Press Conference Demands Massive Illegal Stops by Chicago Police Department Stop Immediately, Calls for Shut It Down on April 14

March 25, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Wednesday, March 25—The Stop Mass Incarceration Network Chicago chapter, the Chicago Revolution Club, and Tio Hardiman of Violence Interrupters Inc. held a press conference at the Cook County Courthouse to demand that the CPD immediately stop the policy of illegally stopping people on the street for no reason except that they are Black. 

Chicago Press Conference March 25, 2015

March 25 press conference in Chicago demands Massive Illegal Stops by Chicago Police Department Stop Immediately, Calls for Shut It Down on April 14. Photo: Frank Johnson

The press conference was called in response to an ACLU report released on March 23 that exposed that in a four-month period, the rate of police stops of Black people was 1,500 per day!; a total of 250,000 people were stopped, and 72 percent of them (187,048) were African-Americans even though they make up 32 percent of the population. This is four times the rate of stops in New York City at the height of its “Stop-and-frisk” program!  

The press conference denounced this outrageous repressive targeting of Black people and the fact that it is illegal and immoral to treat a whole generation of youth like criminals and demanded the police immediately cease and desist the stop and frisk. 

The press conference put forward these demands:

  • All Stop-and-frisks must stop today. Not 1 more illegal stop.
  • Stop Police Murder
  • Fire Police Chief Garry McCarthy immediately. 

Speakers at the press conference included: Grant Newburger of the Chicago Revolution Club and Stop Mass Incarceration Network; Tio Hardiman of Violence Interrupters, Inc.; Otis Buckley, founder of the National Justice Team; Jay Hannibal Hereford of the Young Leaders Alliance; and Gotti, a student and member of the Chicago Revolution Club. Also present were other members of the Revolution Club, including Iggy, who along with Grant, is facing felony charges for protesting police murder.

Grant Newburger said, “The police are a hostile occupying army. They stop the youth for no reason, criminalize them by putting every person they stop into their files. These stops contribute to the police murder of the youth. We demand this stop immediately. For over 400 years on this continent Black people have not been treated as human beings. First slavery, then Jim Crow and now the New Jim Crow. April 14 has to be the day people are in the streets Shutting It Down, NO Business as Usual, and the Revolution Club calls on to you be part of building a movement for revolution to get rid of this capitalist-imperialism system that is the cause of all this.”

Tio Hardiman emphasized the genocidal character of this program of illegally stopping any Black or Latino youth on the street as “Nazi, Gestapo tactics.” He called for McCarthy to be fired.

Otis Buckley, founder of the National Justice Team, said this is a national epidemic, and that people all over the country are protesting that every 28 hours, the police murder a Black person.

Jay Hannibal Hereford said, “I see the jump-out boys stop people all the time and make them put their hands on the police car. This is illegal. They conduct a smear campaign through the media to desensitize people to the treatment of Black and Latino people. They call Chicago the ‘murder capital’ but they don't talk about the police murder and brutality.  Nobody deserves to have their Fourth Amendment rights violated.  We will not allow our rights to be violated.”

The press conference called for everyone who is the target of this police repression and murder and all those who opposed it to unite and act on a nationwide scale to STOP this NOW and SHUT IT DOWN across the country on April 14. 

The visual message of the press conference made the connection between the outrage of these illegal stops and the need for thousands to get into the streets on April 14. Behind the speakers, Revolution Club members held a large banner for #ShutDownA14, “Stop Murder by Police.” Two large posters were displayed of a replica of  the “contact card” that the police fill out on each of the illegal stops they make bore a red stamp across the middle: “April 14 Shut It Down.” Pluggers with the same message on the front were handed out to the many people who were flowing out of the courthouse. On the back were some of the most damning facts of the ACLU report. (See box)

A large banner and posters with the pictures and names of some of the thousands killed by police nationwide drew rapt attention, stunned silence, questions, as well as recognition of some of the names and pictures, from many of the people who stopped. Many took copies of the poster version to post and share, along with stickers and flyers. 

One young Latino man who came to the courthouse to see his probation officer joined the rally and afterwards told his story. The police beat him severely this winter in the parking lot of the police station. “I slipped on the ice getting out of the patrol wagon, I thought the policeman was going to help me, instead he threw me face down on the ice, and beat me. I felt blow after blow until I blacked out. I had staples in my head and my eye had many stitches in it, I wasn't sure if I would ever be able to see again. They beat me, but then they charged me with assault and kept me in jail for 2 months – I think they didn't want to release me looking like that. Even though I did nothing wrong I took a deal for probation because I have a new baby at home. But I want to fight this, this is wrong. I will be there on April 14.”

Over and over throughout the press conference  the call was made to Shut Down Business as Usual on April 14, because these illegal stops ARE business as usual, police murder and brutality ARE business as usual and all this must STOP NOW.


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