*Note: The following transcription is semi-verbatim. Check audio above for original sourcing.
So without further ado we're going to get started and I would like to welcome the Aldermen to introduce themselves at this point in time.
[All Aldermen introduce themselves]: I’m Alderman Scott Waguespack (32nd Ward), Alderman Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), Alderman John Arena (45th Ward), Alderman Rick Munoz (22nd Ward), Alderman Toni Foulkes (16th Ward), Alderman David Moore (17th Ward), Alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th ward)—and we’ll go ahead and kick it off with a legislative overview by Alderman John Arena and Alderman Roderick Sawyer they’re going to talk about what’s been proposed, what they're expecting for the mayor and they want to hear from you as far as what you like to see as they drive this legislation
Thank you, I really appreciate appreciate your assisting us in this task. As we discuss the potential legislative agenda. The aim of the Public Engagement ensures that as we develop legislation around police reform It must be observant of best practices developed in major cities like Los Angeles, New York City as well as community informed so that it speaks to the problems that are specific to Chicago. We want to speak to the problems and culture that exist in law enforcement and part of that process is trying to help the community be part of the process of changing the role of our police officers in the communities and build trust between people and the police.
Real reform will take the cooperation of all affected parties, real reform should bring relief to the people of Chicago and it should also make better law enforcement agents. Meaningful changes will have to address long term systemic deficiencies that have resulted in division and tragedy we see on the streets today.
(Someone trying to interrupt: we’re gonna – not right now – we’re going to have an opportunity for everyone to speak, we just want to set the tone and the pace for what we're trying to do and then we will allow you to ask questions. The major legislative efforts we’re focusing on are a fully independent and effective body of oversight and investigation.)
(Lady from crowd asks: Excuse me one second is this different from the police accountability report that was put out by the mayor, is this different from that. Alderman replies: yes. Lady asks: is this also different from what the department of justice is doing. Alderman says: yes it is. This is an initiative of the Progressive Caucus of the City Council. Lady: when you say progressive caucus, is that the same as the Black Caucus. Alderman: Some people, I mean Roderick Sawyer from the sixth ward is the chair of the Black Caucus, some members of the Progressive Caucus are members of the other caucus. Lady: is this centered around dismantling IPRA? Alderman: ok this whole agenda ma'am that you are right now taking over, can you let me finish my statements and many of your questions will be answered, thank you.)
I’ll just start over on this. The major legislative efforts we are focusing on are a fully independent and effective body of oversight in this investigation, the establishment of an inspector general of the Chicago police department to ensure and enforce the highest standards of professional ethics and observation of the law and codes of conduct. In the community oversight body made up of Chicago citizens that will help direct the future of the Chicago Police Department.
Meaningful reform to correcting and training of law enforcement especially as it relates to police interaction with the public. In particular efforts we have pushed for as a caucus on crisis intervention training for every officer and eventually every city employee. Clear and succinct codes of conduct and process for grievances against law enforcement agents as well as clear directives for addressing and disciplining officer misconduct. This is an ongoing process. We want to be as fully informed of all community concerns and experiences in order to properly address them through legislation.
We invite you to make us aware of any information you feel is necessary to the process, that is the reason we're here tonight. I want to take a second I understand [Alderman] Willie Cochran is here. You’re welcome to join us on the panel, thank you for joining us.
Buenas Tardes. Let me be clear, this is the beginning of a process, the P.A.T.F—the Police Accountability Task Force—set forth a series of recommendations. They were hoping to hear from you on what your opinion is on some of those recommendations and even beyond those recommendations, what should happen. We, the city council members that are here can take that back to the city council. We are not going to engage in a give and take of 'alderman are you for this.'
No, we want to hear from you first. This is the first of a series of five other meetings. I've given it has been noted. OK. I've got a translator in the back and just in case, double checking. But this is the beginning of a process so we'd like to hear from as many of you as possible and therefore we’ll move forward with our agenda.
Lady: Are you going to include the FOP contract, the FOP contract [cut off by moderator]: We got you, when we are going to get to the question and answer portion I promise I got you. Lady: are you going to include the FOP contract in these proceedings? Alderman: if you have an opinion. Lady: that’s not an opinion, that’s a question. Lady: Are you going to. Alderman: Everything is on the table. Yes. Everything is on the table. The answer is yes. Lady: Let’s talk about the FOP contract. Man shouts: talk about it.
Up next I want to bring up police accountability task force chair: Lori Lightfoot. The first time I had a chance to meet her was at the police board meeting where we talked about what attributes that people want to see in a superintendent. [Man shouts: they should get fired.] I was like you. I was I was skeptical and I didn't know what the intentions of that meeting were and what the outcomes would be right. Not too long after that police accountability task force released a report that was about two hundred pages long. And for the first time ever I saw in The Chicago Tribune the word racism and Chicago police in the same sentence.
A lot of your questions hopefully we can answer this evening. So just know we’ll let you know. [People interrupting. One second. Shouting. Settle down.] Without further ado, police task force chair, Lori Lightfoot.
I want to thank the progressive caucus for organizing this town hall meeting and I wan to thank all of you, so many people coming from across the city for coming out tonight. Obviously these issues of policing, the relationship between the police and the community and how we are going to conduct ourselves as a city are issues of great importance and clearly raise a lot of passion. I'm here to provide an overview of the work of the police accountability task force. I want to thank two other members of the task force who are here tonight, Sybil Madison Boyd and Victor Dixon and I also want to thank those of you who are in the audience who joined with us - a lot of you with skepticism but joined join with us on adventure that took us about five months, tremendous amount of hours, hundreds of interviews reviewing reams and reams of data from the police department, from the city and from across the country to get at what was happening in our city with the police department to separate fact from fiction and to understand best practices and the path forward. The lady here has talked already about the task force report.
Our objective was to hear from you to reflect what we heard from people all across the city and if you would have seen many of you had since the report was issued in mid April have come up to us and told us that the work that we did in fact reflected the experience of people across the city and I want to talk about that for a moment. There has been been a lot of discussion about race and policing and my own personal view is you can't talk about policing in a large urban environment without dealing with issues of race and ethnicity those questions of those issues and challenges really go back decades and we really worked hard to try to document that reality and that experience of people in this city because it's an important issue and one that if we don't face it head on, we will not be able to solve any of the other issues, the challenges related to policing. So I urge the members of the Progressive Caucus and other council members to when you're thinking about these issues in the in the ordinance you have to think about it in the in the context of race and policing because really that's an underpinning of a lot of what I think people have concerns about.
Now we've got a lot of criticism which I also want to address because people in the press and obviously the FOP has said the police accountability taskforce said the police officers are racist. I think that I want to take this opportunity to correct the record, that is not what we said, what we said it is that many people across the city particularly African-Americans in their experiences with the police believe that the police are fundamentally racist in the way that they deal with them. What we also said is looking at statistics from the police department, whether it's shootings, whether it’s tasers, whether it’s stops, whether it is a collection of contact cards that there is a significant disparity in the way in which African-Americans are treated by the police department and that is borne out by data, that is data that can't be disputed or run from. All of that has to be put into a context but the truth is is that no matter where you are as an African-Americans in this city you're going to have a different experience with the police than our white brothers and sisters, our Latino, Asian or other brothers and sisters and that is reality that also has to be recognized and dealth with as we think about moving forward in a progressive way.
What I also say though I think it's important for us in this moment, which is truly historic in our civic history, that we come together even if we have differences of opinion, differences of perspective, differences of approach, that we come together with the assumption of goodwill on the part of other people who are concerned about this issue so that we can come together for solutions that help move us forward. Again this is an issue that raises a lot of passion and I get that and there are a lot of people who rightfully are angry and frustrated with the way they have been treated by the police.. Treat it with the way that they've been treated by the police but we need to be mindful of the way in which we approach this issue. We need to be mindful of the way which we articulate our concerns because I hope and I think that all of you are here tonight because you care about solutions and that's what we should be about.
Now let me talk to you a little bit about the nuts and bolts of the task force. We organize ourselves in five working groups: they were community and police relations, legal oversight and accountability, early intervention and personnel concerns, deescalation and a video release policy. We made 126 individual recommendations and I want to put that number out there because there’s been a lower number, 76, that was floated. The number of recommendations, 176, we specifically came together multiple times as working groups to put together a list of recommendations that were intended to be a mosaic, they were not intended to be cherry picked and taken one at a time. Each of them is a building block on something else important and we think that's important for the council and and those who are going to be crafting the legislation to recognize. Now that doesn't mean that everything has to move forward at the same time. Those things, some things can be sequenced. But the the plan of the task force was for these recommendations to be taken as a whole. We tried to put together again things that reflected the realities, things that were drawing upon best practices from other cities because a lot of other cities and many come to mind, have gone through this process itself but it's important to take these together and not trying to isolate and cherry pick them.
So let me give you a couple data points about what our process was. We heard from more than one thousand organizations and individuals over the life of our task force with 46 working group members. 750 different people attended the four public forums that we held, we conducted more than one hundred interviews we reached 95 community groups, 63 elected officials and 83 religious organizations. We talked a little about what we've heard about from the community and if you've seen the report and I urge all of you, it’s still up on our website chicagopatf.org. Take a look at the report, take a look at the executive summary, look at the recommendations. A couple of overarching findings.
One of the things that was I think most concerning to us and many of you have said this for decades, for years and know it firsthand was we felt that there was an absence of cultural accountability within the police department. That stemmed from the leadership, the collective bargaining agreements - that there was no effective of systematic management tool to address accountability within the department. The disciplinary systems were problematic and that there was no meaningful community involvement in any of these issues. We believe that one of the things that's really, the things that are important moving forward to be thinking about is recruitment, training and policing priorities. Let me talk about each of those.
Sadly, we still remain one of the most segregated cities in America but we have to deal with that reality when we think about policing and because we recruit from segregated neighborhoods where people, regardless of what their color is, may not have dealt with somebody who is different from them as peer before they get into the police department. We have to recognize that path and be smarter about the way that we think about recruiting and clearly we have to be smarter about the way we think about training. One of the things that Sybil and Victor’s group along with [?] Stone were really focused on was a concept of cultural literacy - the notion that we want to make sure that regardless of where our recruits hail from in the city, that they have the cultural literacy to go into any neighborhood and police and a lot of what that means is two things in particular - what it means even if you're going into a high crime neighborhood, not to treat everybody in that neighborhood like you're a criminal. [Claps.]
It means affirmatively reaching out to the people of goodwill in those neighborhoods to identify them, to work with them, to support them and lift them up and making sure that the policing policies and practices actually are responsive to the needs of the people in those neighborhoods and not some policy or practice that is composed external to the people and enforced upon them. On training, additionally we believe and recommend to the community members they be part of the training of the police department. Other cities across the country to do this. Again it's not rocket science but in order to learn about the community, you need to engage the people who live in those communities. Community involvement should be an intrinsic part of the training of every police officer, not just the new recruits that come in but also continuing education if you will of training and these principles have to be part of the overarching policing priorities for the police department and we’ve given very specific recommendations on that and these are important because these issues impact the entire Chicago community in significant ways and clearly fundamental reforms are needed.
The key findings regarding police-community relations, a lack of acknowledging of racist history in the CPD history, lack of acknowledgement about entrenched biases that exist today. Many of you who work for companies know that long ago companies got smart about the fact that it was important to have a diverse workforce but diversity doesn't happen overnight and diversity means that we also have to educate ourselves about each other's differences and respect those differences. I talked before about cultural literacy but implicit in that, no pun intended, is the notion of unconscious bias, which we all have and it's not different in the police department and it's critically important if we're really going to rebuild the trust between the police and the community that we start employing some of these very well tested techniques that the private sector uses except within the police department and I think that's also very important.
I would be remiss if I didn't talk at least briefly about the interaction of the police department with our youth. We've heard from young people, particularly young men of color, all across the city about the challenges that they have faced just walking down the street, being outside of school, assumptions that they believe have been made about them because they dress in a certain way, they wear their clothing their hair or they listen to music or they're associated with other people we have to break down those barriers, we have to listen to our young people and a part of the progress that has to be made is understanding that youth are valuable and valued, they perceive policing in a very different way and we've got to educate police officers about things like trauma and the respect for our young people. If we lose a generation of young people who grow up having ZERO respect for the police, we're going to be a sadder country as a city for it and we will be poor for it. We've got to rebuild the trust and where that starts in my view with raising our young people as folks who can contribute something of value and not simply dangerous thugs.
Let me talk also briefly about the legal oversight of accountability. I think we've concluded already that the oversight structure is fundamentally ineffective and broken. We recommended and I know the mayor has now embraced this – that IPRA be replaced. There was a comment earlier about the collective bargaining agreements. That is one of the areas that has to be addressed and the sergeants, the supervisors agreements expired June 30th this year, the FOP contract expires June 30th of next year and we have to address the many provisions in the collective bargaining agreements that are an impediment accountability. We have a long list of those you in our records but they clearly are a problem and have to be addressed as part of any kind of comprehensive reform.
I'm going to speak to what she said earlier mentioned personal concerns. We talked about the general culture of accountability and I'll be brief on this point, we have to address the fact that there are too many officers who are not doing their job the right way. The are a number of officers who are doing their job the right way but those people need to be supported by addressing the fact that there are too many officers who are collecting CRs, who are abusing their privilege to be police officers, who are making arrests and not showing up for court, the list goes on and on. These people are well known, this city has already taken steps to engage the Chicago Crime Lab to design a early intervention software program, a management tool, but that’s years away and millions of dollars that haven’t been sourced yet. What needs to be done in the interim is we need to deal with these folks. It's not enough to talk about it, we need to deal with them, we know who they are. They need to be put through a process to determine whether they’re fit for duty or not [man shouts from crowd: guilty as charged]. We need to talk about supervisors, that is another issue. There's not enough of them, there have been a number of classes that have been stood up recently but there need to be more supervisors and those supervisors need to be given an actual job description that includes their responsibility for the accountability and conduct of their officers. They need to be supported but that needs to be an issue that needs to be addressed. One of the other areas that we worked on is de-escalation. I think it was Alderman Erina who talked about the CIT training but I also want to focus your attention on something somewhat different, which is every encounter between the community, a citizen and the police has the potential to escalate and the officers need to be trained in ways to address these issues. [Man shouts from crowd: they don’t need proper training, we need to send them to jail.]
So that they will then take the contract with the way to see this and turn it into something more. I also want to urge – and this is one of the things we talked about in our report. There's a stigma attached to mental health and too many people when they have a person they’re taking care of or they’re responsible for who has mental health challenges [Man shouts from crowd: are you talking about a policeman] they call into 911. Excuse me sir. [Crowd trying to interrupt]. I’m winding down. De-escalation is important and we have to deal with the mental health issues. A couple of final points: I encourage the caucus and the department and the city council to go beyond the three issues that are included in the in the proposed ordinance. We really need to take ownership of this process as a as a city. Other cities have gone through a similar process that we're going through now. The problem is, is that if we don't take the steps now and we wait on the Department of Justice, we're going to be in this for longer than we need to be.
It’s gonna cost millions of dollars no matter what but if we make the changes now, we're going to shorten the period of oversight. For example, Los Angeles, I believe has been under a consent decree or some form of it for 13 years. Detroit a similar story. New Orleans as well. We need to take advantage of the opportunity we have now to make the changes that are necessary so that we can move forward but it's got to be comprehensive. It's got to be a citizen led and citizen involved. It has to be transparent and I commend you for taking this initial step and opening up this process to the community. Thank you. [Claps].
At this point yes this is now an opportunity to speak. Before we get to that I want to acknowledge a few folks in the building. Von Hui, fellow Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Dr. Lance Williams, head of the inner city studies at Northeastern University of Illinois, Brother Cam Howard with Africans Charge Genocide, Attorney Todd Belkhorn, Attorny Paul Strauss, Tracey Sipka, Head and founder of The Chicago Justice Project so these are our individuals who have been fighting to make sure these things are come to pass. We’ll open the floor at this point to the testimony now. I wanna go ahead and give the community an opportunity to speak out. Two to three minutes please because so many of you have so many important things to say. I have a list of folks who filled out the cards, I want to give an opportunity to speak. First up I’m gonna call Frank Chapman, field organizers at FIA.
Frank Chapman, Field Organizer for Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
You know I was really getting upset because you know we been listening to a lot of bullshit today. [Woman in crowd: I swear]. We need to have a serious discussion. You guys listen. Can you all hear me? Ok. You all need to listen and see what’s going on here is what’s been going on in this city for too long and I’m not smiling about it either. What’s going on here is people are being murdered. We know who the murderers are, you know who they are. We’re making excuses for them and covering up for them and I’m not talking about just one person. I’m talking about the mayor, I’m talking about the city council. For 400 days you knew that Lacquan McDonald had been murdered. You knew that the mayor was covering it up. You knew that. You called us in here and talk about police reform like this stuff never happened. You also know several of those police officers, three or four of them, they all gave false reports. They all gave false reports. Jason Van Dyke is under inditement. How come the others are not under inditement? They all gave false reports.
You need to start prosecuting these killer cops and sending them to jails. Don’t talk about police reform if you got serial killers on the police force walking around and killing people. If you live in this city, what we need in this city. [Moderator interrupts. He says, in response: you let that lady talk for a long time and she wasn’t talking about nothing. If we really wanna do something about what’s going on in the city, the people gotta do it, we gotta do it, not the politicians – y’all gonna do what you been doing. Politicking. This ain’t about no politicking. We are talking about empowering the people in this city, especially black people. Holding police accountable for crimes they commit. I want you to know this. We just introduced that bill into the city council yesterday. Now you got some real options now that you never had before. You ain’t gotta go for this peacemeal reform stuff. You ain’t gotta go for rearranging the chairs on the titanic. We need to take part. It ain’t about their trust. It ain’t about us trusting you and you trusting me and all that. This is about power. We don’t have power over the police. We need to have power to determine who broke our communities. [Chants of CPAC, fight back break out momentarily].
[Lori Lightfoot’s speech ends]
Let’s call up Reverend Brown from CPAC next.
Good afternoon everyone. My name is Reverend Katherine Brown. I am a victim. Me and my eight-year-old and one-year-old child [?] of police brutality. Lady you see all over the news being beat by the police. Well I heard Ms. Lightfoot when I said she wants solutions. So here I am, a woman. Before that even happened to me was a liaison between the community and the police, who served the police. Helped them to bring unity and support between the community and the police since 2006 working in the 21st ward. Now, I have true experience about these police being liars. They are not scared, they are not educated on how to act. They are total liars. Officer Murphy and Officer Lopez made up a lie on me. They made it up and said that I dragged them with my car and under oath, they claim, I dragged them with my hand. I never had contact with her. She never had contact with me and till my back got caught out of there and got in the front of my neighbor so they could see what was going on and she beat the mess out of me and sprayed me with mace and lied on my 8-year-old child who is a diabetic and asthmatic and said my daughter, 8 years old, beat her up, in second grade. So if Ms. Lightfoot and the rest of them want solutions, here’s the solution. Like Mr. Chapman said and everyone else in here is thinking, lock ‘em up. [Crowd cheers.] They don’t need no more training, they’ve been trained. They’re pretending and playing games with you and we don’t want that no more. What we want is CPAC. What do we want? CPAC. When do we want it? Now. What do we want? CPAC. When do we want it? Now. When I say CPAC you say now. CPAC. Now. CPAC. Now […] When I say justice you say now. Justice. Now. So those that are in charge and I know the bell has rung, you heard this is for our aldermans. I love my aldermans. I see some I’ve worked with sitting on this panel. They know my character. I ain’t gonna point you out, you know who I am. I worked with a lot of them but I’m gonna say this to the aldermans: not one of your co-workers who sit on the council with you was able to vote you in. It’s the people in your ward that are sitting out here today. So when we come to you about giving us CPAC, and you know you’re gonna have to get out there again with your little flyers and saying vote for me, coming around real soon, you let your people know and the mayor, because the mayor couldn’t put you in your seat, that I’m going with the people and the constituents and I promise if something go wrong I’m in your corner by voting the right thing with that ordinance because if you don’t do that, you all better think about who you vote for the next time, Instead of turning all our schools around we better turn city council around. You gotta recognize who say they gonna help you and make sure they do it. Y’all be blessed.
Theodore Aphin with CPAC
Hi. My name is Theodore Aphin, I grew up on the South Side. I was studying technology and trying to be the best person I could be. I became a business owner since 22 and I work for myself. I paid for everything I ever had since I was fourteen. I never did anything to nobody. A while ago I was being harassed by cops. Very much a while ago, over twenty years. And since then my house had been broken into, I used to have a business that I used to sell roses and teddy bears all over the city, had about thirty clubs I used to do. And I used to do Argon, The Riv, Soldier’s Field. I used to travel the country selling sportswear and novelty. I was a number one salesperson. Cops were extorting money from me and they used to follow me around. Some chiefs of police would follow me around. Another chief of police stopped another chief of police from beating me up in an alley. I was beat up sometimes in my house and some other people that I know, they used my friends and some people I know to attack me. They slandered my name, told people I was a criminal, destroyed all of my relationships with business and relationships with women. I’m a business guy. I probably showed 150 people how to work for themselves and make jobs. I’m a technology commercialization specialist, self taught, they were selling my products and trying to make me look like a bad guy. I was taking medical help for more than 20 years. I’m injected with about 45 pounds of stuff. I can’t go to the doctor. The cops would go to the hospital and say don’t wait on me. They would stay stuff like this is my imagination. They were going around saying – they were addressing me as a woman. They break into my house, beat me up. I had lab reports. I had to go to other countries? Put my name on Facebook. The media tried to shut me down. I never did nothing to nobody. They tried to financially break me. What they did is they cost me over $100,000 a year business, they tried to financially break me. They were telling people don’t do business with me. They stole money from my bank account. I can’t work, I got damage to my body. I got fractured bones, they hit you in such a way that your bone is not broken, it’s fractured but if you lift something they break your bone. I can give evidence of it but the IPRA and stuff is a joke. They never did nothing. They knew it. They were following me all around the city. Then they would escalate the problem and I would be like I never did nothing. What did I do to you? They weren’t talking about it or nothing like that but I hope we can talk about it and stop them right now. There should be instant stop for police brutality. Somebody should be able to go to somebody and tell them you should have a council meeting that you can instantly stop someone from harassing and you should have a crime victims thing – a lot of these people lost money. I lost a business. It cost me over $100,000 a year and I didn’t get nothing. I want you guys to have liability insurance for the cops too.
Milton Johnson, Bobby E Right Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center
I did have some comments but I don’t know if I want to make those comments right now based on what I'm hearing from my brothers which are things that are very powerful and true. Ms. Lightfoot made mention of it and one of the things I would like to see the council do is to concentrate on the recruitment of African-American police officers for African-American communities and stop saying minorities. We need a minority recruitment – no, we need African-American police officers to police African-American communities. I know that’s going to take some time but I believe it's something that we need to do and during that recruitment process I noticed the recruitment was always at places like this. Maybe Harold Washington Library or College. Recruitment needs to take place in places the African-American community is comfortable with. First of all when you talk about the police department to our community, you really talking for them. They don’t want to hear it. They don't like police. They really don't like police officers when you talk about becoming a police officer. And so you have to talk about the importance of our community being policed by people of the same color. You have to talk about the importance of itand the need. Now I heard Ms Lightfoot make mention of of training and I was kind of shocked. I hear a lot of talk about C.I.T. training, which is crisis intervention training and I’m approximately 2000 police officers right now have that training and they’re not really forcing – they can’t force any of the officers to take it. It’s strictly voluntary. Any efforts are good. However, when you talk about the African American community again and you talk about mental health, you talk about a community that does not embrace mental health services like they should so that’s an ongoing process to educate the community on what mental health is. Now, when you say that, when a person needs to do when it comes to a CIT officer is to say I have a problem here and this person has been diagnosed with a mental illness so I need a CIT officer to respond. That's just right. That's a few people. The bottom line is our community is jam packed with people that are of diagnosed, that are suffering from trauma, in crisis situations. In addition, when you have an officer come out for CIT, mind you they’re coming to respond to an African-American. An African-American mental illness is not the same as our experiences that created the illnesses are not the same. To get to the point I want to make, cultural sensitivity training, cultural sensitivity training. I heard cultural literacy but they need to understand and I’ve run into resistance like when I ran into resistance when I first talked about mental illness to the community. I’m running into the same issue when I talk about cultural sensitivity training so that’s something that needs to be done my brothers.
Hontes Farmer (City College)
I teach science here at the city colleges. I teach math. I live in suburbs. I do know what it’s like to have run ins with the police. I’ve had them on campuses I teach at. For example at another college I had someone act like I stole something when I was carrying a telescope out of the door. You know they don’t work inside because you gotta be able to see the sky. I had a police officer go for their gun in a manner as if they were drawing down on somebody when I swiped to get into a certain faculty lounge. I know what it’s like to deal with police and security officers in places where I work, where I should have authority. There was a senator who talked about having that happen to him as he was serving in senate. The basic problem is we can have clear video of police officers shooting somebody and they don’t even get put on trial, much less locked up. The basic problem is that there’s two legal systems. If you’re well connected, like say you were secretary of state for a while – you can do some things and get away with them. If you’re a police officer and you do certain things that would get somebody else put in jail, you get away with it and that’s the problem. That’s the fundamental problem and until we address that, there’s not gonna be change. And how do we do that? It should be automatic. A police officer was caught shooting somebody who was not armed and was for example laying on their back with their hands up like we saw in Miami. If we see something like that, they should be put on trial period. They should be indicted and put on trial automatically. We have to hold police to a higher standard.
I have two questions and two stories. I’m gonna start with the first story. It just happened to my husband and I yesterday. We were out playing pokemon go in the alleys in our neighborhood and we live on the north side, it’s an LGBT community and it’s a mostly white community. And we were walking through alleys looking for Pokemon and we were going behind dumpsters and places with lots of graffiti. We were going under bridges and doing all that kind of stuff. Two police officers in a car pulled up to us, really slowly and they passed us and looked at us and I thought we were in trouble for something and they said – are you guys ok? I said yeah. And they said, what are you doing and I said we’re playing Pokemon and they laughed and they left. This was about 11.30 p.m. so I wondered to myself what would happen if that was a black couple at 11.30 p.m. walking through alleys. They didn’t know who we were when they came out from behind but when they saw our faces they just asked us if we were ok. The second story I have is a lot of people I know, most of the people I know are white because of the segregation in this city and I’m from Detroit, the segregation in Detroit is insane. I grew up in a white neighborhood in one of the white schools. White people don’t know what the experiences of black people are so I just started a group with my husband. It's called white people for black lives Chicago and I would love you guys to join if you’re white, black or whatever. We're mostly on the northside and it’s very white as someone said earlier, I think it was Ms. Lightfoot and I’m not sure where she is. I think she left when we started. When we started asking questions she didn’t really wanna hear them I guess. But it’s a big problem and the first thing we're going to do is we're going to read a book called The New Jim Crow. All races are welcome. The only question I have in addition to my two stories is that two of the current proposals suggest the inspector general should appoint a civilian board instead of a mayor appointing the board but the mayor appoints the inspector general. Why can’t civilians elect the inspector general.
Michelle T Page – mother and CRS leader. Winetta Harvey.
Let us first remember that the police was always set up to do injustice. It was set up to catch runaway slaves so we must never forget that and we must never forget that justice has never came to us as black people in this country so we must unite and control our own communities and that’s the only solution. What we don’t understand is that we’re already segregated whether we want to accept it or not. We’re segregated so we have to deal with that like it is and accept it for what it is because we ‘re gonna continue to die in the streets if we don’t. We are already, this is happening all over the world and we need to stop turning a blind eye to it and understand that this is a problem. It’s a problem and we will not get justice if we don’t understand the problem. The problem is that white people don’t respect our lives. Most of them don’t and some of them do but for the most part, this is a system built on white supremacy and if we don’t understand that we will never live in this country in peace. All of this talking about training the police over and all of that, that is not the answer. You cannot control and train a white racist mind. This is a system that controls and kills us. This is nothing new in this country. This is nothing new. If we want to correct the system we need to understand that we are the original people of planet earth and we need to understand we are the divine people and that’s why we forgive everyone for every damn thing they do to us but we don’t forgive ourselves and we can hate each other all day long but if we don’t unite, if we don’t unite and understand the only way we can get through this is us uniting with each other and let everybody else unite with each other like they been doing. They haven’t been concerned about us until white folks start getting killed in the street so we never need to forget that. That’s all I want to say and I want to leave like this. Also we should never, we need to understand there’s a war on black people in this country and until we get justice in this country god is going to continue to whoop America’s behind so never forget that.
My name is Michelle Page. I’m a mother and member of community renewal society. I’ve been fighting this issue for over two years now. We’ve been fighting for this for over two years. We’ve met with the mayor several times. My concern is – like I said – I’m a mother with a 23-year-old male son who just made 23 on July 12. I sent him away. He’s been gone from me two years because I’m not safe with him living in Chicago. He took a job out of state. Until the police are held accountable for their actions, none of this is going to stop. When they enforce the laws you have to put a seatbelt on, everybody knows seatbelts save lives. I myself wear my seatbelt but when we start saying there are consequences for not wearing your seatbelt you probably don’t. Until we say police are held accountable for their actions, nothing is going to stop. Everybody’s saying oh there’s black on black crime. One of the reasons we have black on black crime is because the black community does not respect the police to do the job they have been trained to do. I’m a law abiding citizen. If you do something to me, I’m gonna call my brothers first because I know my brothers are gonna take care of me. If I call the police, first of all they may not come. When they do come they won’t respect me. They’re not gonna care. My brothers take care of whoever done what. That’s part of the reason we have a lot of black on black crime. For my son, I’m afraid of the gangs and the police. The gang is a legal gang. The police is an illegal gang.
Mark Clements, CPAC
I want the aldermen to listen to me and to listen to me carefully. Each of you took time to design child abuse laws. You allow and the reason I say you is because you only took over for someone else within your particular district or ward. Children taken down to police stations and literally tortured, having their genitals grabbed and squeezed. Well, the child was told to send a complaint through the office of professional standards. I wonder why. Because the appropriate agency never got an opportunity to investigate those 32 African-Americans that were sent through that type of system. What the city did, it paid out money. That’s what happened. And they said remain quiet, don't tell nobody, we will give you this just keep it quiet. We're going to make it into a settlement so now we don't have to take no blame for this but 13-year-old Marcus Wiggins, taken to a police station, who had his genitals grabbed and squeezed. Here it is, Mark Clements, you’re looking at him. Taken to a police station in 1981. I looked at black faces infront of a courtroom and I told him eh, the detectives grabbed my wee wee. The system felt more comfortable in giving Mark Clements four natural life terms. That’s where I was. 28 years of my life and there’s no accountability, not even today. The city can dish its dollars out but where is the protection for the kids. Where is the protection for those men who are still languishing inside of those prisons and let me tell you – I could care less about the city. Let me tell you as I approach the aldermen today – clean your communities up. These young children need jobs. When I was a child, an alderman gave me a job. It was Jesse White who gave me a job. Now you don’t wanna give them jobs. In closing, if you’ve got a heart contact the children and family services and ask them to open up these cases. Ask them to look into these cases where men and women had electrical objects stuck in their rectums and placed up to their genitals and let me tell you in closing – the city of Chicago – you all sitting here ought to be ashamed of yourselves. Let me tell you, we fought to give you all an opportunity and let me tell you we had to fight these people to put you where you at and your father – I knew him personally, knew him personally. I swept to make odd dollars. We need to get it back together. Thank you.
Dr. Lance Williams – head of inner city studies at Northeastern Illinois University
Peace and blessings everyone. How y’all doing? For those that don’t know me my name is Lance Williams. I’m a professor for inner city studies on the south side at Northeastern Illinois University where we pay particular attention to our community and preparing our students to go out there and serve the community. I was invited, I was somewhat reluctant because I didn’t typically know these types of things turn into. I mean I know what they turn into and I was concerned at the beginning but I’m glad we have organized ourselves in a way we can express our opinion. I do respect many of these aldermen who don’t have to be here. I know there’s a lot of aldermen who would never come into a place like this so I wanna give them applause for that. Let me just say this, my area of expertise, as a son of a former vicelord, my father was one of the founding members of the vicelord nation and he raised me as a young brother to serve my community. He kept me out of them streets and said you go to school boy and you learn so you can do the kind of research that can help our community so I will say this. Although my research primarily involves so called street gangs and youth in violence. We are doing some research at the center now that deals with police involved shootings. I’ll say this just preliminarily, that it appears that the real problem with police involved shootings – because there are a lot of different types – but the big problem in early investigations is that we have a particular group of police officers. In the hood we call them dick boys, jump out boys. These tend to be younger white officers within the ages of 26-32 who are no more than 5 or 6 years on the force and they get these assignments to come into the hood and police but our perception of them in this study is that they the police the black and brown communities as if they are an occupying force – that they are the military. I would suggest to our aldermen at some point the policy within the police department is going to have to be that these particular types of officers should not be able to come into the communities this early in their tenure to police. That’s one of the early recommendations but let me just say another two things I think you might wanna focus on as it relates to what's going on in our community. The violence that is happening, we can trace back to two specific public policies that have been in place for the last ten years. One is the Chicago Public Schools Renaissance 2010. This is very important as legislators, as lawmakers to go back and look at that policy and see what negative impact it has had on all of our communities. I'll say that one of these priority areas is to look at how our schools have been privatized, those who are now profiting off of public education. So as a result of renaissance 2010 for over 10 years, too many black and brown youths have been displaced from their traditional community schools and they've been tracked into schools outside of their neighborhoods. So to correct these problems. We need to bring back to the community quality education that offers college prep, that offers professional training and also vocational training. This would reduce the fear that many of our young people have to leave their communities and go to school, particularly young black and brown males who now feel that going to school is too dangerous and risky so they don't go. When they don't go, of course, now they're not eligible to what – to work so now they out on the streets and they become vulnerable to that population on a police force that look at them as they are animals, wild animals to be hunted and so to fix the schools I think would solve a lot of these problems. I’m glad my brother mentioned the mental health issues because these young brothers for the last ten to fifteen years have been out of school and they're looking around and they see they don’t have chances so now they have a sense of what if we if we really look at it from a clinical perspective. They are clinically depressed right. They're hopeless, they’re angry because they are uneducated and unemployable. So when you combine that with substance abuse then you've got a powder keg waiting to explode or be exploded on. So this widepread depression among these young men of color, plus easy access to guns. Now we have high rates of interpersonal shootings that leads to homicide but you can all trace it back to the schools not functioning right. And in another part of the problem to look at is we have to look and see who is dumping all of these weapons into our community and make sure we come up with some policies to make sure we have some harsh punishments for those dumping weapons in our community? So let me stress while providing immediate mental health services to this population is a much needed short term solution but it's not going to permanently fix our problems. We've got to fix this aparteid school system that we have, a school system that serves whites and very few students of color, black or brown students of color. And we've got to start with number one, we've got to have a school board that’s responsive to the community more than it is responsive to the mayor’s office. That’s just plain and simple. Listen. We learned from the United Nations 2013 global study on homicide that violence is specifically related to the lack of development and desperation. By far the highest homicide rates in the United States of America are to be found in sub Saharan Africa and guess where else - in Chicago. In some of our south side, not all of them, but some of our south and west side neighborhoods. So we've got a problem on our hands and a lot of things that we can do. I'm going to stop because I know how we are but I really appreciate your all coming here. You all ain’t got to be here tonight. I'm glad I'm speaking on behalf of myself and my family, let me just say I have my wife and I, we live in a hood. We live on 53rd and Wabash in a warzone where we raising our kids. We raising our seven children. We gone through home schooling them but then at a certain point you send them to schools. And I could tell you this I'm there right down the street from black kids where they popping things all day every day and I'm going to be honest with y’all I got more fear. Them dick boys, when they rolling down the block they coming down. They vicious and they looking at us like we some wild animals and if you say some people have a problem with that element on the police force. We've got to deal with it and it's important that we deal with them from a legal perspective before the hood really is inspired to deal with them from a perspective that we’ve seen before. I thank you all for listening and continue to respect each other as we are making our comments tonight.
Joseph Miller, 25th Ward IPO
Hello everyone thanks for coming out tonight. Thanks for organizing this. I’m from the 25th Ward. I’m introducing or just familiarizing people with a person that Mayor Emmanuel turned down for the CPD superintendent. Former Marine, former Baltimore police officer, he’s retired, he was showing signs of police brutality, misconduct, way before the tragic death of Freddie Gray. I have his full application here and I will send it to you, the police board, his articles. He’s gonna be in town April 4th or August 4th-7th receiving his pHd. He has great insight. This is someone you guys should definitely meet with and talk to.
Von Huen and Carmen Yang, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
My name is Von Huen. I am with Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago. Asian Americans Advancing Justice is part of a larger Chicago immigration policy working group made up of immigrant rights organizations that serve and represent communities across the Chicago area. Advancing Justice Chicago, along with many of our community partners, including the Coalition for a better Chinese American Community who also sent representatives here tonight began advocating for these issues in 2014 following the horrific verbal and physical abuse experienced by Jessica Klyzek a Chinese American who was brutally beaten by Chicago police officers. Seen on surveillance footage. Two officers threatened to put Ms. Klyzek quote in a UPS box and had her back to wherever the FP came from. While striking her in the head as she was handcuffed and kneeling on the floor. In response we are working to pass an amendment to the welcoming city ordinance to bar city employees from threatening deportation or questioning an individual’s immigration status. The amendment would also remove the exceptions that currently allow collaboration between police and immigrant enforcement making clear the separation between local law enforecement and federal enforcement of immigration policies. One of the measures we initially proposed we hope to carry into the police accountability reform process is public reporting of violations under the city ordinance and of police misconduct against immigrants. For immigrant communities many of these incidents go unreported and subsequent investigations fail to address police misconduct, especially as it relates to a lack of language assistance and cultural competency with the police department. Police accountability reform is necessary to address the shortcomings in the department and more importantly provide a community based response process to better resolve these issues. In the larger context of police reform, immigrant rights organizations believe it is also important to follow the lead of folks who have been working on this issue, particularly black-led organizing groups, recognizing our communities interact with the police in different ways. After the Klyzek incident, Asian American community members came forward to let us know what happened to Ms. Klyzek was not a one off occurrence. Incidents such as this reinforced false stereotypes that we are perpetual foreigners in this country and increases the level of mistrust between the Asian American community and law enforcement. We hear of these stories often and so I would like to invite Carmen Yang, a youth from the Coalition of a better Chinese American Community to speak more about her community’s experience interacting with police.
Good evening, my name is Carmen Yang. I immigrated to Chicago when I was 12 years old. Growing up in Bridgeport with many Chinese speaking residents, language barrier is a huge problem. I’ve been actively involved with voter registration and had many conversations with Chinese speaking residents about the issues that affect them. I have heard over and over again from community members about public safety concerns and the fear of interacting with police officers because of language limitations. This problem is worsened when there are medical related emergencies. When I was younger there was an incident involving a Chinese mandarin speaking lady next to my house when she was having a panic attack. There was a crowd of people around her and the thing is none of them spoke English. At the time I was maybe a freshman in highschool. When they saw me they quickly asked me if I speak English so I could call for help. When the ambulance arrived they would not take her to the hospital until the lady who was having a panic attack gave them all her personal information. There was not a single translator that came with them so I had to be there the whole time trying to translate back and forth while she was shaking uncontrollably and I could barely make out her words. They got frustrated when I did not know how to say certain words because I don’t speak Mandarin fluently. My native dialect is Taiwanese. The process was just very long and really frustrating for everyone who was involved. Scenarios like this goes to show how much we need language support in our police and emergency deparments in Chicago. Often times the police are not equipped to handle cases in the community due to the lack of cultural competency. For a tight knit community like the one in Bridgeport we often see police officers as outsiders and not people who are part of the community. Police accountability reform is important. Our experiences need to be part of the larger conversation. Thank you.
Karen Winters, 401 Movement
Aldermen, I don’t see nobody taking notes, writing nothing down. I wanna say I heard several things and I totally agree with my little sister here – cultural diversity or literacy training is not gonna eradicate racism. My 16-year-old nephew was shot and killed by officer Sean Hitts on April 11 so the family immediately organized because especially after Lacquan McDonald, I read the task force report. I saw how a lot of that thing was played out. So our family gathered together and we are going to fight for justice for my nephew. We gonna do it legally first but at the end of the day we really want to send that man to jail because I’m gonna tell you something – like the brother said – I got them young brothers over there, they got love for my nephew. And they coming to me like aunty what you want us to do? Right now, I want you all to wait, we’re gonna play this paper game but I’m gonna tell you all something family – when they killing us they have become too aggressive and too comfortable and we are too passive. So right now ain’t nobody going to jail, they slapping everybody on the wrist so yeah hopefully they gonna change some paper but somethings gonna change and I don’t know, maybe our family will be the one to do it. You all gonna know about it, You all gonna know it’s us that did it. We loved him. The city of Chicago don’t have to waste no ink or no paper trying to offer our family no money. We don’t want it. We want to take it to trial. We want to see that man in trial. So the recommendation I have for the police department is one, they have 24 or more hours to report the incident and when they did that to Lacquan McDonald everybody lied. Every officer lied. Every officer that gave an account lied until the video tape came out. If we commit a crime and they catch us up we don’t have no 24 hours to wait to tell our story, they want our story immediately and I think the same thing should happen for them when they commit a murder, especially a murder. They don’t get no 24 hour window to report because you all know what happens. They get to whispering to each other, changing them stories and switching those things around and then document it. Not only do they document it, they get an audio recording, they get a video recording, they got a written quote. If they gonna tell the truth why they need all that information. Then they get to go back and recant their stories, change their stories. That’s wrong, that’s called perjury. If they so transparent and want to tell the truth – in my nephew’s case they lying – they lying. It’s been so inconsistent. Now it’s been 90 days. My family is still waiting on our police report. Why? Why are we still waiting on an official police report after 90 days? That’s another thing y’all need to work on. The timing. How long it takes for us to get those reports. We want it also. Those are the things we prepared to do. Like I said plan A is play the paper game with them but we have plan B and plan C and it’s gonna happen.
Oscar Ortiz from Humboldt Park
Let me tell you about 1977 at Leemore school yard. Poor Freddie. He found out what it means when they say cops will beat the piss out of you literally. In Humboldt Park let me tell you there are Puerto Ricans being found hung in the jails inside the lockup and every time it was just suicide. Every time. I don’t know too many Puerto Ricans that have killed themselves. One time she got into a car accident, the police report was all lies. I want to thank this gentleman right here, the professor. Because he hit it right on the head when he said black and brown, until that unity is solidified, this will keep going on and on and on. I wanna tell you why. Because here’s another good one. Black policemen in black neighborhoods. What’s wrong with that? You understand, that goes hand in hand with what the professor was saying. These dicks whatever you wanna call them. The reason why I say there will be peace throughout the city is now you have your black police officers patrolling black neighborhoods, you have peace in the white neighborhoods, there’s peace in the black neighborhoods, no fear of death or violence coming down or spewing over. This could be done. CPAC I forgot about why we’re here. I really thought we were here to discuss about electing representatives from the neighborhoods to the police board. Because now you have police saying we’re going into fetal position, we’re going into fetal position. Try telling that to a police board that’s composed of community members. You going into a fetal position? Well, you’re suspended or you’re fired. You think all the other police will say hmm we can’t go into the fetal position anymore we gotta go out there and work. I mean I don’t know how plain and clear […] Aldermen thank you for making time to be out here but let me tell you life will be easier if you guys if you go through this electing the CPAC. Disappointed by appointing anything is not gonna work like Chapman’s been saying. There’s too many bosses involved. Somebody has to promise somebody else. I didn’t read this 176 mosaic of recommendations but I wonder if some of those are in there.
I wasn’t gonna speak because since so much has been said that reflects the pain we all feel. When our cousins, brothers, fathers are shot down, like my brother was but then I said no, he deserves my saying something on his behalf. So my brother was shot and killed by a police officer who said I thought he was going for a gun in his pocket but what my brother had in his pocket was a hole puncher because at that time they were punching cards as part of his job – to punch cards that had some kind of a problem. They had to do that. Shot him. His excuse: I thought he was hiding something so my brother’s dead. That’s it. I thought and I’ve heard since then – things like – well I was scared, I was afraid. How did I know? What did I know? We can all get up here and kill each other on that excuse. Look funny. How’d I know? Dress. But I tell my kids oh my Uncle Rodney he would have just loved that. Oh look what you done, he’d be so proud of you. Oh you look just like him. Look how you growing up. Oh your uncle Rodney. That’s how they know their uncle Rodney. And in a composition my daughter and I don’t even know about it – she wrote a story about what happened with her uncle Rodney, this beautiful man she never got to know. He was in college last year. I mean the lives, the contributions, we’ve lost through people who knew what they were doing. They told me he killed my brother because he was afraid he had a gun. I think he killed my brother because he knew he could and he didn’t have to worry about it. He didn’t like his swag. He didn’t like his look. He didn’t like his educated talking. So he killed him cause he could. Thank you for letting me have this moment but I do want to say this – what I hear over and over again is legislation – we need legislation that says if police kill our unarmed women and men out here they will be arrested, they will be indicted, they will go to trial.
Sister Erica Tries (here for Justice Or Else Local Organizing Committee)
I wanted to address you all and make you understand that I’m tired of Chicago politicians playing jedi mind game tricks with the people of Chicago. We’re tired of all of you standing before us with so called solutions when in fact it’s the same agenda with new handpicked faces and new titles and names, namely Mr. Rahm Emmanuel. I said it to you. That as of today there will be no more business as usual when it comes to securing black and Hispanic communities. We cannot and will not keep allowing people to murder and invade our communities with so much hatred in their hearts and call it justice or the law. The day is over for that. It’s time for justice or else. Everyone has to be held accountable for this. Also I’m challenging everyone in this room to get up, get involved and most of all get ative. It’s time for real change. Not just a bandaid to make us feel better for a minute or until this happens again. I also would like to say we have a solution. Located on 74th and Stony Island and that is the FOI. They are willing to go into the communities. They are respected by black men and black youth in the community. They’re coming with love and respect for our people so why not give them the opportunity to go into our neighborhoods and make that change. I don’t understand what’s the resistance when it comes to us policing ourselves. I don’t understand that. If we have the solution give us the opportunity. They have proven results with projects all over the country. They made change, progressive change and the people wanted change. These young men, they do not want to be out here murdering, they don’t wanna be out here killing but poverty breeds crime. Bring jobs in. Bring retraining in. Bring re-entry programs for offenders that have x’s on their backs, that go to jail, serve time and when they come out – you still throwing it in their faces that they are offenders. You can’t vote, you can’t get a job, Mr. Obama just led a whole bunch of them out of jail but where are the programs they need to re-enter society and be successful. There is a revolving door and they are gonna go back to the things they know which is selling drugs and crime. If you not offering me a way out. What are you offering? A way back in? I mean seriously let’s really be honest and attack the problems.
Reverend Katherine Paisley, 45th Ward
The systems are broken. We know they’re broken. Our schools are broken. Our children don’t get the same education in different neighborhoods. We have too many of our citizens with skin that’s black or brown in our criminal injustice system and we know that we have a lack of accountability with our police force. It’s imperative that you all who have the capacity to change the systems do so. We’re counting on you. My son who is 18 and has long hair and dresses a little scruffy can walk safely the five blocks from our condo to this job. His friend who has darker skin cannot do so at 4 a.m. it’s not fair.
Jackson from West Side (24)
There’s been multiple incidents with police. My main one is situation we talking about now. I was in Illinois Rivers downstate. We going to breakfast and one of the younger officers was being real rude. Saying Getcho all ass in line, oh I’ll see y’all back on deck, one of the older cops, another white person, pulled him to the side and I heard what he was saying to him at the back of the line: he checked him and said don’t talk to these people like that. They human just like you. Just because of whatever situation they in, that don’t take away from nothing. They human just like you. It is true. A lot of these officers, they bitches bro. they use their power, they abuse their power. They 24 just like me and think because they got a badge on, a nigger won’t shoot them. I’m telling you right now bro, I’ll do what Malcolm X did bro. Yeah uh oh because I was speaking real shit. Malcolm X in real life was about that bro. He ain’t say all this political stuff. He said pick up these guns and fight back for what we believe in. A lot of people ain’t doing shit for your community yo. Real talk bro. Half of the community don’t even go to West and Howard. Lot of people, Chinese people, don’t interrupt me, Chinese people, White people who don’t even stay in our community. There’s a lot of stuff y’all need to do. A lot of y’all bitch ass niggers yo. Excuse my language bro. You have to do shit for y’all community not for the money bro. Stop thinking about the money. Y’all doing it for image bro because when it’s election time that’s when y’all gonna start doing shit. There’s been a lot of situations where officer they grabbed me and I told them to get out. Yeah I’m in a feeder bro at the same time bro when you better yourself you way better bro because I’m a traveler bro because what traveler mean to me is love, peace, truth and justice bro and that’s what we need to stick on bro. We need to govern these police yo because a lot of these