Press Releases

Press Release: Community Policing Is Not the Answer–#CounterCAPS Report

CAPS Report

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 28, 2015

CONTACT:  Eva Nagao, (312) 505-8327

WHEN: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 12:30 PM
WHERE: City Hall, 2nd Floor
PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS: We Charge Genocide, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Black Lives Matter-Chicago, Black Youth Project 100, Showing Up for Racial Justice-Chicago

Community Policing is Not the Answer

Activists and Community Organizations Release Report on Community Policing in Response to President’s Recommendations For Policing

(Chicago, IL)- On Wed. Oc. 28 at 12:30 pm, community organizations will convene at City Hall to release a report on Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS). The report is a response to President Obama’s call, in his speech at the meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), to increase funding for police agencies and to renew the commitment to community policing. The report, titled “The Counter-CAPS Report: The Community Engagement Arm of the Police State,” finds that data gathered at CAPS meetings in several neighborhoods around the city shows that CAPS further strengthens divisions within mixed-income communities. The report found CAPS meetings permeated with racially coded language, where police officials inappropriately encourage small groups of self-selected residents to harass young people of color and target low-income housing.

The report challenges the president’s claim that community policing can improve the relationships between the police departments and minority communities. It shows that community policing mobilizes residents already committed to police involvement, increasing police surveillance of a community’s most vulnerable residents or visitors. The solution is not, as President Obama suggests, renewed commitment to community policing and further investment in law enforcement. Instead, the appropriate response is to reduce funding for police agencies and reinvest that money in social services like education and public health that will meet real community needs.

The release of the “Counter-CAPs Report” comes on the heels of a series of non-violent direction actions organized around the IACP meeting. On Saturday, October 24th, 60 activists, from the same organizations releasing this report, were arrested after they blocked intersections and entrances of the IACP meeting.

FOR MORE INFO: #CounterCAPS

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

 

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Press Release: Aldermen and Organizers Continue to Push For the Passage of the STOP Act

Stop Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 13, 2015

CONTACT: Christian Diaz, Chicago Votes, christian@chicagovotes.com, 773.657.0102

Aldermen and Organizers Continue to Push For the Passage of the STOP Act: ACLU’s Agreement with the CPD on Stop and Frisk Fails to Provide Necessary Transparency

CHICAGO — Today, aldermen Proco Joe Moreno, Roderick Sawyer and organizers with We Charge Genocide and ChicagoVotes announced their intention to continue their campaign to pass the Stops Transparency Oversight Protection Act (the STOP Act) in Chicago’s City Council. The STOP Act requires the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to collect data on all stops and frisks conducted by the CPD and publish this data on the City of Chicago’s website on a quarterly basis, similar to processes used in New York City and in other cities across the nation.

The aldermen and organizers intended to file the STOP Act at the July 29, 2015 Chicago City Council meeting after announcing they were doing so at a packed press conference. The aldermen delayed filing the ordinance after learning for the first time that the CPD and City were on the verge of reaching an agreement with the ACLU-Illinois as a result of secret, exclusive negotiations on the collection of stop and frisk data.

On Friday, August 7th, ACLU’s deal with the CPD was disclosed to the public. It indicates that the CPD will collect data on stops and frisk conducted by its members, but this information will not be disclosed to the public. Contrary to the provisions of the STOP Act, only the CPD, ACLU and designated Consultant, former Federal Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys, will have access to the pertinent data and relevant information, and they are bound to keep this information confidential under an attorney’s eyes only agreement.

After studying the CPD’s agreement with the ACLU, aldermanic sponsor Proco Joe Moreno found: “The CPD’s agreement with the ACLU is wholly unacceptable. The public has a right to know who is being stopped and frisked and how often these tactics are is being used. People should have the opportunity to make up their own minds as to whether stop and frisk tactics are racially discriminatory or fairly used.”

In addition to requiring the CPD to collect data on all stop and frisks performed by the CPD, the STOP Act would require police officers to give receipts to all who were stopped and frisked, thereby allowing a person to challenge the basis of the encounter if he or she believes it was unfair. The STOP Act also requires CPD members to inform people that they have the right to refuse a search if there is no legal basis for doing so. The agreement with the ACLU does not specify that all people stopped and frisked will receive such necessary receipts and it does not provide that people will be given these warnings.

“Young people have been organizing around stop and frisk tactics and need to have data collected to ensure that stop and frisk is not used as a form of discrimination against people of color.  We need more transparency in respect to how these police practices are used in the city of Chicago and we look forward to working with the Mayor to ensure that Chicago continues to be a national leader in responding to the passionate hard work of young activists, not just in Chicago, but all across this nation,” said Alderman Roderick Sawyer.

The STOP Act would help Chicago comply with recommendations made by President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing to publicly publish data on stop and frisk practices. New York City collects and analyzes its stop data and shares it on the NYPD’s website. Using this data, the police have reduced the number of unnecessary stops and frisks performed, and continue to reform their policies as new data becomes available.

According to Page May, an organizer with We Charge Genocide, “Being randomly stopped and frisked is a traumatizing and unfair experience.  Studies show that stop and frisk also becomes a tool for profiling individuals based on race, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity. Collecting and publishing the data is the first step on the road to eradicating this egregious harm.”
Chicago Votes Democracy Corps fellows spent several weeks this summer collecting over 2,500 comment cards in support of the STOP ACT. According to ChicagoVotes executive director Christian Diaz, “Chicago Votes is committed to the goals outlined in the STOP Act. We will continue to educate and engage young voters on the issues that impact their lives. Racial profiling by CPD is a near universal experience for the young black and brown people we train in our programs.”

Recently, Chicago Votes Fellow Robert Moses was stopped and frisked at the Roosevelt Green Line on this way to the Chicago Votes office on suspicion that he was using a stolen Ventra card. “Luckily I had my school ID and state ID to prove it was mine,” said Moses. “I was frisked in that process. They told me that the picture on my U-pass was blurry and that I needed a new one immediately. I responded ‘ok’ and went about my business. There was a group of white students in front of me, and they weren’t stopped simply for trying to board the train. I was racially profiled and stopped and frisked.”

Over 30 other community groups have signed on in support of the STOP Act, including Black Youth Project 100, Moms United Against Violence & Incarceration, and Black Lives Matter – Chicago.

For more information about the STOP Act, see: wechargegenocide.org/stop.act

We Charge Genocide is volunteer-run by Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in Chicago and who seek to equip individuals across the city with tools to more proactively hold police accountable. The name We Charge Genocide comes from a petition filed to the United Nations in 1951, which documented 153 racial killings and other human rights abuses, mostly by the police.

Chicago Votes is a non-partisan organization that increases democratic participation among young people. We are training the next generation of civic leaders through hands on experience like registering voters, canvassing door to door and organizing civic education events. In 2014 Chicago Votes registered 15,000  people to vote and passed landmark legislation for election day voter registration.

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Press Release: We Charge Genocide Raises Over $10,000 in a Week to Present Report on Chicago Police Violence to United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva

stopracistpolicing

We Charge Genocide | wechargegenocide.org | @ChiCopWatch #ChiCopWatch

MEDIA ALERT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: wechargegenocide@gmail.com

We Charge Genocide Raises Over $10,000 in a Week to Present Report on Chicago Police Violence to United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva

Chicago 9/23 — This November, We Charge Genocide will send six organizers to present a report on Chicago Police violence to the United Nations Committee Against Torture at their 53rd Session in Geneva, Switzerland, during which the U.S. will be under review.

With widespread community support, the group raised nearly $12,000 in one week for the trip via an online fundraiser, and tickets to Geneva, Switzerland have been purchased for six organizers. We Charge Genocide will continue to work towards their $15,000 goal with a series of fundraising dinners as well as an appeal to Chicago’s faith communities.

The group of young organizers have submitted their report to the UN for review via the US Human Rights Network and will briefly present it before the Committee Against Torture during the hour reserved for Civil Society groups. The report details data collected on the experiences of young people of color in marginalized communities most targeted by police violence in Chicago. It will be released to the public on October 22, a national day of protest against police brutality, on which We Charge Genocide has called for a silent protest in Chicago at the 11th police district.

Organizers traveling to Geneva include (full bios with personal statements and photos):

Ethan Viets-VanLear, 19, Rogers Park

Born and raised in Chicago, Ethan says he grew up facing constant surveillance and oppression from the police. He has organized with Circles and Ciphers, a leadership training program that works with youth of color involved in the justice system, and he helped develop curriculum for the Know Your Rights Project. He hopes the UN can assist in putting international pressure on Chicago to end the continued atrocities committed against people of color.

Page May, 25, Edgewater

Page was instrumental in writing the report We Charge Genocide submitted to the UN. Since moving to Chicago from Vermont four years ago, she has organized with prison abolition group Black & Pink: Chicago and is a member of the PIC Teaching Collective, working to dismantle the prison industrial complex through education. She hopes to speak before the UN about key findings in their report.

Ric Wilson, 19, Southside

An alumni of the Chicago Freedom School, Ric is a performing artist and an organizer with Black Youth Project 100, a group using leadership development, non-violent direct action, advocacy and education to work towards justice and freedom for all black people. He describes himself as a prison abolitionist who believes in restorative justice and believes he has a special contribution to make at the UN as a young black person directly impacted by oppressive policing.

Monica Trinidad, 28, Rogers Park

A lifetime resident of Chicago, Monica is an artist and is the co-founder of Brown and Proud Press, a writing collective that uses self-publishing to gather overlooked stories about the struggles of queer people of color. Monica will document the group’s experiences in Geneva on social media and says that by verbalizing the experiences of Chicago’s youth of color at the hands of the Chicago Police Department, the UN delegation will break the silence around the struggles these young people live through.

Todd St. Hill, 30, Rogers Park

Todd grew up in Washington DC and now lives in Chicago and organizes as a trainer with We Charge Genocide’s Cop Watch program. He says he wants to travel to the UN because the voices of ordinary people are not heard enough by government decision makers, and that it is important for black and brown people to be involved in the decision making processes that affect their lives.

Breanna Champion, 21, Bronzeville

Breanna is a field organizer for Chicago Votes, a core leader of the IIRON student network & Roots of Justice at UIC and an organizer with Black Youth Project 100. She says she is fighting to change the inequalities she sees every day in Chicago and that the UN trip is an opportunity to give a voice to people who have been physically assaulted by the police and who are terrorized by law enforcement on a daily basis.

We Charge Genocide is volunteer-run by Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in Chicago and who seek to equip individuals across the city with tools to more proactively hold police accountable. The name We Charge Genocide comes from a petition filed to the United Nations in 1951, which documented 153 racial killings and other human rights abuses, mostly by the police.

Previous press release:

9/15: We Charge Genocide To Present Report on Chicago Police to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva

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Press Release: We Charge Genocide To Present Report on Chicago Police to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva

WCG02

We Charge Genocide | wechargegenocide.org | @ChiCopWatch #ChiCopWatch

MEDIA ALERT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: wechargegenocide@gmail.com

We Charge Genocide To Present Report on Chicago Police to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva

Chicago 9/15 — This November, a new Chicago group, We Charge Genocide, will send six organizers to present a report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture at their 53rd Session in Geneva, Switzerland, during which the U.S. will be under review.

We Charge Genocide is a grassroots, inter-generational effort to center the voices and experiences of young people of color in marginalized communities most targeted by police violence in Chicago. The group debuted with a Youth Hearing on Police Violence in early August. Data and stories gathered at this hearing, and via the group’s online police encounter submission system, have been compiled into a shadow report which will be submitted to the UN in mid-September.

“The youth testimonies and CPD data analyzed in our report to the UN reveals a pattern of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of young people of color by the CPD. This abuse occurs at extraordinary rates, disproportionately against youth of color, and with impunity. Unfortunately, the CPD refuses to acknowledge or respond to this pervasive violence, and thus we are appealing to the UN for support.” says Page May, a We Charge Genocide organizer.

“The UN has already condemned the U.S. as being a hotbed of police violence in past reviews. We Charge Genocide will present a report to the UN Committee Against Torture stating that police in Chicago aren’t just harassing and brutalizing youth of color — their actions legitimately qualify as torture,” says Monica Trinidad, a We Charge Genocide organizer. “By verbalizing and presenting the bold testimonies and horrific experiences young people face at the hands of the Chicago Police Department, we hope to persuade the UN to classify Chicago police violence as torture and to take actions to help end this brutal and destructive treatment.”

The group of young organizers are in the process of submitting their shadow report to the UN for review, and will be testifying in front of the UN in mid-November. In order to do so, they will need to raise $15,000 for travel expenses. The group is kicking off their fund raising campaign today with a YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuZrSzc9KvQ and an 8PM CDT info sharing session on Twitter (include link to pastebin).

We Charge Genocide is volunteer-run by Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in Chicago. The name We Charge Genocide comes from a petition filed to the United Nations in 1951, which documented 153 racial killings and other human rights abuses, mostly by the police. While there is a long tradition of collecting testimonies of human rights violations and taking those to the UN, there has never been a specifically youth-driven effort.

In addition, We Charge Genocide hopes to equip individuals across Chicago with information, resources, and tools to more proactively hold police accountable. We Charge Genocide respects and seeks to lift up the existing efforts to hold the Chicago Police Department accountable, to reform the CPD, and in some cases to seek viable alternatives to policing.
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