Building for #RiseUpOctober in Chicago's South Shore:

Large Crowd Blows the Whistle on Police Brutality

Cops retaliate with 2 felony arrests of activists

Updated October 5, 2015 | Originally published September 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From readers:

Chicago: Saturday, September 26 a “Rise Up October” crew was out in the South Shore neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. This is the same neighborhood where earlier in the summer there were a series of angry protests against the police murder of Alfontish “NuNu” Cockerham and Jeffery “JJ” Kemp. Gang conflicts have been and remain very sharp in this area.

The crew included some members of the Chicago Revolution Club, some new people running with the Club and others from the neighborhood. Many were wearing “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! ” T-shirts. They hung up a large “stolen lives” banner showing pictures of people murdered by police, and set up a table with organizing materials for #RiseUpOctober at a major intersection. They played a loop from a powerful short video about Rise Up October over a loudspeaker and interspersed it with speaking out to those in the area. They were calling on the youth to stop killing each other and start fighting the system, organizing people to become organizers for Rise Up October and to get on the bus and get others on the bus to the massive march to stop police terror in New York City on October 24.

There was a constant crowd at the table talking about how to stop police brutality and the need and possibility of revolution. People were getting Rise Up October literature to distribute, other literature to dig into and get out—including Revolution newspaper—and whistles to “blow the whistle on police brutality.”

When the police began to harass a young man for allegedly selling loose cigarettes nearby, the crew gathered to challenge this—blowing whistles, chanting and videoing what was happening on cell phones. Many more people from the neighborhood joined in. One man who had been active in the protests around NuNu was loudly denouncing the police: “The police just gun us down.” Others were telling the police to “get out of here, we don’t need you, leave this young man alone.” In the midst of this wild scene, people were signing people up to become organizers for Rise Up October.

More police cars pulled up. Eventually there were 11 police cars on the scene and officers with billy clubs at the ready. But seeing the anger of the crowd, which had grown considerably to over 50 people, the police backed off and let the young man they had accused of selling loose cigarettes go. The crowd was jubilant to see him set free. 

The Rise Up October crew regrouped at their table. Most of the police cars left the scene. A young man came up to thank us and learn more about what he could do. New people came up to learn more about Rise Up October, saying they wanted to get involved. Others in the crowd that had gathered drifted away.

Five to ten minutes later the police returned to retaliate. Many of the police cars that had left only minutes earlier rushed back into the intersection, blocking traffic. Police jumped out of their cars and started pushing and grabbing at people in the crew. A young woman was chased, grabbed and slammed to the ground. A young man filming was attacked and also slammed to the ground. He was later taken to the hospital due to possible head injury. The young woman was taken to the hospital for an asthma attack. At the hospital the police tried to claim that she was suicidal. Others from the crew who had followed police to the hospital rallied the hospital staff, who knew about what happened to Sandra Bland, to prevent the police from creating a scenario where they could lock the young woman in a psychiatric ward or hurt her worse and claim she did it to herself.

In the neighborhood, people who saw the attack on the crew were outraged about the arrests. People came up to give their names as witness and others were propelled to get more involved in building for Rise Up October. One guy getting off the bus at the corner was stunned to learn that all the police (about a dozen cars) were there for protesters. He said he thought someone had been killed or something. Another man from the neighborhood, wearing his “BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!” shirt, gathered a load of materials to get out. He seriously discussed what it would take to be on the bus and worked out how he could raise and save enough money to buy the ticket. He lives by selling loose squares (loose cigarettes).

After being held overnight, both people arrested were charged with felony battery on a police officer and were released on “personal recognizance,” meaning no money had to be put up for bail. There was a preliminary hearing on October 2, and the court set an arraignment date for October 16.

For more information, call 312-933-9586



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