CHICAGO, IL – Several members of New Era Detroit (NED) and New Era Chicago (NEC)–the flagship chapters of the New Era Nation–were violently attacked and arrested by officers of the Chicago Police Department during their first Hood2Hood community engagement program this past weekend.
The planned event was going well. NED and NEC members had spent the day cleaning and removing blight from several Chicago neighborhoods. They spoke to several residents and delivered a message of unity, hope, and empowerment. They also denounced the self-destructive violence impacting Chicagoans and other communities of color around the country. “Love of self” was the message of the day; it was black, it was beautiful, and it was peaceful.
That’s when the Chicago police arrived and everything changed.
Witnesses reported that between 30-45 police officers, without provocation or warning, began beating members with their clubs, taking and destroying all Pan-African flags, screaming profanities, racial slurs, and shoving anyone in the area not wearing a police uniform. Some officers deployed their department issued Tasers. Others pointed their guns at anyone who wasn’t law enforcement. A Chicago fireman heard an officer issue a warning to the group: “This ends today. You guys and your fucking flags. Expect this every time we see you!”
Nine individuals were arrested and charged with felony counts of Aggravated Battery of a Peace Officer. Five were released the same day. However, four members of the Detroit chapter–Zeek, Momma K, Cody, and Ron–remain in Chicago police custody. Each of the arrestee’s ten percent bonds have been set for $30,000 to $50,000.
The Detroit chapter’s legal team was able to secure legal assistance through attorneys from the Chicago chapter of the National Lawyer’s Guild who have committed to providing on-going legal support for those charged with felonies.
“This is why we exist”, Attorney Max Suchan, Chicago-NLG Mass Defense Coordinator, said. “We are dedicated to helping groups who are doing movement work whenever we can.”
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