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 offer an apology to the victims and their families followed up by an affirmative course of action addressing these admitted injustices.
Finally and with all due respect “sorry” is just not enough and is in fact a slap in the face of our movement to stop police crimes in this city at this time. Harming someone and then giving them money, is not an adequate apology, its pretty sorry!! People should be punished and systems must be put into place to prevent the harm from ever happening again, THAT is a genuine apology, based on ACTION!!
We will be back to knock on your door at City Hall again and sooner or later you and the City Council must answer the door when the peoples call for justice.