Update to STOP Act Supporters- August 8th, 2015

Dear Friends,


Thank you again for your crucial support of the STOP Act.  We are writing to give you an update about the Act and other developments.


As you know, we planned to file the Act in City Council last Wednesday, July 29th, under the leadership of aldermen Moreno, Sawyer, and Maldonado.  Before the City Council meeting, We Charge Genocide and Chicago Votes organized a robust and well-attended press conference at which directly affected youth speakers from each group and all three of those aldermen expressed support and the intention to file the ordinance.  


During the City Council meeting following the press conference, Mayor Rahm Emanuel approached Alderman Sawyer and asked that the alderman wait until a later City Council meeting to file the ordinance because the City was actively exploring changes to relevant CPD policies.

As a result, the STOP Act was not filed on July 29th.


On Friday, August 7, as you may have seen, the CPD and the ACLU of IL released a set of agreements that does not include public disclosure of stop and frisk data, and instead provides for oversight by a former federal judge. The ACLU’s agreement provides for no more public disclosure than is required beyond the existing FOIA process and, in fact, specifies that all stop and frisk data given by CPD to the ACLU and the monitor will be kept “confidential”.  This is in clear contrast to the goals of our work.


Unlike the STOP Act, the agreement announced Friday also does not include receipts for stops that do not result in frisks, searches, or arrests; nor does it require officers to inform persons stopped of their right to refuse to consent to a search, or require officers to obtain written documentation of consent.


We Charge Genocide is deeply disappointed by the substance of the agreement, which falls short of the basic standards of transparency and accountability which would have been required under the STOP Act. 


In addition, we condemn the back-door process through which this agreement was created. That process deliberately excluded the voices of young people of color who have been organizing in support of the STOP Act and who are most affected by CPD’s stop & frisk practices.


Finally, We Charge Genocide is greatly angered by the behavior of the ACLU — which has met with us numerous times over the past several months and has claimed to support the STOP Act. We were shocked to find out that the ACLU has, throughout our numerous conversations, deliberately obfuscated the fact that they were also negotiating with the City, and refused to include us in these negotiations.


We Charge Genocide’s #ChiStops campaign is committed to ending stop & frisk in Chicago, and so will proceed with our Youth Speak-Out Against Stop & Frisk and Police Violence scheduled for this Sunday, August 9th from 2-5pm at Village Leadership Academy, 1001 W Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL 60608. Please join us on the one year anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder as we re-commit to ending all forms of police violence here in Chicago and across the country.


Next week, We Charge Genocide will publish a public statement addressing the ACLU’s actions. the wide gulf that remains between the ACLU/CPD agreement announced on Friday and the STOP Act, and the changes still desperately needed to achieve a basic level of transparency and police accountability in Chicago.


Fact Sheet: STOP ACT and What’s the Harm with Stop and Frisk?

STOP ACT Fact Sheet

<<<STOP Act Fact Sheet PDF download>>>

What’s the Harm with Stop and Frisk?

  • Stops and frisks are the police tactics that affect the largest number of Chicagoans.
  • Many of the people stopped have committed no crime. In the summer of 2014, CPD conducted more than 250,000 stops of individuals who were not arrested.[1]
  • In summer 2014, Chicagoans were stopped more than four times as often as New Yorkers at the height of NYPD’s stop and frisk practice.
  • “Black Chicagoans were subjected to 72% of all stops, yet constitute just 32% of the city’s population.”
    • In police districts where the population is mostly white, people of color were still stopped disproportionately frequently to the number of people of color living in those districts.
  • Studies have found that people who have been stopped and frisked are often traumatized by the experience, particularly when they are unfairly accused of engaging in criminal activity.


Does the CPD Collect and Publish Stop and Frisk Data Already?

  • The CPD records a limited amount of information about the stops it conducts.
  • The CPD does not record whether a frisk or search took place following a stop, nor does it require officers to document the justification for any frisks or searches conducted.
  • The CPD does not record information on a stop and/or frisk when the person is arrested or given a ticket or summons.
  • The CPD does not make this limited information and data accessible to the public.


What Will the STOP Ordinance Do

  • Require the CPD to collect and share data on the location, reason, result, and demographic information for all individuals (including perceived race, age, and gender) stopped and/or frisked.
  • Require the CPD to record whether a frisk or search was conducted and the justification.
  • Require the CPD to record the outcome and disposition of all stops, including recovery of contraband, arrest, or issuance of tickets or summonses.
  • Require the CPD to provide a receipt to the person stopped and/or frisked that includes the name and badge number of the officers involved in the interaction.
  • Require the CPD to record whether a search was conducted pursuant to consent, and if so, to inform the individual of their right to refuse consent and document such consent in writing.
  • Require the CPD to make all of this information publicly available in quarterly reports.


Why is the STOP ACT Necessary?

  • To enable meaningful oversight of CPD’s stop and frisk practices to determine if they are being effectively and fairly used to deter criminal conduct.
  • To monitor and determine if Black people and other people of color are being unfairly targeted and harmed by stop and frisk practices in Chicago.


If SB1304 Becomes Law, Why Do We Still Need the STOP ACT?

Illinois Senate Bill 1304 STOP ACT
Requires police departments to keep records of stops that resulted in frisks, searches, arrests, or issuance of summonses or tickets, not all stops. Requires CPD to record all stops.
Requires police departments to issue receipts for stops that resulted in a frisk or search. Requires CPD to provide receipts to all people who were stopped and/or frisked. 
Does not require police to inform people of their right to refuse to consent to a search. Requires CPD to inform people that they have a right not to consent to a search and to obtain written proof of that consent. 


Why Should the STOP ACT Be Passed Now?

  • SB1304 will already require the CPD to overhaul its policies on keeping stop and frisk data and sharing it with the public by January 2016. 
  • The STOP ACT will require the CPD to record all of the necessary information on all stops and all frisks conducted to ensure all of these practices are being used fairly and effectively.


[1]ACLU-IL website, http://www.aclu-il.org/stop-and-frisk-in-chicago1/. All facts regarding CPD Stop and Frisk demographics and rates are taken from Stop and Frisk in Chicago, ACLU of Illinois (March 2015).


One Year of We Charge Genocide

This June marks the one year anniversary of We Charge Genocide’s founding.

Our work to amplify the voices of young people impacted by police violence and push Chicagoans to envision and enact safety beyond police/policing continues.

This  group was catalyzed early last summer by the killing of Dominique Franklin “Damo” – a 23 year old friend who was tased to death while handcuffed by the Chicago Police Department.  Several months later the killing of Michael Brown brought police violence to heightened national attention.


Looking Back, Looking Forward

Police officers who harass, attack, and harm youth in Chicago continue to enjoy impunity. The call of We Charge Genocide and our vision of a world without police violence builds upon a long legacy of organizing and struggle in our city and beyond. Our name is taken from the 1951 We Charge Genocide petition to the United Nations. We honor the history and legacy of that work.

The past year has been one of sustained resistance, hope, creativity, and transformation due to the powerful hard work of many thousands across the country.

We have been especially inspired by #blacklivesmattter organizing and youth-led direct action happening in Ferguson, Baltimore, Oakland, Cleveland and in our own backyard.

We have been changed, moved, and strengthened in our love for each other and grown in our clarity and courage.  So we want to take a breath to take stock and celebrate the accomplishments and gains produced by so many people’s faith, energy, and time.


Here is a listing of WCG accomplishments:


Youth Hearing on Police Violence (8/2/14)  where we collected stories from youth and people of color targeted by CPD at this event and through our police encounter line.




WCGtoUN#WCGtoUN (Aug-November 2014): In a few weeks we researched, wrote, and released a shadow report to the United Nations that documented Chicago Police Department’s consistent violence against Black and Brown youth, and highlighted the complete lack of accountability for cops who murder youth of color. Then, we fundraised more than the $20,000 necessary to send a delegation of 8 young people to give personal testimony on the reality of police torture at the 53rd session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva, Switzerland. The presence of these young people also disrupted the status quo of the committee proceedings, garnering widespread news coverage of police torture in Chicago. Due to both the shadow report and the testimony of the delegation, the UN Commission’s final report specifically condemned violence by the CPD against people of color, and particularly Black youth such as Dominique Franklin “Damo” who was named. When the delegation returned, WCG hosted a well attended reportback event on December 11, 2014.



WCG02Numerous public actions against police violence: Including an action as part of the International Day against Police Brutality on 10/22/14, others in solidarity with Ferguson and Baltimore, marches and demonstrations in response to Rekia Boyd’s murder and violence against Black Women and Girls, marches held with families of those killed by Chicago and Calumet City Police, marches in collaboration with BYP 100 and Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) to illuminate the need for trauma care on the South Side, and an extraordinary march to the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center planned with and led by the middle school students of Village Leadership Academy.



Watching the Watchers conference (1/24/15) attended by nearly 300 people, offered 15 workshops on new and continuing campaigns, projects, and skill-building efforts to address police violence in Chicago and elsewhere, and featured a keynote by Ejeris Dixon.





CopWatch: Our copwatching training crew taught hundreds of Chicagoans, mostly youth of color, their basic rights when interacting with police and strategies for recording police misconduct when they see or experience it.





cops-riot-marchingResearch and resistance of police militarization in Chicago:  created a timeline of  police militarization process in Chicago as a popular education tool, pressured our alderman to question the Chicago Police Department on CPD’s use of military-grade weaponry, and submitted FOIA requests to increase public access to information about the CPD’s use of military technology.



Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 8.35.21 PMJoined the coalition to pass Reparations: Led by Chicago Torture Justice Memorials, Project NIA and Amnesty International, we joined a broad coalition  to pass an abolitionist reparations package for victims of torture under Jon Burge, marking the culmination of a 30-year struggle and the first time in US history that a municipality has granted reparations to victims of police violence.





Radical Education/Arts as Resistance: This effort has focused on building a repertoire of direct action and arts skills with youth of color in Chicago, and has already included two weekend-long trainings. The ultimate goal is supporting youth leaders as they continue to organize and share these new skills within their own communities.




Women to Celebrate: This March, WCG collaborated with other groups to recognize the efforts of women, femmes, and girls who fight against state violence and for justice.




ProfileBreanna01Planning, building, incubating, creating systems and processes: too often we lose sights of the incredible dedication and logistics it takes to help people connect and collaborate.  Yet, behind the scenes we have found each other in-person and on social media, shared food and ideas, hosted planning retreats and created healing spaces.  We have served as an incubator or catalyst for ideas that have taken their own shape, formation, and flight.



WCGMarchForRoshad001Finally, we learned a lot about how to use social media as a tool for organizing and public discussion.  We had conversations about breaking news, experiences with police brutality, what the Chicago Police Department is doing, the history of resisting police violence in our city, why we watch the cops and hold them accountable, and the intersections between movements, identities, and social experiences that shape us.


Summer of Safety Beyond Police

We began this summer with #DamoDay (May 20th), in memory and celebration of the life of Dominique Franklin. We will continue to speak his name and dance for a life lived.

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 11.51.13 AM

At the same time, summer in Chicago marks a time of highly visible systemic violence against our communities…both by the police themselves and also by the broader lack of support and opportunities for young people of color.

That’s why we are dedicating our work this summer to raising public awareness of the necessity of safety beyond police–a campaign to get the cops out of our hearts and minds.

 The police don’t keep us safe.We need to see each other, and not the CPD, as the solution to end violence in our city.

In addition to a broadly directed public campaign, WCG members and allies are launching a campaign to engage neighbors in conversation about alternatives to policing at CPD CAPS meetings, called Disrupt CAPS and a campaign called #ChiStops which will change the way the Chicago Police Department collects data on stops and frisks, with the ultimate goals of ending stop & frisk as it is currently experienced in Chicago.


Chicago Police & Militarization History Timeline

The formation of the Chicago Police Department didn’t happen overnight.  Even the very idea of police, the armed wing of the government, had to develop over time.  Yet, it is instructive that the foundation of a local police department  happened before Chicago was officially incorporated as a city.


This city has, literally, never existed without the cops.


We launch the Chicago Police & Militarization History timeline acknowledging this fact yet also knowing that safety beyond police also has a long history in our communities.  The police have a legacy of targeting and attempting to control different populations in Chicago deemed undesirable.  Communities have a legacy of resisting this injustice.  We hope this project can build understanding of how colonization, social inequality, racism, militarism, and the violent yet bureaucratic churn of “law and order” connect. This intersection of political, economic, and cultural forces  created and still justify the actions of the Chicago Police today.




1966 riot. From Humboldt Park Portal.

In early June of 1966 police shot a young Puerto Rican man named Cruz Arcelis.  In response, the Division Street Riots in Humboldt Park occured. By June 15, 16 people were hospitalized after being brutally beaten by the cops and 49 were arrested. Simon Gomez wrote a song in the Jibaro style about the uprising called, “Los Motines de Chicago,” which was enormously popular. It was banned from being aired and sold in Chicago. The FBI actually removed it from record stores and threatened radio stations that intended to play it. Learn more about Chicago police history here.




Watch the Watchers Keynote: Ejeris Dixon

Recorded LIVE on Saturday, January 24th at 11:00am Central

For more details on the conference, click here

Our Keynote Speaker is Ejeris Dixon. The title of her talk is “Practicing Liberation.”

Ejeris Dixon is an organizer and political strategist with 15 years of experience working in racial justice, LGBTQ, anti-violence, and economic justice movements. She currently works as the Founding Director of Vision Change Win Consulting where she partners with organizations to build their capacity and deepen the impact of their organizing strategies. From 2010 – 2013 Ejeris served as the Deputy Director, in charge of the Community Organizing Department at the New York City Anti-Violence Project where she directed national, statewide, and local advocacy efforts on hate violence, domestic violence, and sexual violence. From 2005 – 2010 Ejeris worked as the founding Program Coordinator of the Safe OUTside the System Collective at the Audre Lorde Project where she worked on creating community based strategies to address hate and police violence.

She speaks and trains nationally on issues of police violence, hate violence, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence as they impact LGBTQ communities and communities of color. Her writings and analysis have been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, SPIN Magazine, CNN, and the New Civil Rights Movement. In 2012 the White House recognized Ejeris as both an Emerging LGBT Leader and selected her as a featured speaker on violence against Black LGBT communities. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies at Yale University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.


Our 5 Demands #O22chi

We Charge Genocide Demands for National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality

(inspired by  #BlackLivesMatter demands)

  1. We call for a decrease in CPD spending and a reinvestment of that budgeted money into the black communities most devastated by poverty in order to create jobs, housing and schools. This money should be redirected to those city departments charged with providing employment, housing and educational services.
  2. We demand reparations for the survivors and victims of Chicago Police Torture.
  3. We demand that the federal government discontinue its supply of military weaponry and equipment to local law enforcement including the Chicago Police Department.
  4. We demand that the CPD answer the questions that we have posed in the interest of transparency and accountability: cpdquestions.tumblr.com
  5. We call on the CPD to release the names of all officers involved in killing Roshad McIntosh.



10/15: Next Cop Watch Training

Cop Watch Training for Community Members! 
We are Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in our city. Join us in learning the tools for monitoring and documenting police violence against Chicago’s young people.

Hosted by We Charge Genocide
Wednesday, Oct 15th, 2014
5:30pm – 8:00pm 

This training is open to all community members and will meet at:
Arab American Action Network 
3148 W. 63rd St. 
Chicago, IL 60629 

****Please remember to RSVP via Eventbrite to guarantee your spot***

//Unfortunately, this space is not wheelchair accessible.
//Free Childcare may be available! Please let us know via email (mtrini2@gmail.com) if you need childcare so that we can be prepared!

We Charge Genocide is a grassroots, intergenerational effort to center the voices and experiences of the young people most targeted by police violence in Chicago. Learn more: http://wechargegenocide.org/

Follow us on Twitter: @ChiCopWatch & #ChiCopWatch

“If you see something, say #chicopwatch”


Sep 27: Policing, Violence, Resistance, and Alternatives

Saturday September 27, 2014

1 to 4:30 p.m.
Roosevelt University, Spertus Lounge Room 244, 430 S. Michigan Ave
Pre-Registration is HERE.

Suggested Donation sliding scale – $10 to $30 (Funds raised are donated to We Charge Genocide to support a trip to the United Nations Committee on Torture in November). No one is turned away for lack of ability to pay.

This workshop will introduce participants to the work of Chain Reaction, a participatory research and popular education project with the goal of supporting conversations about alternatives to calling police on young people. Driven by our political goal of ending youth incarceration, Chain Reaction volunteers held workshops and recorded audio and video at youth centers and other spaces around the city, including a center for LGBTQ youth and youth experiencing homelessness. Youth told stories about being targeted by police because of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and age. Their experiences with police often set off a chain reaction that funnels youth into the prison industrial complex, a system that targets people of color, transgender women, and other folks from marginalized groups.

The workshop will provide an overview of a history of policing and police violence. Participants will then learn about the work of Chain Reaction and listen to some of the stories we collected. Through interactive activities and personal storytelling, we will explore what alternatives to calling police exist for those considering relying on police interventions within our communities, and imagine the ideal chain reaction we could set off in response to fear, violence, or harm in our communities. We will also ask what role adult allies can play in promoting alternatives to calling the police on young people and diverting young people from the prison industrial complex.

Finally, Project NIA and the Chicago PIC Teaching Collective have developed several resources (including zines, curricula, and pamphlets) that can be used to foster conversations with youth about policing. We will share these resources with workshop participants.

Pre-registration is REQUIRED. Please register here (only if you are certain to attend as space is limited).

Suggested Donation sliding scale – $10 to $30 (Funds raised are donated to We Charge Genocide to support a trip to the United Nations Committee on Torture in November).

This workshop is organized by Project NIA and is co-sponsored by the Mansfield Institute for Justice and Social Transformation at Roosevelt University and We Charge Genocide.


Aug 21: Cop Watch Training

People concerned with the epidemic of police violence are getting together to monitor it. The police can’t kill and abuse the same way if the community is watching and knows how to report it.

Come learn your rights to monitor police violence and get together with others to start Copwatch programs in your neighborhood.

August 21st

6:00pm – 8:00pm

226 N. Wabash, 9th Floor
Wheelchair accessible


Aug 2nd: Chicago Youth Speak Out on Police Violence

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People 25 years old and under are getting together to build.

Young people in Chicago are the future of this city but you wouldn’t know it by the way we’re treated.

Have you experienced harassment or been hurt by the police? 
Other people have too and we’re getting together to share our stories and talk about what to do about it.

Show up at the youth hearing to talk to other young Chicagoans, see performances (eat pizza), and build together.

12:00pm – 5:00pm Saturday August 2nd
Roosevelt University
430 S. Michigan Ave.

*Childcare is available for those who request it. Please let us know if you will need childcare, how many children you plan to bring, and their ages*

If you have questions about submitting your testimony anonymously, please contact jjinjustice1@gmail.com.


Spread the Word on Facebook here

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