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Protesters Target State's Attorney Devine Where He Lives

by Caryl Sortwell |
June 10, 2002
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Protest crowd
Rose Sifuentes of the Comite Exijimos Justicia addresses the crowd. The rally challenged police frame-ups and brutality in Chicago. Protesters extended solidarity to the June 2 March for Justice in Cincinnati. (Fight Back! News/Stephanie Wiener)

Chicago, IL - Over 200 anti-police brutality activists took their message to the neighborhood of Cook County State's Attorney, Dick Devine, June 2. Devine's responsibilities include prosecuting brutal police officers and investigating police frame-ups. Protesters marched through Devine's neighborhood, pushing past police on horses that tried to prevent them from walking down Devine's street.

"Devine has consistently refused to meet with us regarding opening an investigation into Police Area 5." said Blanca Gonzalez of Comite Exijimos Justicia (CEJ). "Now he'll have to listen, we're right outside his front door!"

The march was called by Comite Exijimos Justicia, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty and the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network, and included a list of over 35 other endorsers. Devine's home turf in the Roger's Park neighborhood of Chicago was the site of the march.

"There is a cancer in the police system in Chicago." Rose Sifuentes of Comite Exijimos Justicia told the crowd. "My son was wrongfully convicted. They tried to get him to accept a plea, but he would rather do time than to admit to something he didn't do." Devine has rarely prosecuted brutal police officers, even though the city of Chicago has admitted blame by paying out millions of dollars to victims' families in lawsuit settlements. The few prosecutions of brutal cops have only come after massive protests.

Protesters strung "Crime Scene - Do Not Cross" tape across Devine's lawn to emphasize who the real criminal is. "My son was murdered by the Chicago police nearly two years ago!" declared Vera Love, mother of Robert Russ. Robert Russ, an African-American Northwestern University football player, was unarmed when police killed him on June 5, 1999 during a traffic stop. "Dick Devine, when will the police who killed my son be brought to justice?" Activists then produced a summons for Devine to appear before the people to answer for his crimes.

Chicago activists plan to continue their fight back this summer with more protests at the Police Board hearings. "We are part of a new civil rights movement!" exclaimed Lydia Taylor of the Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago. "We must demand police accountability to stop the criminalization of our youth of color."

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