They torture, they maim, they murder with impunity.
The military in Iraq? No, cops in our home town.
On June 19 Demand Accountability for Brutal Cops.
On the day that a grand jury will convene in Chicago to investigate allegations related to longstanding charges of torture in the ranks of the Chicago Police Department, local activists will join forces with area human rights groups to demand that city leaders take real steps to hold violent police officers accountable for the abuse of civilians and fix a seriously flawed approach to police brutality.
Community Forum/Organizing Meeting: 7:00 PM, Thursday, June 19
Broadway United Methodist Church, 3344 N. Broadway, Chicago (wheelchair accessible).
Well before this past weekend's rash of police shootings, the New York Times reported that Chicago police, on a per capita basis, shoot and kill three times as many people as do New York cops.
Combined with the still-unpunished history of police torture, it's a sweeping and persistent pattern of police abuse that makes the City unfit to bid against Rio, Tokyo and Madrid to become host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics. For antiwar protesters, those local patterns of police abuse bear stark similarities to patterns of abuse -- and impunity -- the U.S. military and its mercenaries are deploying today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both dynamics represent contempt for human rights and public accountability. Both dynamics are dangerously undemocratic.
Join survivors of police abuse, community organizations and police accountability advocates on Thursday at a community forum and organizing meeting to jumpstart the effort to hold violent officers accountable for recent incidents of police abuse against gays, lesbians, people of color and other oppressed constituencies.
As part of the broadening call for police accountability -- and on the eve of local preparations for Chicago's Annual Pride Parade on June 29 -- Amnesty International is mobilizing 2.5 million members worldwide to demand that Chicago enact police accountability measures that meet international human rights standards, thorugh global petition drives, a letter-writing campaign to Mayor Daley, and email postings to the city tourism website. We need to step up locally and push from the grassroots.
Police brutality has plagued Chicago for years, and recent scandals -- including the City's ongoing refusal to address police torture under former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and the recent indictments of six Special Operations Section officers on charges of corruption and brutality -- have only intensified public outrage. In one recent high-profile case, a federal jury awarded Coprez Coffie $4 million in a lawsuit against Chicago police after cops sodomized him with a screwdriver. No criminal charges were ever brought against the police. The response from Chicago's new 'reform' police commissioner? A severe uptick in the number of police shootings and his appointment of the former head if the Internal Affairs Division -- who stalled any meaningful investigation into the Special Operations Section -- as his new top lawyer.
Among the speakers and attendees at Thursday evening's public forum will be police torture survivor Darryl Cannon, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years for a crime he denies having committed, and activists who are working with family members in the most recent wave of police killings.
Sponsors of the June 19 actions include the following organizations:
In addition to the Gay Liberation Network, sponsors of the forum include the African American Police League, American Civil Liberties Union-Illinois, Amigas Latinas, Applied Research Center, Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Chicago Justice Project, Citizen’s Alert, 8th Day Center for Justice, Equality IL, Illinois Coalition for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago, National Association Against Racist and Political Repression, Tamms Year Ten Campaign, University of Chicago Human Rights Program