Revolution #139, August 10, 2008
Continuing Resistance Against Chicago Police Terror
“People Have to Stand Up and Not Allow This to Continue Any Longer”
In a recent four-week span, the Chicago police shot 12 people and killed 6. On Friday, July 25, people took a courageous stand in Chicago’s South Side, sending a message that this wave of police brutality, shootings, and killings will be met by resistance. At an intersection in Englewood, a couple of hundred people went up against police intimidation and terrorizing, calling out the cops as murderers. By the end of the night, 11 people were arrested, including Hank Brown, correspondent for Revolution, and Fred Hampton Jr., Chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee and son of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered by the Chicago police in 1969. There have been reports of police retribution and harassment in the neighborhood in the days following the July 25 protest. (See “There Ain’t No Calming Down!”: People Stand Up to Chicago Police ‘Surge’” by Annie Day in Revolution #138, online at revcom.us)
Friday, August 1 was the first court date for some of the arrested—Hank Brown and four young men from the neighborhood. Two of those arrested originally had felony charges against them, but the charges for everyone were changed to “mob action” misdemeanor. People, including from the neighborhood, came to the courtroom to support the defendants and to demand that the charges be dropped.
The four cops listed as arresting officers did not show up in court, and the charges against the five men were “stricken on leave to reinstate” (SOL’d). This means that while the charges are dismissed for now, the authorities have up to 160 days to bring the charges back up if they so decide.
People need to continue to be vigilant about the moves by the authorities to target the resistance against police brutality and murder. Three more cases are pending from the July 25 arrests: those of Fred Hampton Jr. and two supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party. The court date for these cases is August 22. Three of those arrested are juveniles, and their cases are in the juvenile courts.
And it is not unheard of for charges to be reinstated once they have been SOL’d. This tactic of SOL—instead of dismissing charges outright—is something that the prosecutors and police routinely use. This hangs the threat of re-arrest and prison over the heads of people, and it is a part of how a whole section of the people has been criminalized, especially oppressed youth. And the SOL is particularly outrageous in the cases of those arrested at the July 25 protest. They took a righteous political stand against the abuses and brutality of the police, and it was totally unjust for them to get arrested. The charges against all those arrested should be completely dismissed.
Funds are urgently needed to mount a legal defense for the protesters. Send checks or money orders (made out
to David Thomas, Attorney, with “Englewood Protesters” in the memo line) to:
651 W. Washington Suite 205
Chicago, IL 60661-2122
The following are excerpts from statements at the press conference before the August 1 hearing:
Hank Brown, Revolution correspondent: “The same system that sends the police in to murder and brutalize the people is the same system that creates conditions where these youth respond negatively. One of the things is that, if you look at this, you’ve had 18 school closings. You’ve had whole communities destroyed. Robert Taylor Homes was over here, a block away, torn down. And people are being forced into these wretched conditions, and this creates a lot of violence that [the authorities] are talking about dealing with. It all stems from this system.”
Fred Hampton Jr., Chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee: “What just happened this past July 25th is a blatant reminder of the continuous atmosphere of terror. I say police terror, not police brutality—police terror that the Black community and other oppressed communities continue to live under. It’s a reminder that we are still subjected to that.”
Annie Day, who has been covering the story about the Chicago police “surge” for Revolution: “This kind of brutal oppression of Black people is foundational to this system. What kind of system is it when Driving While Black is a known social phenomenon… This is foundational to this country—from slavery and Jim Crow, where mothers were afraid of the Klan lynching their children, and now mothers are afraid of the police shooting their children. Which is why we say the police are the modern-day Klan. This newspaper, Revolution, which covered this story, says that this whole system needs to be changed, we need a revolution, that’s where people need to head. But people from different perspectives need to stand up and resist this. This is a criminal outrage that must be exposed, that must be opposed. Black people, white people, brown people have to stand up and not allow this to continue any longer.”
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