Friday, December 5, 2014

#PeopleOverPolice: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

Video doesn't lie, but police do
Recent years have found Chicago people in the streets again and again to put a stop to police racism, abuse, violence, murder . . .

In 2011, after the murder of Flint Farmer . . . 

In 2012, after the murder of Trayvon Martin . . .

In 2013, against the hellhole called Cook County Jail . . . 

. . . to name just a few . . . .

Last night hundreds marched for miles throughout the city -- the leading edge of awareness that is growing among EVERYBODY that we need to make big changes -- to our police, to our city government, to our community organizations, and to people's attitudes.

Whether you marched for 2 miles . . . or 6 miles . . . or 10 miles last night, you will have formed unforgettable impressions of this protest.

For me, the sit-downs in intersections throughout the city were essential for reinforcing my conviction that people DO have the assets we need to determine the future direction of our community -- that joint action is immensely POWERFUL.

IN CHICAGO: THIS is what democracy looks like!
(Photo courtesy FJJ)

Over the course of the march, mile after mile, I wondered, "When will some of Chicago's so-called political 'leaders' step forward and say something? What would it take for them to say, 'I get it,' and 'I'm going to do something' ?"

And I thought, "There's an election coming up! Is Rahm Emanuel really going to try to ignore this thing? This is just going to snowball, day after day . . . . "

By the time we were marching up Lake Shore Drive -- hundreds of us, arm in arm -- I thought, "Well, this is the perfect moment for some politician with guts to speak to this crowd." Imagine my disappointment when all I saw was a line of police.

Face-off at North Avenue
(abc7 Chicago photo)

That's it? That's the best they can do? Faced with a protest that is about the way our government only knows how to do one thing -- use force and violence to dominate and control citizens -- the only thing the City of Chicago could think to do was to have a confrontation?

I have to tell you: I have never seen such an energetic, smart, committed, diverse, young group of  activists. Last night would have been a perfect moment for someone similarly smart and committed who already serves in Chicago government to speak -- and listen; to lead.

This was an opportunity missed.

The solution to police racism, abuse, violence, and murder WILL include people power over the police. I'm convinced there will be a Civilian Police Accountability Council that is elected by the people in the local community and asserts the dominance and control of the people over the police -- instead of the other way around.

The only question: when all is said and done, how many career politicians in Chicago will have crashed and burned along the way because they couldn't or wouldn't step up and lead on this issue?


The Chicago Campaign for an Elected
Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC)

Related posts

The State's Attorney for the Chicago area finally got around to bringing a charge against a police officer who shot and killed a citizen. Why, I wondered, didn't Anita Alvarez charge him with murder? Then I remembered my Chicago vocabulary lesson.

(See Chicago Vocabulary Lesson: "Overcharging" and "Undercharging" )

In the city where I live, "normal" or "right" or "acceptable" has been given a brutal construction by the power structure:

Police encounter black man on street
Police shoot black man
Black man dies
(Business as usual in Chicago.)

 (See We need to get the police off the streets of Chicago. QED.)

As reported in the June 25 Chicago Sun-Times, "Hauad said police during an interrogation cut off the fronts of his gym shoes with a paper cutter and threatened to cut off his toes next if he didn’t confess. Police photos show Hauad’s gym shoes at first were in normal condition but later had their toe sections severed, just as Hauad said. Hauad also said he was slapped and beaten while in custody."

(See CHICAGO: Home of the Original "Air Jaime" Athletic Shoe )