*Note: The following transcription is semi-verbatim. Check audio above for original sourcing.
Alderman Joe Moore: Again, I apologize for the mispronouncement. Please come up to the microphone. Make sure you look at Mr. O'Neal to know that your time is running short. Please proceed.
Dr. Stephanie Baker
I urge you to look beyond the recommendations of the police accountability task force. I have a few concerns.
First the recommendations don't address the police board. IPRA oversees one to two percent of all complaints received by police. All of the complaints are cops investigating cops.
Second, the police accountability task force proposes an agency that does not have authority. I don't know if I trust City Hall to negotiate with the fraternal order of police. I am a cis, hetero white lady on the north side of Chicago, and I fear the cops. If you're in the city of Chicago and you spent roughly four million dollars a day on police, while you divest in community. There's schools, there's mental health services. What could we be doing with that money? You're using a half a billion dollars over the last decade to pay for police brutality lawsuits. In 2005 and 2008 and 2011 there have been 65,000 complaints against police. 8500 cops over a decade have received complaints. 55,000 Chicagoans are either getting it wrong or are misinterpreting their relationships with the police. I don't believe that. Between 2012 and 2015 CPD shot 702 Chicagoans. Since 2011 there hasn't been a single fatality of a Chicago police officer.
What I encourage you to move beyond recommendations made by the task force and rethink what we can do as a society. We need to rebuild trust. We need to put power back in the hands of the community. Thank you.
I hope you hear very loud and hear very clearly. I am one of those torture victims it is a shame that I think I see six human beings on that stage. None of you ever suggested that the torture victims of Jon Burge be investigated by the Department of Children and Family Services. Why in the world. Alderman Joe Moore, we ain't make this no secret. I've done 28 years inside prison of a natural sentence as a kid. Condemned, I was told I was the scum of the earth. You let the real criminals run around in society, while you locked me up and stole my youth. So many of you and especially alderman, wonder why criminals won't go away. You took my youth. You made for people like me, once they've gotten out of prison, to survive.
You have over one hundred million people locked up in the prison system. Some of them are juveniles. It's child abuse. People say they're going to make changes, but they ain't making changes. The bottom line is you torture children.
The new system that replaced OPS is even worse.
I live in Rogers Park. There are a couple of things I want to tell you to explain my problem with the police. I was with somebody who had a bunch of law enforcement friends. I was bullied, harassed, denied the ability to live a normal life. I moved around a bunch. I went to Chicago to hide from his cop relatives and heal a little. My truck was surged with no warrant, I've done nothing wrong. I had 6000 stolen. My vehicle was stolen and ransomed back to me. The Chicago Police wanted to dig into what was happening to me. They've made my life a living hell ever since I've been here.
I went to the FBI office to complain because I didn't want to be harassed anymore. The Chicago Police found out about this and decided to terrorize me further.
Do they have anything better to do than to terrorize somebody who had three strokes?
Yvonna, West Ridge resident
I'm a youth from West Ridge. Personally growing up I had strong relationships with police in the community. Sometimes they would come to the park and we'd build relationships. We are all a part of society and it is our duty to contribute to society. As humans we all make mistakes and there are consequences, but I think we all can learn from them. The first steps to make change means we have to take responsibility for our actions. I think we should instill people coming together.
My question to you is, how are you going to bring people together?
Morgan, Rogers Park resident
I am a resident of Rogers Park. I want to keep things simple. I see things in black and white. I don't have any questions for you. I have a message for you. When I see you in uniform, you may as well have a sheet on. This shit makes no sense. The things you see. The things you witness. How can you stand beside them? We know there are societies who stand by and look for one another. You stand by and let someone shoot a seventeen year old sixteen times. Really? Sixteen shots. It's plain and simple. Why are you shooting a kid that's already gone? You pieces of shit.
When I see you I see sheets coming for us.
Leroy Michael Elliott
I am here with the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression. I stand here for Michael Brown, who died on this day a couple of years ago. Massacred in Ferguson because he was black.
You all have described your idea of how police should be held accountable. You talked about putting in a new agency and appointing a new monitor. We reject all appointments. You're appointments are totally rejected by community. We want total community control of the police. CPAC is an ordinance is in the public safety committee right now. We expect you all to co-sponsor it.
I want to talk about what CPAC will do. There will be elected representatives from 22 police districts. They have the power to appoint and reject the police superintendent, rewrite the police rulebooks, including all use of force guidelines, operations and provide transparency for all shootings and statistical analysis of all demographic information of complaints by type and victims. They will thoroughly investigate all police complaints based on constitutional and human rights law. They will be the final authority to determining discipline for entire Chicago Police Department. They will refer all cases to the federal grand jury.
CPAC will replace the rubberstamp agency IPRA and the police board.
It is the only reasonable solution to police accountability. It is important to erase any thoughts of appointing anybody because it's not going to work. Power to the people.
Mark Capler, Northside Action for Justice
You have to understand your appointments, your appointed boards and commissions have less than zero credibility with the city of Chicago.
We understand what appointments mean. The will of the people, the will of the community is entirely disregarded. We have an appointed school board, which has bankrupted our city and laid off our teachers.
Alan Mills, Executive Director of Uptown People's Law Center
What's always been a problem is what is happening behind closed doors. We have a culture of corruption in the Chicago Police Department. Worse we have a police force that treats neighborhoods and entire communities as occupied territory. They're treated as neighborhoods that need to be slaughtered, not ones to be protected.
It's the simple stuff you need to focus on. The drops. Those who get arrested for marijuana. It happens every time at 26th and California and everybody knows it. Most of those cases get dismissed. But it's the simple things we need to focus on. We need to have consequences. You need to change that culture of corruption at the ground level.
Arrests are not what makes us safe. There needs to be a network of social support. That's what makes us safe. We're arresting so many people from specific neighborhoods that it destroys those social ties in those neighborhoods. Schools and mental health clinic services are being destroyed, and those are what actually make a community safer. That's what needs to be fixed here, not the name on the door.
Bedford West, Community Renewal Society
Good evening. I'm here to talk about the Fair Cops ordinance. Fair Cops is here to make sure we have a secured policy in place to make sure that whoever replaces IPRA gives power to the people and has clear transparency. We talked to the community and listened to the community and what the main obstacles we heard was that there needs to be a measure in place that prevents a new agency from being corrupted by the government that we have.
The concerns that we have here are that elected bodies could be corrupted by money or influence. Elections can be bought. What we want to establish is an independent auditor. Anybody who comes into this role must be independent and cannot be from the police department or be related to a police officer.
Political forces in Chicago can shift all the time, and what we propose wants to have staying power. We want all our reports from this office to be published publicly. If recommendations from this office are not met, we will make this available to the public. I encourage to co-sponsor this ordinance.
Steve Craig, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Police Oppression
Good evening. I am here in support of the Chicago Police Accountability Council. This tisk tisk attitude of some councilman that the mayor will never go for that. Well, of course not. We're not gonna go for the mayor. This is a democracy; people want control.
Warren Grimsly, Green Party
I am here to stay that the Green Party stands with CPAC. We want to recruit people to protect the communities that they serve.
Barbara Waller, SURGE
I have biracial grand sons, and I am scared for them. The Chicago Police Department needs to become an anti racist police department. This goes way beyond diversity training. The Chicago Police Department must realize the systemic problem in our institution. This must change. It's not about individual officers: it's about police officers being held accountable and holding each other accountable to both communities of color and white communities. They have a lot to overcome, a lot to be embarrassed about. Now is the time to dismantle the racist insitution that is the Chicago Police Department today. Any boards appointees or city officials must have a commitment to anti-racism if there is going to be accountability. What are our priorities?
I have one question for all of you. Will these reforms bring back Rekia Boyd? Will it bring back Laquan McDonald? Will it bring back Paul O'Neal? Will it stop another killing of a black or brown killing in this country? As a Filipina, I know a little too well what police brutality and militarization look like. Police shot straight into a crowd, killing hundreds, including elders, women and children. I can't say that anything is different in Chicago. In Chicago I've seen black children handcuffed, pressed up against a cop car. These are children. Another one of those children could be another Rekia, Laquan or Paul.
One I think this is a really impressive display of people participating in the democratic process. Depending on what you all do will indicate whether or not the democratic process still works. CAPS meetings are a perfect public forum for community to engage with police. Based on the CAPS meetings I've attended, although they are very well organized by well intentioned people, there is an attitude of any questioning of police about any records, such as how many number of complaints there are in the district, are highly discouraged. I believe that's wrong.
Kathleen Ellsworth, Rogers Park resident
All I have to say is that I have a very strong opinion about overtime as a solution for stopping problems. I work at a first responder type of facility where we work twelve hour shifts. And that's fine. We'd work four days straight and have three days off. I work long hours but not too many hours. Research is out there that exhausted people make bad judgment. That last thing I want is someone to come to my emergency on their sixth day working 12 hours with six hours of sleep.
There are lot of people here talking about police accountability. Accountability is an after the fact issue. What hasn't been addressed but needs to be is the study of police culture and ways to stop, reduce and reverse police crime. Safety is an extraordinarily strong issue. For crime to be reduced and the police culture to be reversed. The culture, the code of blue silence. There has to be a way to study this culture to prevent crime before the fact.
Megan Selvey, Rogers Park resident
I am really upset that we even called this meeting. We're drowning in the stories and facts of police murders and police violence. How many stories and facts do you need to actually change? As an educator, I am required to report all kinds of data about my teaching, performance. The students and these classrooms are on the line. There is another system that's hemorrhaging money. I teach sexual education and relationships, and a lot of what my students talk about is their relationships toward the police. Why in th world are we throwing money at a system that has a terrible record? Forty percent of our city budget goes to CPD. Stop funding them. There's a whole long list of people protesting everyday for money for actual services that help people. Fund those instead.
Alderman: In response to your question many people wanted to come here to speak.
Selvey: I want some action.
I'd like to visit a very famous, and I feel crucial case of accountability that happened 800 years ago in Britain. The king was taxing the barons maddeningly, foot bills for his wars in France. The barons were incredibly taxed and stressed over his lack of accountability. They were insistent and persistent that, although that they did not draw blood, if he didn't change there would be consequences. If the king would not agree to certain accountability, they had a meeting with then. Those minutes we call the Magna Carta. It's of my opinion that the aldermen and women of Chicago can be as brave, insistent and persistent as those barons 800 years ago, and to not let the mayor run rampant.
Sam Shay, Rogers Park resident
I want to lift up whatever folks said. I want to lift up the names of Rekia Boyd, Paul O'Neal and Pierre Lowry. What I also want to lift up too is that Homan Square is still open. Why is that not closed yet? I'd say that should be a priority. 7000 cases have been reported of abuse and torture, and it's claimed that there are double of those unreported cases. So it's historical not just in terms of Burge. I'm a future teacher of history and I want to make a historical connection that this is a system that has reiterated itself over and over again of violence against black people. Basically when slavery was abolished, it was abolished except as punishment for a crime. That's in the amendment. Keep that in mind. Systems of criminalization and incarceration are ways creating violence against black people. The first police were slave catchers. I also want to make a connection with the Cook County Sheriff. I walking the other day near my house near Morse avenue, and I saw five officers with one black man who was scared. There was a blue tent. What we found out was the Sheriff was running a sting operation essentially bating people, send a young girl to talk to them and solicit them. The men that girl talked to even if they weren't interested in having sex were either ticketed 500 dollars or had a court appearance in Bridgeview. My question to you is this: how does this make people safe?
Hi, I am actually an active military officer and so has my husband. In the six years that we've lived here my husband has been pulled over at least two times for fitting the description. If he had not practiced temperance, I could be a widow here standing here today. I also want to say I endorse CPAC. You had these framing questions to guide us in this hearing. They're laughable, but I'll go with it.
What should be the qualifications of investigators who work at the new investigative agency?
-I say CPAC.
What should the agency do to build credibility and trust in the community?
I say truly engage. That requires a dialogue, not this one way dialogue we have today. Again, have you heard of CPAC?
After looking at these documents, it's a foregone conclusion. You say the replacement for IPRA cannot wait, but you say we have to have it by October. When have we ever had a budget happen that fast?
Participation implies collaboration. Design implies creating a new framework. We need engagement and right now this is laughable and it seems to insult our intelligence. If you truly want to build credibility and trust, engage the citizens.
Pastor Marcus Tent, Granville Ave. United Methodist Church
I understand the pain and 400 years of oppression that lead that sister to how up her middle finger in anger. I want the alderman to take off their aldermen hat for a second and I want the cops to talk off their cop hat for a second and hear my testimony.
I have three sons, one 17, one 14 and one 19. I raised my children in the police department. I raised my children in CAPS. I raised my children to run to the police instead of away from them. That was all taken away when sixteen shots killed Laquan. Nineteen years of hard work were taken away when their young friend who used to play in my backyard Paul O'Neal was gunned down for running away from the police. I ask you to put yourself in my shoes. What do I tell my children? Yeah I could use my theological education to give them all these words of encouragement from the Bible, but I am a parent first. I am concerned about my children because all of the work that I did, all the times they did singing the police department are now taken away from them. Whenever we see police they tense up now, even when they are with me. They say, "Dad, they are out to kill me?"
My son goes away to college at Jackson State in Jackson Mississippi where they still hang the confederate flag. He says he feels more comfortable there in a city like Jackson, MS than he does here in Chicago, IL, and that’s a shame.
I need answers for my children. How do make my black sons feel comfortable in a city that they love when they fear they will be gunned down?
Lastly, I was looking at my Twitter today, and they are now making, I hope it's a hoax, mandatory for our children to learn about how to deal with police. Why don't we reverse that and make it mandatory for our police to learn more about our children?
Andy Jasper, Edgewater resident
Lots of sharp words here folks. I like it. I want to tell you guys a quick story. I rode a bike in this city. A few years back, I was riding my bike up on the sidewalk in Bryn Mawr to get Starbucks. I was only on the sidewalk for a short period of time, but needless to say a police officer in a cruiser comes up to the side of me, stops and gets out of his car. This guy is coming up to me to put my hands up against the car, said if I didn't comply I would be arrested, said a litany of profanities. I spent five or ten minutes speaking in low tones to de-escalate this gentleman so he wouldn't beat me up or arrest me. I got out of that encounter with a 50 dollar ticket. The next day I was getting ready for work. I stop by the bridge to smoke a cigarette, and this same cop from yesterday walks up to me. He's a beat cop in Bryn Mawr I see him everyday. I was scared and nervous that he was going to beat me up. He starts talking to me a little bit and at a certain point he says, "I'm sorry about yesterday. I just get really angry sometimes. I really don't know why I do that"
I remember it occurred to me in that moment, like, "Maybe you should figure that out."
That's not the first police mistake and it's not the last. I don't know if you noticed but I'm white. I have a BFA in Acting. Pretty much I was raised to be respectful, and I get harassed multiple times. It's not lost on me that if I was a different skin color or talked to him in a slightly different way it wouldn't have been his baton that got drawn, it would have been a gun. It would have been an arrest and criminal charges regardless of what I had done. I would have ruined my life.
So maybe would should look into the mental health services of not just people in the city, which is woefully underfunded, but of the officers as well. We need to make sure their health and stress is dealt with.
I mean this sincerely. I get it. It's a hard job. But we task these people with going into neighborhoods and as other people have mentioned here, suppressing violence.
They are trained to treat everyone as if they are the enemy. And that's bled over to all of us now. All of us are a part of this now.
Speaker: As they are killing and stealing our property.
As they are killing and stealing our property, the young woman just said. It's got to change folks.
These youth are scared and are afraid of officers. When I think of accountability, it has to be monitored by the citizens. I support laws that ensure police officers do their jobs legally and training that reduce the fear officers face and try to understand their fear of black youth. They need to learn about systemic oppression, stereotypes and learn that they can have a repore with these black youths in the community.