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Chicago ordinance would make protesting police abuses a hate crime

By staff |
June 7, 2016
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Chicago, IL - Alderman Edward M. Burke has introduced an ordinance to expand Chicago’s hate crime ordinance to include any offense against police officers or firefighters. “It is the goal of this ordinance to give prosecutors and judges every tool to punish those who interfere with, or threaten or physically assault, our public safety personnel," Alderman Burke said in a June 6 news release.

Co-chairperson Ted Pearson of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) blasted the proposed ordinance. “This is an attempt to intimidate the movement for community control of the police by suggesting that protests against police crimes are hate crimes.”

It’s potentially intimidating, Pearson said, because people who protest police crimes could be charged under this law. “This is adding insult to injury to those who are outraged when the police murder an unarmed person and protest,” he said. He cited the 2012 murder by police of Jamaal Moore, 23, who was unarmed. Scores of people from the neighborhood at Garfield Boulevard and Ashland Avenue angrily protested the murder, and several were arrested. “Would people in such circumstances now be charged with a hate crime against the police under this new law?”

The CAARPR has proposed legislation to the city council creating an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), and has organized tens of thousands of supporters of this proposal in communities throughout the city. The coalition supporting CPAC will demonstrate outside the city council the morning of June 22, the day Mayor Rahm Emanuel is scheduled to introduce his ‘police reform’ ordinance.

Frank Chapman, Field Organizer of the CAARPR, declared, “The people can see through the meaningless smoke and mirrors game being played by the mayor. People in the communities that live under a virtual police state are demanding real community control. We are demanding passage of CPAC!”