Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression on the Removal of the Gang Database
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from Kobi Guillory, Co-Chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.
On Thursday, September 7, the people's movements won another historic victory with the removal of the gang database by a unanimous vote of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA). We express our utmost congratulations and gratitude to all the organizations and community members who fought for years to erase the gang database, and to everyone who fought to pass the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance which made the CCPSA a reality. Our movement is powerful and it is growing.
The gang database was a tool of racial profiling which targeted Black and brown people as young as 9 years old by labeling them as gang members, creating barriers to housing and employment and increasing the frequency of violent interactions with police. Youth organizations have led the struggle against the gang database since 2017 and managed to stop earlier iterations of the database from being implemented by the previous mayor, Lori Lightfoot.
Erasing the gang database is exactly the kind of policy change ECPS was intended to enact and make permanent. When Lightfoot tried to instate a new version of the database in 2022, the newly formed CCPSA put a stop to it, and that same Commission, led by community and labor organizer Anthony Driver, scrapped the database altogether on September 7th.
In recent years we have seen monumental wins in the struggle for police accountability such as the passage of ECPS in July.
2021; the elections of Brandon Johnson, progressive alderpersons and a majority of pro accountability District Councilors in February and April this year; and freedom for survivors of police torture and wrongful conviction such as the Hernandez brothers. However, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which fights tooth and nail to maintain police impunity, will try to undo all our victories. We encourage all our allies in the movement to stay ready for the police to try reinstating the gang database through some other avenue, and to fight against the FOP's current attempts to bypass accountability by referring even the most severe cases of misconduct to private arbitration instead of the public Police Board.
As we celebrate this win, now is also the time to further consolidate the gains of ECPS by getting more people to engage with the CCPSA and their local District Councilors, pushing policies such as the Peace Book and Treatment Not Trauma, and opposing all efforts of the FOP to undermine the new system of police accountability. This victory, like all people's victories, has come through unity in the struggles of many diverse communities across the city. We need to maintain this unity as we continue to struggle for the empowerment of the people to truly hold the police accountable.