Posts made in January, 2014

THE MAYOR’S APOLOGY TO TORTURE VICTIMS OF JON BURGE IS NOT GENUINE

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in News, Stop Police Crimes | 0 comments

Frank Chapman, Organizing Committee to Stop Police Crimes The Mayor has apologized for the infamous torturer and former Police Commander Jon Burge.  Apparently the Mayor’s apology is directed to torture victims Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves, who spent 21 years in prison for a murder they did not commit. The mayor said: “I am sorry this happened let us all now move on…This is a dark chapter on the history of the city of Chicago. I want to build a future for the city… But we have to close the books on this. We have to reconcile our past…Yes there has been a settlement. And I do believe that this is a way of saying all of us are sorry about what happened…and closing that stain on the city’s reputation…This is not who we are.” We, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, have always supported the demands for justice of the torture victims and their families; and this is not the first time that the Mayor’s office has admitted guilt and taken responsibility for what happened to numerous torture victims on Jon Burge’s watch. Mayor Daley also said, back in 2006 when he was up for re-election, that he takes “…responsibility for it. I’ll apologize to anyone…It should never have happened.” And then two years later Daley said “you can’t hold me responsible.” What’s to stop Mayor Emmanuel from also saying, on down the road, that “you can’t hold me responsible”? Nobody but the people united in the fight for justice for the torture victims can stop the Mayor and all our political leaders from continuing this “dark chapter on the history of the city of Chicago”. Our people are not vindictive so we have no problem accepting a genuine apology. But is this one genuine? Darrel Cannon, a Burge torture victim who spent 24 years in prison, had this to say: “An apology, what does that do? Absolutely nothing except that they are coming to grips with what me and others have been saying for years about torture and about the city covering it up and fighting us tooth and nail.” We agree with Darrel Cannon, who expresses the deep felt sentiments of the torture victims, their families and those of us fighting to stop police crimes that the Mayor’s apology is not genuine. In fact it is pathetic that the chief executive of our city is suggesting that appropriating monies for civil settlements “is a way of saying all of us are sorry…and closing that stain on the city’s reputation…” What about justice Mr. Mayor? And since you are responsible for enforcing the law why aren’t you calling for the prosecution and jailing of these police criminals who are responsible for the torture and false imprisonment of over a hundred African Americans and Latinos? Civil settlements or compensation is not all we seek for the irreparable damage that Jon Burge and his band of torturers inflicted on our people and our communities.  Torture exists in another form today, it disguises itself as harassment, murdering unarmed men, Terry stops, planting evidence, drug dealing officers…WE WANT ALL TORTURE TO STOP! WE DEMAND JUSTICE!!! This past August 28, 500 people marched on City Hall demanding justice for the torture victims and calling for the creation, through legislative action, of a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). The families of the torture victims and victims of police crimes led this march. Before the march we appealed to you for support and during the march when the media asked you for a comment you declined. You shunned an excellent opportunity to...

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Howard Morgan case “reeks of police misconduct”

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in News, Stop Police Crimes | 0 comments

Oral arguments in the case heard Tuesday (1/14/2014) by the Illinois Appellate Court “This whole case just reeks of police misconduct!” declared Lester Finkle, closing his remarks in oral arguments in the Howard Morgan case before the Illinois Appellate Court Tuesday morning.  Morgan, 62, is serving a 40 year sentence after being convicted in a second trial of attempted murder of four police officers.  Morgan’s first trial, in 2005, resulted in acquittal of two charges of aggravated battery of a police officer and aggravated discharge of a firearm and a hung jury on the rest of the charges. A major issue in the appeal is what Finkle has characterized as the prosecution’s “pander[ing] to the basest instincts of the jury by invoking images of dead police officers, funerals, and assassinations… .”  Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Marci Jacobs defended this behavior, charging that the defense had tried to make the case one of police misconduct.  The defense, she said, attempted to belittle the injuries suffered by the four officers who shot Morgan 28 times, necessitating the inflammatory remarks of the prosecutor Daniel Groth in his closing remarks.  “They want to bring in questions about police misconduct,” ASA Jacobs told the court, prompting Finkle’s response. This exchange occurred around the challenge of the trial judge’s refusal to allow the defense to query prospective jurors about their attitudes toward police misconduct.  Specifically, the defense was not allowed to ask veniremen about their views on an officer charged with shooting other officers, whether they believed a person could be accused of something he did not do, and whether they thought that the police treated people differently based on race.  ASA Jacobs charged that the defense wanted to put the police on trial instead of Mr. Morgan.   The courtroom on the 14th floor was packed with people who came to support Morgan’s appeal.  It was standing room only in the room, with more than  20 people standing outside and not allowed in, as other supporters filled all the seats and stood around the walls.  Among those present was Benjamin Crump, nationally prominent for his defense of the family of Trayvon Martin in Florida, who was murdered by vigilante George Zimmerman.  Crump is representing the Morgan family in a civil suit against the City of Chicago and the police Department. The case revolves around a winter, 2005 traffic stop late at night in the Lawndale neighborhood, a block from Morgan’s family home.  Morgan, an African American 13 year veteran police officer for the BNSF Railroad and an 8 ½ year veteran Chicago Police Officer, was pulled over by four young rookie white police officers who, according to the only independent eyewitness, pulled Morgan from his mini-van, threw him to the ground, grabbed the gun he was carrying for his job, and opened fire on him, hitting him 28 times.  After he was found to be still alive and taken to the hospital, the police had to explain their actions.  They said that Morgan had been driving the wrong way on a one way street with no lights four blocks from where they stopped him, and that when they pulled him over he got out of his vehicle and started shooting at them.  Police evidence photographs of the scene showed the lights on the van were on, although the defense was barred from by the judge from pointing that out to the jury. Questions to Jacobs by two of the three judges on the panel asked suggested they were having trouble buying all of the prosecution’s theory, which was that Morgan shot the police...

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