Posts made in April, 2016

How Thoughtful, Rahm and City Council Adjust City Code for a “Public Safety Crises”

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

How Thoughtful, Rahm and City Council Adjust City Code for a “Public Safety Crises” Adrian Harris, CAARPR     It’s no secret. Eddie Johnson was not on the list of candidates for interim superintendent, and reportedly did not even apply for the position. Eager to circumvent the Police Board and rush his pick through City Council, Rahm and the Aldermen who support him have invoked the notion of a “public safety crisis,” and have managed to temporarily nullify city code to allow the appointment of Eddie Johnson as superintendant. Superintendent Johnson, a 27-year veteran of the CPD, was pushed into his new post by way of a one-time city code change, itself engineered by the Public Safety Committee, which allowed for his appointment by a 50-0 vote by the City Council at large. It has been clear from Johnson’s initial questioning by the Public Safety Committee, through the Aldermen’s press statements after his appointment, that public safety and the reduction of gang violence will be the main angle through which his expedited appointment is explained. Despite Johnson’s post-appointment references to community reconciliation, his raids over the weekend preceding his appointment as permanent superintendant have garnered the most attention. Targeted by way of registers of gang-related offenders, these raids lead to 68 arrests out of list of 1,300 registered individuals throughout Chicago communities on the South and West sides. Despite Alderman Hairston’s detection of a “new aura” around Chicago police under Johnson’s command, it is clear already that Johnson’s success will still be judged first and foremost by his and his officers’ ability to surveil, repress, and detain. Community engagement will remain somewhere between a media slogan and an afterthought. We must remind Mayor Emmanuel and his supporters among the Aldermen that the vacancy Johnson has now filled did not become empty due to a crisis in public safety, but rather due to public outrage over police crimes. More specifically, Eddie Johnson’s post was made vacant in a last ditch effort by the mayor to let a head roll after the exposure of the police and government cover-up of the murder of Laquan McDonald by CPD officer Jason Van Dyke. The welled-up civic outrage that this incident unleashed helped get Garry McCarthy fired, but it will not dissipate with the appointment of yet another “tough-on-crime” top cop. Why would the Chicago communities hit hardest by police crimes and repression trust that any decision forced through by this Mayor and City Council might lead to any real change? Police crimes, from murder and torture, to sexual assault and harassment are constant threats to these communities, just as much as gun violence. From Riverdale to Washington Park, families have been subject to the repercussions of the backwards order in which our leaders have taken care of business for far too long. When political figures choose to undermine the very processes that they are paid to uphold, communities must respond with political ideas and organizations of their own. Just as these Aldermen pushed through hush money for the Laquan McDonald case in a matter of minutes, they have quickly and quietly fallen into line unanimously behind the mayor again. We know that direct political pressure is the only language to which these Aldermen respond. The Independent Police Review (IPRA), brought into existence by The City Council in 2007 has failed us for almost a decade. Change is inevitable. The Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), will consist of elected community members from all of the police districts, who will be empowered to hold police officers accountable for the crimes they commit, and to control...

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Chicago’s Police Crime Crisis – Follow the Leaders?

Posted by on Apr 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Chicago’s Police Crime Crisis – Follow the Leaders? Steve Craig. CAARPR Chicago’s police crime crisis continues to simmer as a host of players offer slapdash solutions. “Experts” on police accountability and oversight demand transparency and community “involvement” or “input” and promise to procure this by appointing the proper seriously independent and unbiased fellow experts. Most of the recent proposals have been advanced by politicians, policing professionals and self-anointed community leaders. They all stumble early on in the oversight alphabet, from advisory to appointed, and share a common disdain for democracy. The people of Chicago, especially in oppressed African American and Latino communities, are tired of this game of follow-the-leader. There is a growing movement for real change coming from these communities that demands community control of the Chicago police, not oversight or advice. The proposed ordinance for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council would give this power to the people. CPAC is mentioned in an appendix of the mayor’s appointed Police Accountability Task Force report and is dismissed out of hand, democracy being “susceptible to cooptation”. Instead, the Task Force recommends a Community Safety Oversight Board where the community would have “a role in the police oversight system”. The board would be comprised of members from an array of interest groups including “community leaders”. The people’s voice is reduced to a whisper in the remote wilderness of yet more public hearings. But you won’t be heard. Alderwoman Hairston has also grabbed for the leadership cape and presented her own police placebo, an “Independent” Citizen Police Monitor. In this proposal the Inspector General would “select” representatives from “civil rights groups, immigrant rights groups, and people representing gay rights activists, and the faith community”. Presumably the NGOs with the better budgets would get the nod. Beyond their disdain for democracy, the Oversight Board, Police Monitor, and the CRS’s Auditor also share another characteristic. They have no power to enforce change. They all remain advisory in nature, with the mayor’s office continuing to wield considerable power over all police matters. All of these proposals contain suggestions for very necessary changes in CPD’s practices, but they contain no changes in the power dynamics that continue to keep Chicago communities from deciding how their neighborhoods are policed. The Chicago police will remain unaccountable if we continue to follow these leaders in their renaming of IPRA contest. Emperor Rahm will choose the new name from the field of contestants, and it will be back to business as usual, as Pierre Loury’s blood dries at the foot of the fence that entangled him.      ...

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Civil Rights Division (DOJ) hears from police crime victims

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Civil Rights Division of  US Department of Justice hears from police crime victims Ted Pearson, CAARPR The U. S. government team investigating the Chicago Police Department heard testimony from 25 families of victims and survivors of police crimes on Wednesday March 23, 2016 at a special session organized by the team at Malcolm X College.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) officially invited people to the event in response to letters to Loretta Lynch on December 10, 2015 and January 8, 2016, from the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which were accompanied by 53 formal complaints regarding police crimes in the Chicago Area.  All those filing complaints received official invitations.  Almost all of the victims of police crimes about whom complaints had been filed by members of their family were represented, some by many members of their families. The team was from the Special Litigation Section of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division assigned to investigate the misuse and excessive force and other crimes by Chicago police. People spoke passionately and eloquently about what had happened to their children and the way their families had been treated by police.  Their sons had been murdered and tortured by officers of the Chicago Police Department as well as two suburban police departments.  The attorneys and representatives from the DOJ seemed visibly moved by many of the stories they heard. Almost every person speaking called for the DOJ to prosecute the police officers who have repeatedly committed acts of murder and torture against Black and Latino civilians in Chicago.  Katelyn Smith, the Contract Community Outreach Specialist for the Special Litigation Section explained that the Civil Rights Division can only investigate “patterns and practices” by police departments that violate the Constitutional rights of people.  However, she said after the close of the event that cases for which the statute of limitation had not expired would be conveyed to the DOJ Criminal Division for investigation and possible prosecution. Some people pointed out in their verbal statements that the crime of torture continues as long as a victim remains in prison, put there by false confessions extracted through torture, and the statute of limitation doesn’t start until they are exonerated or released. The result of the Civil Rights Division investigation will be released in a formal report, Smith said, and the DOJ will enter into discussions with the City and CPD regarding changes that must be made to comply with federal civil rights law.  If the City and CPD balk at agreeing to the changes, the DOJ will bring a suit against them in Federal Court. The people in attendance were very clear that the DOJ response to the letters from the Alliance was really a response to the mass upsurge against police murders and other crimes in Chicago.  Until the almost daily demonstrations and other actions following the release of video showing the cold blooded murder of Laquan McDonald last November the DOJ had been unresponsive to repeated previous appeals for intervention and action.   “That’s why we have to keep up the pressure,” one participant declared.   “We can’t stop fighting for justice!  Not for even a minute!” “We need CPAC,” someone called out in the meeting, in response to the reports of police crimes, referring to the proposal by the Chicago Alliance for an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council.  “Until we have true community control of the police,” someone else observed, “we will never have the ability to stop police crimes.  Reports may be made and some changes may be forced on the police, but the only sure way to...

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Police Reform OR Community Control of the Police

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

POLICE REFORM OR COMMUNITY CONTROL OF THE POLICE Aislinn Pulley, Black Lives Matter Chicago and Frank Chapman,  Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression   Early on in the  Police Accountability Task Force Report a democratic principle is set forth, namely, that “The police need to know who they work for—the community. The authority that they have belongs to the people.” Yet nowhere does this report address the fundamental democratic right of the people to control the police and so we are left with suggested reforms and recommendations for policy changes that are left in the hands of the very people that created the problem in the first place. If the police in fact worked for the community then we wouldn’t be campaigning for community control of the police. The document itself is called: “POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY TASK FORCE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REFORM: Restoring Trust between the Chicago Police and the Communities They Serve”. The powers that be have been so poised, so prepared for a report such as this that they wasted no time in pumping it up in the media as a giant step forward in at least embarking on the long and torturous road of reform. This is a long and detailed report that examines in detail particularity the institutionalized racist practices of the Chicago Police Department going back several decades, showing that the lack of accountability and the practice of excusing and justifying police crimes and misconduct is long standing. Also this Task Force declares at the outset that “The Police Accountability Task Force arose amidst a significant and historic public outcry. The outcry brought people into the streets, on social media and other venues to say in a very clear voice that they had reached a breaking point with the entire local law enforcement infrastructure. People were and are demanding accountability and real and lasting change. The outcry was not localized in any particular neighborhood or demographic, although communities of color and those ravaged by crime added some of the most poignant commentary.” Obviously the Black Lives Matter Movement and the broad based Black led peoples’ movement for community control of the police (known in Chicago as CPAC) are the driving forces demanding police accountability. Therefore, we must approach this Task Force’s report and recommendations from the standpoint of whether it contributes to the campaign for an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), and how it furthers the demands of Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chicago Teachers Union, BYP100, Assata’s Daughters, SEIU Locals 73 and SEIU HCII, Fight for 15, Trinity United Church of Christ, the Arab American Action Network, the Filipino Alliance, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and others calling for justice now. The Task Force report purports to be a response to the peoples movement’s demands for police accountability, but were that the case the Task Force would’ve recommended that all those complicit in the murder of Laquan McDonald be indicted and that Dante Servin be fired. Justice now means first of all enacting the ordinance establishing community control of the police, CPAC. It also means: Firing Dante Servin, the murderer of Rekia Boyd. Firing and prosecuting the four police officers who lied in their reports to cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Department of Justice prosecution of all police in Chicago who murdered and/or tortured people in violation of their federally protected constitutional and human rights. Mayor Rahm Emanuel must resign. While we stand in agreement with many of the Task Force recommendations the fact is that the Task Force has no power to implement any of them. In...

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Court Support for Mike Siviwe Elliott: Hearing Updates

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Show Up For Mike, Court Support for Mike Siviwe Elliott: Hearing Updates NEXT court date When: 9:00am Friday April 29, 2016 Where:  555 W Harrison, Chicago,  3rd floor RM 303 Like and share FB page Court Updates for Mike Siviwe Elliott Press Release On Dec 29, just after midnight, our dear comrade Mike Siviwe Elliot was falsely arrested and held by Metra Police and CPD. Metra police were brutalizing a young woman on a Metra train that night, Mike was recording this abuse–they then arrested and charged him with battery and reckless conduct!Here is Mike Siviwe Elliot’s summation of the proceedings at court on Jan 20, 2016 Here is Mike Siviwe Elliot’s summation of the proceedings at court on Jan 20, 2016 “1) They agreed to return my phone, the judge issued an ‘order of release’ to the Metra police, but when I took it to them to retrieve my phone, the assigned officer was “not in” ? So I still didn’t get my phone back. 2) The Notorious Anita Alvarez, has a “supervisor of prosecutors” assigned to handle my misdemeanor case? It was revealed that this Alvarez prosecutor has been following my 2- FB pages. ( so allow me to inform you right now, that you on the wrong side of justice and you have shamed your ancestors!) 3) The Metra cop that arrested me, Officer Carr (badge # 9718) had been instructed at our last court date, that he would not be needed today, but he came anyway. He even had the nerve to speak to me, after filing false charges against me? Why was he there anyway, really? 4) My supporters were magnificent again! Unfortunately, it was a very small courtroom and none of them were allowed to enter, even though some seats were available. A beautiful crowd of about 30-people greeted me when I left out the courtroom. I got tons of hugs! The struggle continues…” Mike works tirelessly to bring different strands of the movement together – from organized labor to various youth orgs – organizing for CPAC, for community control of the police, against the daily, racist terrorism of CPD. We are fighting these bogus charges against Mike with the same tireless spirit in which he fights for all of us. Support Mike Siviwe Elliott, Pack the...

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