On the night of April 3, an officer of the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) shot a student in the grips of a mental health crisis. Charles Thomas, who had been wielding a metal pole and smashing windows, and who the officer identified as undergoing a mental health crisis before shooting him in the shoulder, was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Streeterville to receive treatment. Over the following two weeks, he was charged with eight felonies, including assaulting a police officer.
Reparations Won!” a white sheet cake boasted in blue lettering. The names of survivors of torture by detectives within the Chicago Police Department hung from clotheslines draped across the walls. A dozen cardstock letters from CPD torture survivors who remain in prison dangled by pink string from the ceiling. On orange and pink post-it notes, questions like “What do you want the world to know about your mom?” and “What gives you hope?”—and corresponding answers like “Artists give me hope!”—colored the windows. A microphone stand arose from a makeshift stage set up in front of two large banners reading “Consent is Everything” and “You Are Never Alone.” Among all of this, over fifty activists, young and old—torture survivors, their mothers, and their allies—greeted each other, hugged, ate, and mingled.
Do Not Resist?,” For the People Artists Collective’s 2018 exhibition closed last Friday, February 9 after nearly a month of interdisciplinary generative installations and events across the city. From a training in the basics of cop watching to panels about topics including the abolition ofolf the prison industrial complex and reporting on police violence, the programming engaged thousands of Chicagoans in a conversation about the history of police violence in the city and alternatives to policing in Chicago.
Larry Redmond: My name is Larry Redmond. My nom de plume is Obi. So when people see the exhibit at the gallery people will see a little O-B-I on each of them, which would be me.
A gunshot is fired. Depending on where in the city it is, the sound might not just be picked up by human ears. By early next year, almost 130 square miles of Chicago will be monitored for gunshots by mechanical ears as well, via a technology called ShotSpotter.
I spent 2016 researching Chicago’s police-in-schools program. I sought to understand the accountability system that allowed a police officer serving in a high school to return to his post only days after fatally shooting an unarmed teenager.
The last time the Weekly surveyed the landscape of police accountability in Chicago, just over two years ago to the date and a month before the Laquan McDonald video was released, it looked considerably different. Scott Ando, a controversial longtime DEA agent, was still running the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA)—an agency which no longer exists. Garry McCarthy was still the tough-on-crime police superintendent, Anita Alvarez was still the tough-on-crime State’s Attorney, and the most vocal reform advocate in city government, Lori Lightfoot, had just been appointed president of the Police Board. The last two years have been some of the most tumultuous in the century-and-a-half-long battle over who will oversee and discipline the police force, and have arguably produced some of the most potentially impactful changes since the 1960s. However, as every person featured in this article would likely say, the work of establishing true, effective police accountability in the city is just beginning.
John Doe is a Black, male teenager from North Lawndale. He is in the Chicago Police Department (CPD)’s controversial gang affiliation database. He has a petty rap sheet, with four drug-related arrests in four years. He was recently beaten up, though has never been arrested for a violent crime or gun violence, and has never been shot. There are 240 other “gang affiliated” people in the city of Chicago with similar profiles, who have been the victims of at least one assault recently and have as many or more narcotics arrests as John. But among these people, John Doe stands out— he has been given a perfect score by the CPD’s Strategic Subject List.
Mere steps away from this newspaper’s office on Tuesday, January 17, the first of what is supposed to be a series of monthly meetings between leaders of Youth for Black Lives (YBL, formerly Black Lives Matter Youth) and Chicago Police Department superintendent Eddie Johnson took place.