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Protesters surround Chicago City Hall for community control of the police

By staff |
April 21, 2021
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Danny Glover speaks at rally with Kobi Guillory of CAARPR
Danny Glover speaks at rally with Kobi Guillory of Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (Photo by Esther Kovacs)

Chicago, IL - 300 protesters showed up for the first in-person city council meeting in a year, April 21, to demand passage of an ordinance called Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS). Coming out of nine years of efforts by over 100 community organizations, labor unions, churches and other faith-based groups, the ordinance is a merger of two bills: CPAC (Civilian Police Accountability Council, proposed by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression), and one proposed by GAPA (the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability). ECPS combines elements of the CPAC and GAPA bills to create the most democratic police accountability system in the country.

According to a statement from the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, “ECPS will give communities a decisive role in shaping public safety in their neighborhoods and determining the authority they have over the CPD and create a pathway for community control of the police.”

The two coalitions came together after Mayor Lori Lightfoot covered up the racist police raid of the home of Anjanette Young in 2019. The video of Young being forced to stand naked in her home, handcuffed, for 13 minutes while white police officers searched her home for a felon who lived next door, was released to the public in December. Lightfoot denied knowledge of the raid or and tape, and then later admitted she had tried to keep the tape from being released.

Danny Glover traveled to Chicago for the rally

Actor Danny Glover joined the protest after catching the redeye flight from California. Shivering in the snow, he said to the youthful crowd, “Your faces, your voices, your feet, your marching, your organizing is essential right now.”

Gus Newport, mayor of Berkeley, California in the 1980s, who at the time enacted legislation for community control of the police that had been originally drafted by the Black Panther Party, travelled with Glover. He said, “This ordinance you all have put forth is the greatest thing I’ve seen post the Civil Rights movement.”

Protesters also celebrated the conviction of Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, and also demanded justice for 13-year-old Adam Toledo, murdered by the Chicago Police Department on March 29. Police video released weeks after the murder showed the child had his hands in the air when the cop shot him.

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