Police Accountability is part of the answer
Frank Chapman called for swift enactment of legislation creating and empowering an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) as a necessary step in curbing the violence that is wreaking havoc in Chicagoâ€™s African American and Latino communities.
Chapman is Field Organizer of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) and Chairperson of its Organizing Committee to Stop Police Crimes.Â He noted positively the article in the Chicago Tribune by Dawn Turner-Trice and Lolly Bowean, â€œMore police, more arrests, more fearâ€[i]
The article notes that â€œFor a city desperately trying to cut its homicide rate, one of the biggest challenges has been getting residents living in Chicago’s high-crime areas to cooperate with law enforcement. While some residents fear reprisals from the bad guys, many others say negative run-ins with the police have created a culture of distrust.â€Â As Travell Jackson, 17, said, “They’re supposed to serve and protect, but sometimes the police act just like another gang.”
Chapman noted that the problem goes much deeper than simple lack of trust.Â â€œThere is evidence that some police officers have, themselves, been engaged in criminal conspiracies in some communities,â€ he said.Â â€œFor example, on the West Side Derrick Searcy was falsely accused and convicted of murder by drug dealers in cahoots with the police,â€ citing the case in which a laid-off auto worker was framed up for killing a police informer by the drug dealers against whom the victim was informing.Â This came at the same time seven Austin District officers were indicted and convicted of engaging in a criminal conspiracy with drug gangs in the area.
â€œAn elected CPAC could transform the police from an occupying army to servants of the people,â€ Chapman declared.Â â€œThis fundamental change in the power relationships in the communities will go further in stopping violence than any other single reform.â€
â€œFundamentally, however, the de-escalation of violence in our communities requires the escalation of hope for a brighter future for our youth.Â What can we expect when the only work available is illicit work?Â The talents and lives of our young people are being destroyed by a system that spends twice as much on incarcerating youth as it does on educating them.[ii]Â While the City talks about beefing up armed but ineffective police force it simultaneously closes 54 schools that could have offered a glimmer of hope to our young people.â€
â€œSome people will say that these policies combined amount to a policy of genocide, of ethnic cleansing, of eliminating Black and Latino people.Â One doesnâ€™t need a PhD to see whatâ€™s going on in front of our noses.Â The only way to arrest this crisis is an elected CPAC and a massive â€˜Marshall Programâ€™ for economic development and jobs in our communities.â€
The Alliance and the Organizing Committee have called for a mass march on City Hall on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, demanding justice for victims of violent crimes, especially police crimes such as murder and torture, and passage of the CPAC legislation.Â For more information go to www.StopPoliceCrimes.com.
[ii] Caputo, Angela, â€œIn some Chicago neighborhoods, incarceration costs twice as high as education spending,â€ Chicago Reporter, April 29, 2013, http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2013/04/in-some-chicago-neighborhoods-incarceration-costs-twice-as-high-as-education-spending/.