We Charge Genocide Sends Delegation to United Nations
On November 12-14, 2014, We Charge Genocide (WCG) sent a delegation of eight youth to Geneva, Switzerland to present evidence of police violence at the 53rd session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture. The delegation was following up on the submission of the shadow report Police Violence Against Youth of Color, which WCG had published after a period of documentation, research, and collecting testimony, which took place during summer 2014. The goal of addressing the United Nations, in following with the WCG mission, was to increase visibility of police violence in Chicago and call out the continued impunity of police officers who abuse, harass, and kill youth of color in Chicago every year.
The WCG youth delegation documented their trip to Geneva on social media. The delegation also made the decision to walkout during the second day of the proceeding and initiated a historic protest inside the United Nations during the presentation of U.S. Government representatives.
From the beginning, WCG hoped for an official statement from the international body of UNCAT calling out the Chicago Police Department by name as a source of torture in the United States. This happened on November 28th, 2014, when the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) released concluding remarks in review of United States government’s implementation of Convention Against Torture. Police shootings and “fatal pursuit of unarmed black individuals”, lack of statistical data on police brutality, and failure to show investigations addressing the issue are all mentioned in the UNCAT remarks. The Chicago Police Department is called out by name. The death of Dominique Franklin Jr. by a police tasering is cited specifically. These are the issues that the WCG youth delegation traveled all the way to Geneva to speak about during the 53rd session of the Committee Against Torture.
“The Committee is particularly concerned at the reported current police violence in Chicago, especially against African-American and Latino young people who are allegedly being consistently profiled, harassed and subjected to excessive force by Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers.” -Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports of United States of America, Committee Against Torture, November 28th, 2014
We Charge Genocide was not the only group with Chicago connections that presented evidence at the UNCAT on police torture, but was the main group focused on violence against youth of color. Here are some of the other group that presented on key issues:
- Martinez Sutton address UNCAT regarding the death of his sister Rekia Boyd, who was killed by an off duty Chicago police detective in 2012.
- Shubra Ohri from People’s Law Office followed up on the Burge torture cases, which CAT condemed in past reviews, and pushed CAT to support the reparations Ordinance in Chicago.
- Nikki Patin of Black Women’s Blueprint (organization based in NYC but she lives in Chicago) addressed police rape as torture against Black women.
- Monica James from Transformative Justice Law Project testified on the profiling and abuse of transgender women of color by the state (including law enforcement) and isolation of transgender women in prison.
Videos from live streaming of CAT session are now available.
There is also an English transcript.
Chicago Report Back Event
The official remarks of Ethan, Asha, and Breanna from UNCAT proceedings were also repeated for the audience in Chicago during the reportback event. These statements, along with the WCG report, were key in the Committee Against Torture naming the Chicago Police Department specifically as source of police violence and torture in the United States.
Asha’s Statement to representatives of U.S. government
Breanna’s Statement as a directly impacted individual