Chicago, IL – This week, Charlotte, North Carolina, became the fourth city in the U.S. in the past two years to experience an uprising against the police murder of Black people. The rebellion in Charlotte is a response to the killing of Keith Scott, a father shot while waiting in his car for his son.
Chicago joined the list of cities holding solidarity actions. Called by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, a Sept. 22 speak out took place on Chicago’s West Side which drew 50 people.
The gathering had a dual role, as it was also a protest against Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as he presented his plan to address violence in Chicago. Emanuel began by making the event invitation only, refusing to allow activists or even community residents that weren’t vetted by the mayor’s office. With his by-invitation-only crowd, he said nothing about the crisis that caused the majority of the people of Chicago to agree he should resign: his role in the cover-up of the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Instead, he spoke only about the rise of gun violence in the neighborhoods where the unemployed, the poor and the oppressed nationality communities live. Emanuel’s only solution was to hire 1000 more cops.
Before that, he had pronounced that the Chicago police were “rebuilding critical relationships with the community, especially communities of color.” And then, “our police department is on a path to earn the respect of every community in the City of Chicago.” When this came over the life feed, the crowd outside erupted. Frank Chapman of the Alliance called out, “This mayor is a criminal. He should be on trial. He covered up the murder of Laquan McDonald for 400 days.”
The crowd took up the chant, “16 shots and a cover-up,” referring to the number of bullets fired into the body of the slender young man, Laquan McDonald, by the racist copy Jason Van Dyke.
LaCreshia Birts of the Alliance led the gathering in rejecting directly Emanuel’s claim that the police are respected in the nationally oppressed Black and Chicano/Mexicano communities. “No respect without accountability,” she shouted, and people took it up in agreement.
Most in the crowd held signs that read, “Enact CPAC now.” CPAC is the elected, Civilian Police Accountability Council that is uniting the movement here as a way to stop police crimes.
As the protest ended, everyone present pledged to be at the city council on Thursday morning, Sept. 29, the next time Emanuel has scheduled to present a packet of what several speakers called, “fake police accountability legislation.”