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Students & Community Confront Police Brutality at Univ. of Illinois-Chicago

by Jackson Potter |
December 1, 2000
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Chicago, IL - On November 17, 300 students and community activists protested against police brutality at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The rally challenged the administration's cover up of police brutality.

Eugene Walker, an African American Vietnam Veteran and security guard, told his story. One morning in the summer of 1998, he was turning off the alarm on his car when a UIC police officer approached him. "I looked up and there was a policeman from right here [UIC] with a gun pointed at my head. He told me to get against the truck and asked me, 'Who does the truck belong to?' So I told him, 'This is my truck.'" An off-duty UIC police officer then showed up, and according to Walker, said to the other cop, "What the heck have you got a gun to this man's head for?" at which point the cop with the gun backed off and left the scene.

Despite making constant phone calls to the University, Walker has received no reply about his complaint and the police officer that carried out the abuse has not been disciplined.

Pedro Fregoso, a student at UIC, thinks he has an answer for the off duty officer's question. "UIC wants to jack up its property values... The city wants to tear down these projects and bring in white yuppies, just like UIC wants rich and white students. So naturally, UIC police and Chicago police do the same dirty work."

The rally was organized by Students for an Urban Mission, the Minority Student Coalition and Neighbors Against Police Brutality. They demanded three things: an immediate apology from the UIC administration to Mr. Walker, that the cop who threatened his life be fired immediately, and that UIC Police stop targeting and brutalizing people of color in the area.

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