News

Justice denied in Florida – The people must act!

Posted by on Feb 17, 2014 in News, Stop Police Crimes | 0 comments

February 17, 2014 The jury in the case of The State of Florida v. Michael David Dunn was not able to return a verdict on the charge that he murdered Jordan Russell Davis, a 17 year old African American.  The jury found, however, that Dunn was guilty of three counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting his gun into the car in which Davis and three other African American youth were passengers.  The jury consisted of 4 white men, 4 white women, 2 Black women, one Asian woman and one Latino man. They were reportedly split over whether the murder of Davis was First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, or Manslaughter. Leaders of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression characterized the verdict as only a “partial victory” in the struggle against white supremacist vigilante violence, and called for mass protest and action to defend civil rights. “This verdict should spur all of us,” the Alliance said, “regardless of color, gender, or nationality, to act to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice intervene and seek an injunction against so-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws in Florida and elsewhere.  They are in violation of the 14th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1875, U.S.C. Article 18 Section 242.  These laws, in practice, grant armed vigilantes license to kill African American youth.” Observers have noted with alarm that in every case, only white vigilantes have apparently been authorized to use deadly force by these laws.  No one has mentioned that Trayvon Martin, murdered last year by George Zimmerman, or Jordan Davis had any right to stand their ground in the face of a clear and present danger to their lives, proven by the murders of these unarmed young men. Davis’s mother and father, Lucia McBath and Ron Davis, expressed some relief when interviewed after the verdict, that Dunn would spend at least 75 years in prison – a minimum of 20 years on each attempted murder charge and 15 years on the shooting charge.  They also expressed deep anxiety that Dunn ultimately must be held to account for the murder of their son. Florida State Attorney Angela Corey told reporters after the verdicts were announced that the state would retry Dunn on the charge of first degree murder of Davis.  “Justice for Jordan Davis is as important as it is for any victim,” Corey said. “It’s sad for Mr. Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment, and I will pray for him,” Lucia McBath said. “And I’ve asked my family to pray for him.”  But this is not enough, she added.  She and her husband demand justice for their son as well. In a statement signed by Clarice Durham, Ted Pearson, CAARPR Co-chair people, and Frank Chapman, Field Organizer and Chairperson of the Organizing Committee to Stop Police Crimes, the Alliance declared: “The verdicts in the case of the murder of Jordan Russel David and the attempted murder of three others by Michael David Dunn in Florida are only a partial victory in the struggle against white supremacy.  They can offer only mild satisfaction, in that Dunn faces a mandatory sentence of at least 75 years in prison for attempted murder of three African American youth with a gun. “But even though he may spend the rest of his life in prison, the failure of the jury to find Dunn guilty of killing Jordan Davis says to the people of the world that in Florida, and elsewhere in the U. S., the lives of...

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NATO 3 trial puts focus on police accountability in Chicago

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

One thing we learned from the NATO 3 trial: The Chicago Police Department’s Red Squad is back. And, critics say, it’s back to breaking the law. Not just around the 2012 NATO summit, but on a permanent basis. Not just to prevent terrorism, but to monitor constitutionally protected activity. Read...

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A Brief Look Back At How Our Movement To Stop Police Crimes Got Started

Posted by on Feb 2, 2014 in News, Stop Police Crimes | 0 comments

                 A BRIEF LOOK BACK AT HOW OUR MOVEMENT TO STOP POLICE CRIMES GOT STARTED April 2012 -January 2014  By Frank Chapman, Educational Director and Field Organizer, Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression In the last 20 months our peoples’ movement to stop police crimes and torture has proven at least one thing very clearly and that is that the present system of policing is not impervious to change and that police crimes and torture can be stopped when the people rise up in organized protest and demand justice. We have had some significant victories in the Rekia Boyd case and in several of the torture cases. Our persistence has helped to stimulate a more open public debate on the question of community control of the police. Our movement has been recognized and is being assessed by the powers that be. That is what the Mayor’s apology in the torture cases was all about; he apologizes to the torture victims and admits that the police who perpetrated these crimes were morally and legally wrong. But the Mayor did not set forth a program of action that would bring about any systemic change. They know their system is plagued with racism, corruption and injustice and so do we. The difference is we want change and they don’t; we want justice and they are hell bent on maintaining this system of injustice. Hopefully these brief notes will help us as organizers to see where we’ve been in order to get a better handle on where we are going.  We can be effective organizers when we realize that to dare to struggle is to dare to win.  The Organizing Committee To Stop Police Crimes was born as an idea on April 19, 2012 when the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) met with Lew Myers at Kennedy-King College to discuss the possibility of having a community meeting on police crimes and torture. Coming out of this discussion was an agreement with Brother Myers and the Kennedy-King Criminal Justice Project to co-sponsor a Peoples’ Hearing on Police Crimes with the CAARPR at Kennedy-King College. Later, on April 23, 2012 we convened our first meeting, and those present were Khalid Abdullah, Jeff Baker, Lamont Burnett, Jesse Caver, Mark Clements, Randy Ryder and Ted Pearson.  I, as the Field Organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, presented to the committee a plan of work for organizing a Peoples Hearing on Police Crimes to be held at Kennedy-King College on June 9, 2012. After some detail discussion the various elements of the proposed plan were agreed upon and a plan of work and a call to action that could unite us all around the issue of police crimes in order to move forward. Thereafter, we sent out a Call to the affected communities, and known victims of police crimes and torture. The Call’s message was as follows: “ We, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression call upon all our sisters and brothers, representing all strands of the people’s movements, to join us in initiating a call for A Peoples Hearing Against Police Crimes (i.e., brutality, murder, torture, complicity in vigilantism and racial profiling). The purpose of this hearing will be to provide a public forum where the victims of police crimes and the various organizations fighting against police brutality and torture can present their cases and demands for justice… “ The facts and evidence are clear; the police throughout our country are out of control. Most striking is their use of use brute force...

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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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Stanley Wrice is free at last, but the crimes of torture and false imprisonment continue

Posted by on Dec 17, 2013 in News, Stop Police Crimes | 0 comments

To download a pdf version of this statement click here. For release December 16, 2013 For information contact Mark A. Clements, mclements@naarpr.org, 312-939-2750 (Office) 847-276-1382 (Cell) Stanley Wrice is free at last, but the crimes of torture and false imprisonment continue Thursday, December 11, 2013 was great day for Stanley Wrice.  It took Judge Richard Walsh only a few minutes to say “Dismissed” in the case against Wrice, releasing him from prison 31 years after he was falsely charged and convicted and sentenced to natural life for a crime he did not commit. Judge Walsh also raised serious questions about our criminal justice system as a whole.  Wrice was victimized by police, who tortured him until he confessed, and then Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley.  Cook County Special Prosecutor Stuart Nudleman fought Wrice and his attorneys’ efforts to win a new trial.  In 2011 they file petition the Illinois Supreme Court to block Wrice from a hearing on his claim of torture, claiming that “confessions that were tortured from criminal suspects under Burge should be treated as harmless error”. In December, 2010 Wrice’s conviction had been reversed by the Illinois Appellate court. Wrice sat in prison for 31 years, despite evidence at his trial that Cook County Jail doctors validated his claim of tortured by police. During his trial this evidence showed that he had suffered injury at the hands of Chicago Police Detectives John Bryne and Peter Dignan, both of whom were Burge subordinates who had been frequently accused of torturing criminal suspects at the time Wrice was arrested. The ordeal suffered by Wrice was hell on earth.  He was taken from society at 29 years of age and is now returning after his 60th birthday. We know how much it has cost the City of Chicago and Cook County to settle law suits resulting from the tortures committed by Burge and his subordinates.  However the costs incurred by Cook County in prosecuting innocent people and fighting every effort to obtain justice in their cases is not known. Tax payers are silently being billed to warehouse innocent inmates, while the Cook County State’s Attorney Office rejects all claims, is paying witnesses to lie, is making back room deals with criminals, and is suppressing evidence in order to keep innocent people behind the walls of a prison. One, two, or perhaps three wrongful convictions might be considered an accident.  However when there are so many being released each year in Illinois as the result of wrongful conviction and tortured confessions it has to be viewed as systemic crisis.  In Just the past year we Nicole Harris, Daniel Taylor, Carl Chatman, Lathieral Boyd, Stanley Wrice and others have walked out of prison who never should have been there because they were innocent. This screams for measures to hold officers accused of these torturesaccountable, along with the Assistant Cook County State’s Attorneys that tried these cases, the various State’s Attorneys from 1972 until present, and judges that oversaw these legal lynchings while ignoring compelling evidence that the victims of tortures were innocent. Cook County State’s Attorney Alvarez continues to deny the innocence and police crimes against Howard Morgan, Clayborn Smith, Gerald Reed, Johnny Plummer, Virgil Robinson, Stanley Howard, George Anderson, Jamie Jackson, James Harris, Harvey Allen, Javan Deloney, Tyrone Hood, Miguel Morales, and many others.  Over 100 people were tortured by polioce in Chicago, and mosrt sre still in prison.  This is an on-going conspraciy to deprive these victims of police crimes their Constitutional rights. Victims of Chicago Police Torture must be provided with some compensation from the city...

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