it consisted of pouring a stream of water into the mouth of a convict stretched on his back. Much of it got into the lungs, and at best, it produced a fit of coughing. Usually, they just beat the inmates with whips, but some particularly sadistic prison officials were creative in devising other forms of terror.

The beheadings now associated with “radical Islamists” were most often used against Indians, and known as scalping. Ben Franklin was known to have supplied scalping knives to the Settlers at the fort for this purpose; and, Massachusetts gave rewards for five pounds for an Indian scalp. President Andrew Jackson—the one that’s now on the face of your rapidly-deteriorating $20 bill—he kept the scalps as souvenirs.

Some Jewish settlers recaptured escaped slaves, and used their severed hands as trophies! Nat Turner’s freedom fighters, and many who were not involved in his great 1831 freedom struggle, were decapitated—their heads impaled on stakes along the Virginia highways! Ironically, Turner warned his own troops not to torture those Whites that stood in the way of their freedom. He was more humane than his own captors.

Blacks were subject to the cruelest punishments for acting on their desire for freedom; or for the slightest infraction. Lynchings, corpse mutilations, beheadings, live burnings, and ritual displaying of amputated body parts [were] commonplace. There are many recorded cases of impaling of the severed heads of Africans as a warning to other Blacks.

Whippings were cruel and sadistic, resulting in acute blood loss, shock and infection; and were often fatal. Right here in America! One former slave wrote of having witnessed a Black man being forced to whip his own mother to death. Blacks were suspended by their wrists; or, stretched across the ground before a cowhide, or paddled beating. These bloody, flesh-gouging floggings would sometimes last for hours, consisting of hundreds of lashings before mustard, cayenne, salt or turpentine would be applied to prolong the torture!

But, we don’t torture in America?! See, you cannot tell that to Black people! You cannot tell that to us who have been in your jails, and in your prisons; and have been beaten down on the streets, and burned at the stake and lynched!

Jews have never forgotten the atrocities that their people suffered during the Holocaust. They say today, “Never again!”—and they are right! But we forget! We don’t teach our children what we’ve been through to get to this day! Our preachers don’t preach it! Teachers don’t teach it! Mom and Dad are too busy looking at reality television, and blinded to the reality of the suffering of our people!

If this is too much for you, I can understand, but the Book teaches, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” So don’t be afraid of the truth!

Symptom of evil runs deep

One brother who was put under electric shock while in police custody gave us the story of one of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge’s people putting a shotgun into his mouth; jamming it in his mouth where it busted out his teeth! And then they counted to “3,” and pulled the trigger—but there was nothing there in the chamber! The young man said it felt like he was “dead.” See, this is the kind of stuff that these people do!

Burge is not alone in what he is doing. You can call for him to be prosecuted, but what about the tens of thousands who do this to our people on a daily basis? Do it to our Brown brothers? And do it to poor White people? See, it’s a system; and Burge is only a representative of the most sadistic part of the system!

We who live in Chicago: We love our city, and we want to help our city to be better! We see and hear Police Superintendent Jody Weis telling our young people: “Look! Tell on the people you have witnessed committing murders!” But Superintendent Weis: What about the rogue policemen who kill, and are backed up by the city? By the judges? By the courts? By the city administration?!

Commander Burge is a symptom of an evil that goes far deeper than he, so some of the system has cast him out to make the system look like it “works.” The Bible teaches: “If Satan cast out Satan, how, then, can his kingdom stand?” These are tricks to make you think that some are better than others, but, they are all a part of it. They’re all a part of it.

Community pressure can effect change!

I want to help our city. I know we have wisdom from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that, along with many of these wonderful pastors and activists, we could make a change! But, I am no friend of that which is an enemy of my people!

This is an evil system, which means this is a big fight, so I’m challenging the mayor! I’m challenging the Fraternal Order of Police. I’m challenging the judges; and the members of the City Council!

I’m challenging those who are in a position to begin to make substantive change within the system. Otherwise, we have no hope in you, unless you show us! Not by calling us downtown to your offices, and offering us money to keep the youth off the streets and out of trouble during the summer! That isn’t a program! That’s pacification!

I don’t have any other country but this one. I was born here like all of my fellow sufferers, and I don’t want to pass on to another generation the legacy of what we have received trying to be citizens. I would like to help to make America better, and to save her from the Wrath of God, because The God of Justice has entered the borders. The God of Justice is not making it easy for us. The God of Justice is whipping America, and The God of Justice is whipping us, too.

Dear beloved family: What Victor Safforld (formerly known as Cortez Brown) and the others who are victims of torture are talking about is a pandemic that is all over the country. We must stand together, and not just for the moment, because this cannot be a “local” movement, but a national movement to help the victims of torture.

Those of you that can be at court, please, take some time and go down and see with your own eyes if the judge is a real judge of justice, or is “one of the boys.” They can have the biggest legal arguments that right legal arguments don’t win, but it’s pressure from the people that will help the legal argument to become successful!

Thank you.