Chicago, IL – About 1000 protesters converged on Chicago City Hall, June 22. The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) was there to demand an elected, civilian police accountability council (CPAC). The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) raised their demand for progressive revenue to fund the public schools, but also supported the demand for community control of the police. The CPAC rally also included Black Lives Matter, the Pilsen Alliance, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), and AnakBayan, the Filipino patriotic youth organization.
Frank Chapman, field organizer for the Alliance stepped to the microphone at the press conference outside city council chambers. “The reason why we’re here today is that the mayor was supposed to be introducing his legislation to reshape our system of police accountability to become something the people can trust. Now he’s not introducing anything today.”
“But we’re against what he is trying to introduce. We don’t want any more mayor-appointed nothing. In fact, he should be a codefendant along with Jason Van Dyke, the murderer of Laquan McDonald.”
The crowd burst out with the most famous chant in Chicago’s movement: “16 shots and a cover-up!” referring to the 16 bullets that riddled the body of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014. The administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been exposed for covering up the video of the murder to get past the mayor’s re-election in spring 2015. Since the video was forced into public by a lawsuit in November 2015, it is well known that Emanuel will never be re-elected.
Chapman continued, “We want to replace the so-called Independent Police Review Authority, the Police Board, Internal Affairs of the Police Department, and put power squarely in the hands of the people.”
“The cops don’t get punished for nothing they do in this city. We want some prosecutions to take place. They can start with those cops that lied in the Laquan McDonald case. They can start with Flint Farmer. They can start with Reverend Catherine Brown.” Farmer was murdered by Chicago police in 2011. Rev. Brown and her two young daughters were brutalized by cops in 2013.
“When I say CPAC, you say fight back!”
Rev. Brown led the crowd in chanting for CPAC, and then spoke. “Mayor Rahm Emanuel, we’re asking you to give us CPAC. We don’t want fake police accountability. What am I to tell my daughter? She can’t sleep. Those officers are still on the street. We want Officer Murphy and Lopez off of the street now!”
Michael Brunson, recording secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union, expressed their support as well. “Just like we want parent, teacher and community control over our public schools with an elected, representative school board, all public institutions should be overseen by community members, by civilians in a democracy. We want a civilian police accountability council.” Brunson went on to predict about CPAC, “This will become a model for other cities across the nation.”
When the press conference was finished, people tried to enter the city council meeting but were denied. Rev. Brown’s husband responded to the lockout by saying, “They kept us out today, but they can’t keep our movement, our demands and our dreams out.”