Google Police Brutality Chicago and you will have enough reading material to shock you into action. With the rise of the internet, informing sharing, and the ease with which one can record on their cell phone, it is becoming rather impossible to ignore the epidemic we have here in Chicago and around the nation. Black and brown people are fatally wounded by police at an alarming rate; the racism and stereotyping involved in these fatal encounters is blatantly evident.
So what are we to do when our police, our ‘protectors’, are the ones shooting our black and brown brothers and sisters? What are we to do when the police are the ones sending a disproportionate amount of black males into modern slavery? What do we do when cops who know nothing of the neighborhood to which they are assigned go around terrorizing those neighbors based on racist assumptions? What do we do when black and brown folks like Sandra Bland are pulled over for a ‘traffic violation’ and end up dead? To my white-identifying readers, can you imagine what it is like to see the lights of a police car and know, even though you are not sure what in the world you could have done wrong, that you might die? Can you imagine that fear? Imagine the fear of a mother sending her children to school, fearing not only her children being caught in gang violence but also the police gunning them down, assuming their skin color makes them a suspect, one not worthy of innocent until proven guilty. Our people are dying, and the world is watching; we must take action.
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is doing just that– taking action– and they need your help. Much of their focus has been on the south and west sides of Chicago, where police brutality has been so predominant. But, in recent months, many Northside community and activist groups have shown an interest in supporting the CAARPR’s CPAC legislation, which proposes an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council.
There is a lot that must be done here in the City of Chicago and across the nation to put an end to police brutality and to infuse justice into our criminal ‘justice’ [penal] system. We need our police officers to be trained in how to defuse tense situations. They need to be culturally competent and sensitive. They need to know how to protect themselves, yes, but they also need to not see others, especially people of color, as an automatic threat. They need training in how to handle folks with mental health issues. They need to stop coddling white male killers and give suspects of color the same benefit of the doubt and basic human respect and dignity which they seem to easily give to white males. But, if you are anything like me, you get tired of talking about what we could or should be done and want to know what you can do to help. This is where CPAC comes into play.
A Civilian Police Accountability Council would ensure that real Chicagoans, of all backgrounds, would oversee and judge the actions of our police force, holding them to their promise to serve and protect, and not just the wealthy and white. It would be a step in the right direction– a step toward taking back our city and making it one for the people and by the people. Community involvement and oversight are key if we are to take back our city from the corrupt elite who want to use it as collateral in their own game of power and privilege. Communities should decide how they want to be policed.
The CPAC would have the authority to appoint the Superintendent of the Police and rewrite the police rule book, including all use of force guidelines, Standard Operating Procedures, Rules, and General Orders. CPAC would investigate police shootings and provide the much needed increased transparency of all investigations, including police involved shootings, and greater statistical analysis of demographic information of complaints by type and victim. They would be the final authority regarding discipline in the Chicago Police Department and would completely take over the job of and eliminate the useless, corrupt Independent Police Review Authority (IRPA). A full text of CPAC legislation is available at: naarpr.org/legistlation-create-cpac/
If I have piqued your curiosity and you want to learn more about CPAC and why Rahm continues to push back against it, come to the Heartland Cafe at 7000 N. Glenwood tonight (Tuesday September 13th) from 7-9pm.
With your support, the people will win!