Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

ECPS

By Kobi Guillory

Chicago People's Hearing on Police Crimes.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Chicago, IL – “You can't throw a stone and not hit someone who is affected by police torture and wrongful conviction here in Chicago, the torture capital of the United States,” said Merawi Gerima, a co-chair of the Campaign to Free Incarcerated Survivors of Torture (CFIST.)

Gerima was speaking at the annual People's Hearing on Police Crimes on Saturday, February 24, at the office of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) in Woodlawn neighborhood on the predominantly Black South Side.

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By Joe Iosbaker

Activist Jasmine Smith speaking in front of City Hall. | Fight Back! News/staff

Chicago, IL – “How do you spell racist? FOP!” The crowd of 50 protesters on the LaSalle Street side of Chicago City Hall were loud and determined, December 13. As usual when there is a vote in city council that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) cares about, there were extra cops on hand for intimidation. But the movement for police accountability had been standing up to the Chicago Police Department for decades.

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By Gabriel Miller

Chicago press conference demands City Council vote down an FOP-aligned arbitrator's decision.

Chicago, IL – In Chicago, the movement to stop police crimes is demanding city hall act to block the most recent attempt by the Fraternal Order of Police to undermine police accountability. Chicago organizers, district councilors and alderpersons spoke in a press conference Thursday September 14, to demand the Chicago City Council vote down an FOP-aligned arbitrator's decision to give officers accused of serious misconduct the choice of behind-closed-doors arbitration instead of going before the Chicago Police Board.

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By staff

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.

#ChicagoIL #CAARPR #ECPS #GangDatabase

By staff

Chicago, IL – Last week, Black labor leaders representing seven unions with a combined membership of 126,000 members, most of whom live in the city of Chicago, published a statement, “Community and Faith Leaders Support the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance (ECPS).”

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