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Chicago: Community packs police board meeting demanding firing of five officers involved in murder of Dexter Reed

By staff

Chicago protest demands justice for Dexter Reed. | Fight Back! News/Alec Ozawa

Chicago, IL – On April 18, the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, alongside other organizations in the Black liberation movement, called a rally at Chicago Police Department Headquarters ahead of the police board meeting to demand that the five officers who fired 96 shots and murdered Dexter Reed, Jr. be fired, indicted and convicted.

200 activists and supporters from all corners of the movement in Chicago, from torture survivors to family members of those killed by police violence, as well as those from the Palestinian liberation movement, converged on CPD HQ to make clear to the powers that be that Chicagoans will no longer stand for police terror.

Led by Kobi Guillory, co-chair of the Chicago Alliance, protesters repeatedly erupted into chants of “16 shots, 96 rounds, no more cover-ups in this town,” to draw the connection between the killing and cover-up of Dexter Reed’s murder with the one of Laquan McDonald in 2015, when CPD officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 shots and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. In the aftermath, then-Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and then-State's Attorney Anita Alvarez went to great lengths to cover up the footage. Years later, and the murder and cover-ups in Chicago continue.

“Frankly, I’m sick of this shit,” said Chantel Brooks, mother of Michael Westley, 15-year-old boy who CPD killed in 2013. “Every time somebody else dies, it ain’t do nothing but bring back memories. It’s hurtful. When is this gonna change? When are our kids gonna stop getting preyed on? When are they going to stop getting killed? When does a Black life really fucking matter? My son was a good kid, and they shot him in the fucking back like a fucking animal, and he never got justice.”

In addition to the demand on the police board to fire the five cops who murdered Reed, the lead organizers of the response to Reed’s killing put forward three other demands: Fire Police Superintendent Snelling; end pretextual traffic stops, and disband the TACT teams, which operate as death squads that maraud through Black neighborhoods with impunity. In fact, it was a TACT team that conducted the pretextual traffic stop that resulted in Reed being killed. The TACT team that pulled him over claimed Reed wasn’t wearing a seat belt despite the fact that he wasn’t visible through his tinted windows.

After the rally, protesters filed into CPD headquarters to make their demands to fire the officers known to the police board.

“Dexter Reed should be here today,” Grace Patino, a member of CAARPR said. “The officers involved in the execution of Dexter Reed must be immediately fired and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. We need an immediate end to pretextual traffic stops, and Larry Snelling should be fired.”

Out of self-preservation, the police heavily limited the number of people who could attend the meeting. Those who couldn’t enter remained outside for the duration of the meeting, beating on drums and chanting for justice for Dexter Reed. After the meeting, with there being no doubt that the police board received the movement’s message loud and clear, attendees gathered outside for more chants and to discuss its next steps.

The three remaining demands of firing the superintendent, ending pretextual stops, and disbanding the tact teams fall within the purview of the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA), a police accountability body created by the 2021 ECPS ordinance, the passage of which was led by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. With power over CPD policy, the CCPSA can end pretextual stops and disband the tact teams. And in the realm of the superintendent, the CCPSA can issue a no confidence vote, which would put a ball in Mayor Brandon Johnson’s court to decide if the superintendent should be fired. The movement will take these demands to the next CCPSA meeting on Thursday, April 25.

This upswell in response to Dexter Reed’s murder took place just as there was an upsurge in the movement for Palestine. Just days before the protest at CPD headquarters, the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine called a Tax Day march in downtown Chicago. At that march, CPD brutalized many, arrested 14 protesters, and charged four with felonies. Only days later, and in a growing testament to the convergence of the Black liberation and Palestinian liberation movement in Chicago, Arabs and Palestinians, many of whom were at the Tax Day protest or at the jail support in the aftermath of the arrests, also came to the Thursday rally at CPD headquarters to demand justice for Dexter Reed. The chant of “CPD, KKK, IOF they’re all the same” made the rounds throughout the evening.

“Our Palestinian and Arab communities will always stand in unconditional solidarity with the Black community,” said Rania Salem of the US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN). “We Palestinians know and understand all too well the dehumanization and brutality that Black and brown people in this country face, as our people in Palestine experience the same kind of dehumanization and violence from the US-supported, illegal military occupation and the racist, white supremacist, settler-colonial, Zionist state known as Israel.”

#ChicagoIL #IL #InJusticeSystem #PoliceBrutality #KillerCops #CAARPR #ECPS #CCPSA #USPCN