Interview with a Member of the Revolution Club Chicago
What Happened at Kenwood High

October 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Thursday, October 19, at Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago police swarmed students after school, using force and intimidation tactics to attempt to stop the students from talking with organizers about the Refuse Fascism call for Nov. 4—It Begins... sustained nonviolent protests to drive out the Trump/Pence regime. Kenwood Academy is in the Hyde Park/Kenwood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.

In response to the initial report from the Revolution Club, a senior attorney associated with a civil rights organization asked a series of questions. The answers shed even more light on how outrageous this police action was in suppressing the students’ right to shape the future.

Attorney: Do you know who called the police and was the school involved?

Revolution Club Member: I don’t know who or if someone called the police or how involved the school was. We were first approached by a plainclothes police officer who seems to work at the school.

Attorney:What, if any, reasons did the police give for their actions?

Revolution Club Member: The things they said were: “You’re not allowed to do this here”; “You’re not allowed to talk to kids about this, they’re underage”; “You don’t have approval.”

But they also did a lot without bothering to explain themselves. Like grabbing flyers and stickers out of the hands of the students, and shoving them along saying, “Go on. Get out.” And then of course just driving the police SUV slowly ON the sidewalk and into the crowd of students with sirens blazing loudly to try to drown out the conversations we were having.

Attorney: Can you give me some more detail about the sequence of events? For example, when did Revolution Club members arrive, how many were there, and where were they stationed?

Revolution Club Member: There were four members of the Revolution Club who arrived at about 3:30 pm, well before school got out (about 4:15 pm) and waited across the street. As students started coming out of school, we crossed the street and stood on the sidewalk adjacent to the school. We had a banner and a bullhorn as well as flyers and stickers. As students began coming out of school, we began reading the banner out loud on the bullhorn as well as generally speaking about why we were there: to talk to them about Refuse Fascism’s plans for sustained nonviolent movement to demand the Trump/Pence Regime Must GO, beginning November 4. Many students came up to us and were asking questions, wanting to know more; they were taking flyers, and they were signing their names and messages onto the banner. [The banner reads: “Hey Trump, from those you like to demonize: You and your GANG in the White House are the real thugs and threat to humanity. In the name of humanity, WE WILL DRIVE YOUR ASS OUT!”]

All this was within the first few minutes after the last bell, before a plainclothes officer approached without identifying himself. He said to me, “You’re not allowed to talk to kids about this, they’re underage,” and when I was going to explain what we were there saying and why it was important for the students to hear, he interrupted saying, “I know why you’re here. You’re talking about Trump. We can’t have you doing this here, we have to ask you to leave or go somewhere else. You’re not allowed to do this here.” I responded asking “Who is ‘we’?” He stuttered and stumbled and said, “I’m talking about you all, your group here. You don’t have approval.” To which I responded, “No, you referred to yourself as ‘we’. Who is ‘we’?” Only now did he open his jacket and flash a badge that was hooked onto his belt and then identified himself as with the CPD. At this point I told him that “We are breaking no laws, we have a right to be here, and if you give me your card I would be glad to have an attorney call and explain the law to you.”

After this I believe most of their verbal harassment and attention was toward the students. For us, they mainly drove an SUV right on the sidewalk and blasted the sirens to drown us out and try to run us off, and physically tried to block us from interacting with any students. For the students, they would grab flyers or stickers out of their hands, shove them along telling them to leave; they would tell students they couldn’t stop and talk to us; students who were trying to read the banner they would block and get in the way and tell to leave. This went on for some time, and we still attempted to speak with as many students as we could and we did have some limited interactions (which would often be cut short by the police activity) until most of the students had exited the building and left the area, when we finally wrapped up and left.

Attorney: Were they [Revolution Club] on school property and if so did they have permission to be there?

Revolution Club Member: We were on the public sidewalk which is very spacious there. We were not on school property.

Attorney: At what point did the police arrive?

Revolution Club Member: It appears at least one was already there when we arrived, and I believe another two eventually showed up who were also in plainclothes. A police SUV would arrive a few minutes later blasting the sirens. Another two arrived either at the same time (but not immediately on the sidewalk like the first one) or some minutes later. In total, three SUVs and about six additional uniformed cops.

Attorney: Was anyone arrested/charged?

Revolution Club Member: No.

Attorney: How many students were involved?

Revolution Club Member: A couple dozen I would say were directly involved in the sense of having been yelled at by the police to not talk to us, having stickers or flyers grabbed out of their hands, being driven off by the police SUV driving right up to them, being told not to talk to us and to leave by the police (and later toward the end someone associated with the school would join in with them), or being interfered with when signing the banner.

Attorney: Did any of them take pictures/video?

Revolution Club Member: Yes but we are not in touch with any who have video.

Attorney: Are you in contact with any of the students?

Revolution Club Member: Around 6-10 gave us a way to contact them. We have been loosely in communication.


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