Quick Hit Michael Joyce Monday March 21st, 2016, 3:41pm

Citywide Demonstrations Call For Chicago Police Accountability

Demonstrators blocked traffic outside of Chicago's 8th District police station, 3420 W. 63rd St., on Sunday, calling for increased police accountability and the passage of the FAIR COPS ordinance.

The Freedom through Accountability, Investigation, and Reform for Community Oversight of Policing Services, or FAIR COPS Act, asks for an independent auditor to investigate claims of police brutality.

The auditor would be independent of the mayor's office, and would be able to demand police reform. While there are similar positions in New York and Los Angeles, there is no Chicago counterpart that provides this kind of oversight.

Danielle Buhuro, pastor of Lincoln Memorial United Church of Christ, told Progress Illinois what she hopes the act will achieve.

"First, we want the police to be concerned about unfair arrests based on racism," said Buhuro. "Second, they should be concerned about what we call the bad apples in the bunch that practice unfair arrests. Finally, we want the police to have a formal process that weeds out persons in the police department who have a history of police brutality."

Also at the event was Samuel Paul Jr., youth pastor at Lincoln Memorial United Church of Christ.

Paul said Chicago needs an independent auditor, and the delayed prosecution of the officer involved in the shooting of Laquan McDonald is indicative of a broader effort to suppress inappropriate police behavior.

"It's the Fraternal Order of Police, the mayor's office, the police board, city of Chicago officials, the state's attorney's office," said Paul. "They're all working together to make sure that information and videos are suppressed and people around the world don't get an opportunity to see what really amounts to police executions."

"We're protesting for an independent auditor for police complaints," Paul went on to say. "It doesn't have to sit in the mayor's lap, it doesn't have to sit in the lap of people appointed by the mayor."

Paul drew correlations between the lynchings of African Americans in the past and McDonald's shooting death.

"One of the things that often happened with lynchings is their bodies were riddled with bullets. So when I look at Laquan McDonald and the shooting, that's reminscent of something that happened almost a century ago but that still exists. Not much has changed."

Paul stressed the best way to fight back is through voting. He cited Kim Foxx's unseating of Anita Alvarez as Cook County State's Attorney as an example of voting having a positive impact. He believes the same will happen to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"At this point people are beginning to realize their vote matters, they can vote people out of office. I think ultimately the mayor of Chicago is going to lose his job. If he chooses not to run for re-election, that may be the smartest move he's made in a while."

Paul said it's important that the youth be aware of the political landscape and what they are facing, and it's also important they actively fight for equality.

Darrius Dubose, an 18-year-old from Dolton, participated in the protest. Dubose recalled a time that he felt like his race led to unfair treatment from the police.

"I got into a car accident back in September," said Dubose. "It wasn't my fault. I was the only black person in the equation. The guy who actually caused the accident, they let him go free and they gave me a ticket."

"When I argued with the police about it, they called backup, like four or five cars showed up."

Dubose said his mother was able to calm the situation before it escalated.

With some statistics finding black Chicagoans are 9.4 times more likely to be shot by police than white Chicagoans, Dubose said he's more worried about an encounter with police than an encounter with a gang member.

Ciara Walker, congregational organizer with the Community Renewal Society, said the police changed their tone towards the demonstrators after the media arrived.

"They were talking real greasy and reckless to us, saying if we didn't hurry up the movement, they would arrest the children," Walker said. "When the media came, they changed the tone and asked that we move out of the streets, but they didn't threaten to arrest us."

The protest was organized by the Community Renewal Society and occurred alongside similar demonstrations throughout the city, including actions at the CPD's 12th district and 24th district.

The street blocking lasted just under an hour, with no incident between police and protesters.


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