police – Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop http://www.newstips.org Chicago Community Stories Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:45:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.13 No celebration: Chicagoans protest police, schools http://www.newstips.org/2013/08/no-celebration-chicagoans-protest-police-schools/ Tue, 27 Aug 2013 23:44:43 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=7638 Two dovetailing protests will mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in Chicago on Wednesday — a march on the Board of Education by a citywide coalition of community groups at 10 a.m., and a march on City Hall demanding accountability for police killings directly afterward.

Both protests emphasize how far we still have to go to address racial inequality, and both call for the creation of elected bodies to oversee local agencies — an elected school board and an elected civilian police accountability council.

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A dozen community organizations have called for a one-day school boycott and will march on the Board of Education at 10 a.m. demanding an end to the destabilization of neighborhood schools and recognition of the human right to a safe, quality education for every child.

They are calling for an elected school board and reallocation of TIF funds to stop budget cuts.

“Our schools are still very segregated and very unequal,” said Sarah Simmons of Parents For Teachers.  Suburban and selective enrollment schools have a full range of programs while students at Dyett High School in Washington Park are forced to take art and phys ed classes online, she said.

After heavy budget cuts, Kelly High School has two art teachers for 2,700 students and no library, said Israel Munoz, a recent Kelly grad who helped organize the new Chicago Students Union and is now headed to college.

Adolphous McDowell, a longtime school activist with KOCO, places Mayor Emanuel’s educational policies in the context of the backlash against the civil rights movement — noting that we’re still struggling to fulfill the promises of Reconstruction, when newly enfranchised black legislators created public education systems in southern states where they’d never existed.

One reaction to school desegregation in the 1950s and ’60s was the shift of public funding to white-only private schools in the South; later President Reagan pushed vouchers as a way to shift public funds to private school operators, McDowell said.

All those efforts “are coming to pass with charter schools,” he said.

Wednesday’s protest is the kickoff of a 25-city campaign to stop school closings and charter expansions.

Working with the national coalition Journey for Justice, Chicago students and parents have filed civil rights complaints against CPS and testified this January at a hearing on school closings at the U.S. Department of Education.

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The local chapter of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is leading a Peoples March on City Hall for Peace and Justice, highlighting the call for police accountability.  After gathering at the Federal Plaza at 11 a.m., they’ll march to City Hall for a 12 noon rally.

Since 2009, 70 Chicagoans have been killed by police, often in very questionable circumstances, said Ted Pearson of NAARPR.    Many police victims are shot in the back, he said.

Not a single officer has been charged for these killings, he said.

Investigations by the Independent Police Review Authority are “ineffective,” he said.  IPRA can only make recommendations to the Police Board or turn over evidence to the State’s Attorney.  “Anita Alvarez does nothing with these cases,” he said.  “She just sits on them.”

He points to the case of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old shot by an off-duty detective in Douglas Park in March 2012.  The officer claimed a young man pointed a gun at him, but he was holding a cellphone, said Pearson.  Alvarez charged the young man — who was shot in the hand by Detective Dante Servin — with aggravated assault.  Charges were dropped when Servin failed to appear for a hearing.

Servin has not been charged and remains on the police force. This spring the City Council approved a $4.5 million settlement with Boyd’s family.

Pearson said the issue of police killings gets little mainstream attention “but in the black community it’s a hot-button issue.”

“It’s common to hear people say the police are just a gang like any other gang, the only difference is they get away with it,” he said.  “They take the law into their own hands.”

The alliance’s legislative proposal to establish an elected civilian police control board is modeled on a measure that was enacted by Berkeley, California, in the 1980s, he said.

Buses are bringing protestors from Englewood, Washington Park, Woodlawn, Lawndale, Garfield Park, Austin, Pilsen, Little Village, Hegewisch, Humboldt Park, and Rogers Park.

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Gary Younge has a new book from Chicago’s Haymarket Press on The Speech, about the background of Martin Luther King’s famous oration fifty years ago.  “The speech was profoundly and willfully misunderstood,” theologian Vincent Harding, a colleague of King’s tells Younge in an adaptation published in the Nation.

Younge points to one sentence often overlooked today — and which could serve as a rejoinder to Emanuel’s austerity agenda:  while blacks remain “on a lonely island of poverty,” King said, “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”

Don Rose, one of the Chicago organizers of the March on Washington, underscores this point in his latest Chicago Daily Observer column.  But given Wednesday’s agenda, last week’s column is also germane:

“There are so many twists and turns in Rahm Emanuel’s school plans it’s hard to figure out exactly what he has in mind—apart from wrecking the Chicago Teachers Union. He sure doesn’t seem to be helping the kids, which should be his first order of business.”

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Detective Guevara takes the Fifth http://www.newstips.org/2013/06/detective-guevara-takes-the-fifth/ http://www.newstips.org/2013/06/detective-guevara-takes-the-fifth/#comments Tue, 18 Jun 2013 22:31:20 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=7525 The Sun-Times reports that former detective Reynaldo Guervara repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment in a hearing on a motion to overturn the murder convictions of two men.

A plaintiffs’ attorney told reporters Guevara has tainted several local cases — in terms of quantity, making disgraced police commander Jon Burge “look like small potatoes.”

There’s lots more to the Guevara story.

In June 2009, Newstips reported on a unique “patterns and practices” claim made in by lawyers representing Gabriel Solache, who was sentenced to life in prison following a 2000 murder conviction based on Guevara’s investigation.

While such claims — charging the Chicago Police Department with failing to rein in  police misconduct — are generally based on departmental patterns, this one was based solely on charges of misconduct against a single detective: Reynaldo Guevara.

Solache’s motion included trial testimony and depositions alleging 40 instances of misconduct by Guevara alone, including violence, threats of criminal charges, and threats to parents that their children would be taken by DCFS.  Solache’s case went to trial last month.

That post also cited an FBI report in which an informant charged that Guevara took money to fix murder cases.  Details here.

In November 2009, Newstips gave the backstory to the order for a new trial for Salvador Ortiz, who’d spent 17 years in prison for a 1992 murder conviction in which all known witnesses had recanted their identification of him.

Community activists maintain that Ortiz was set up for the murder charge after he told attorneys in 1991 that Guevara had induced him to identify Juan Johnson as the perpetrator of a 1989 murder.  Johnson’s conviction in that case was thrown out in 2004 — after he’d served 11 years in prison.

Last month the Sun-Times called for an investigation into Guevara by the state’s attorney’s conviction integrity unit.

In response, David Protess of the Chicago Innocence Project wrote that the state’s attorney’s office “has proven not to be the solution.”  State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has termed the charge against Guevara “ridiculous,” he notes.  In another post, Protess details prosecutor’s successful efforts to block the testimony of the murder victim’s widow, who now says Guevara lied to her.

Says Protess: “It’s time for journalists and others outside the justice system to dig deeper into the Guevara cases and unearth the truth.”

It’s also worth noting the years of work by Comite Exigimos Justicia on behalf of Guevara’s victims.  Here’s a Newstip from 2003 on their campaign, and a more recent article from Fight Back News.

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More police in schools? http://www.newstips.org/2013/01/more-police-in-schools/ Mon, 21 Jan 2013 01:57:03 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=6938 New federal funds for safe schools should go for more counselors, social workers and psychologists, and not more police in schools, several groups are arguing.

Students and parents from across the city will hold a press conference Monday, January 21, 2 p.m. at CPS headquarters, 125 S. Clark to make their case.

Participating are Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, POWER-PAC, and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

President Obama has proposed spending $150 million on police “school resource officers,” counselors and psychologists.

“We have ten full-time school security guards and two full-time armed school police, but we don’t even have one school psychologist,” said VOYCE student leader Ahkeem Wright in a release.

A CTU study last year found CPS was staffed far below recommended levels for school nurses, social workers, counselors, and psychologists.

CPS’s approach “has led to record-public spending, stark racial disparities and the overuse of school-based arrests for misdemeanor offenses – even as homicide and gun violence in the surrounding communities skyrocket,” the groups maintain.

Chicago has had among the highest in-school arrest rates in the nation, and last year there were an average of 25 students arrested in school every day here, compared to 5 in New York City, with twice as many students, according to VOYCE.

“Students are being arrested for misbehavior that 20 years ago would have meant a trip to the principal’s office,” said VOYCE coordinator Emma Tai.  “It’s not punishment, it’s not consequences — it’s criminalization.”

In 2011, CPS voluntarily increased its payments for police officers stationed in schools from $8 million a year to $25 million.  A new contract is set to be renewed at this month’s school board meeting.

“We need more ways to support our students, not more cops to arrest them for little things,” said POWER-PAC co-chair Felipa Mena, a restorative justice peacemaker at Wells High School whose son – as Wells graduate – was killed in a street shooting in 2009.

 

For more:  How Obama might make school-to-prison pipeline worse (American Prospect)

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Police accountability — and politics http://www.newstips.org/2012/07/police-accountability-and-politics/ Sun, 15 Jul 2012 22:02:42 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=6452 The First District of the Illinois Court of Appeals is set to rule in a police accountability case which has had some twists that can only be called bizarre – and, according to Jamie Kalven in Huffington Post, raise the question of whether the court has been influenced by political pressure.

In December, the appeals court issued a strong ruling granting an FOIA request by Kilroy Watkins, who’s serving a 55-year sentence for murder and armed robbery.  Watkins had requested the civilian complaint files for two Chicago detectives who were working under Commander Jon Burge when they arrested Watkins in 1992 and, as he’s maintained since then, coerced a confession out of him.

The City of Chicago has maintained that complaint records are personnel matters that are exempt from public disclosure requirements.  As Kalven explains, the appeals court relied on a 2009 state court ruling that established that civilian allegations of official wrongdoing are public business, and police departments can’t just hide them from the public by placing them in personnel files.

But a week after the ruling was issued it was withdrawn on grounds Kalven calls “hyper-technical,” having to do (as best I can figure) with whether Watkins cited an oral ruling or a written decision.

Political pressure?

“Did the First District yield to political pressure?” Kalven asks. “The question must be asked, though it cannot be definitively answered, for the city has consistently sought in every possible way to resist the emerging judicial consensus that [civilian complaint files] are public information.”

Watkins petitioned the state supreme court, which laid aside the appeals court’s procedural objection and directed the court to decide the case on its merits.  That decision is expected shortly.

The “logical outcome” is for the appeals court to reinstate its original ruling, Kalven says.  If it doesn’t, he suggests, it will raise serious questions about its judicial independence.

Kalven himself has been pursuing civilian complaint files for five years.  In 2007, Judge Joan Lefkow granted his request for the release of complaint files for five Chicago officers charged with abuse in a federal civil rights case which the city had recently settled.  Two years later a federal appeals court overturned her decision, ruling that Kalven lacked standing – but suggesting that he could file a FOIA request under state law.

He did so that year, the city refused his request, he went to court, and in January a Cook County Circuit Court judge rendered a split decision, granting Kalven’s request for two sets of files and denying it for a third, based on a 2010 revision to the state FOIA law which seems designed to protect police officers who’ve been charged with abuse.

A new administration

Both sides are poised to appeal the unfavorable portions of the ruling, though Kalven says a settlement remains possible.  How this proceeds could indicate whether Mayor Emanuel chooses to continue the Daley administration’s practice of stonewalling on public accountability for abusive cops.

It’s a sensitive test for a new mayor publicly committed to increased transparency.

Kalven points out that the city seems to have spent far more effort and resources on covering up police misconduct than on preventing and correcting it.

Abusive officers – with a very small number racking up a huge number of civilian complaints and costing the city millions of dollars in legal fees and settlements – not only trample residents’ rights but undermine public trust in the police department, making it much harder for good cops to do their jobs, he argues.

As for Kilroy Watkins, his post-conviction petition was denied, though his claims are quite plausible.  The two detectives who arrested and charged him, Kenneth Boudreau and John Halloran, have the rare distinction of having been forced to contribute $7,500 each to a $1.25 million settlement in a wrongful conviction case last year, as the Chicago Tribune recently reported.

The officers allegedly “beat, kicked, and threatened” the plaintiff in that case, according to a 2008 article by Kari Lydersen.  Another suspect in that case was allegedly handcuffed to a radiator for hours, beaten with a blackjack, and subjected to a mock execution.

In a 2001 Tribune investigation of murder cases where confessions obtained by Chicago detectives failed to hold up in court reported that “Boudreau stands out not only for the number of his cases that have fallen apart, but for the reasons.”

“He has obtained a confession from a man who, records show, was in jail when the murder occurred. He has obtained a confession from a man accused of two murders, but both cases were undermined by DNA evidence.

“He helped to get confessions from two mentally retarded teenagers for two separate murder cases, but they both were acquitted. And he got the confession of a 13-year-old with severe learning disabilities who experts said could not understand his rights.”

The man who was acquitted on DNA evidence was picked up leaving the hospital after being treated for a dislocated toe and denied any knowledge of the two murders.  He told the Trib that over 36 hours he was beaten by Boudreau repeatedly, and he confessed after Boudreau choked him, slammed him against the wall and hit him in the face – and after Boudreau was pulled off the suspect by another detective, stomped on his foot.

Maybe Governor Quinn should look into Kilroy Watkins’ case.

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Whose firebombs? http://www.newstips.org/2012/05/whose-firebombs/ http://www.newstips.org/2012/05/whose-firebombs/#comments Sun, 20 May 2012 04:46:02 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=6232 The Associated Press has the best report I’ve seen about the alleged firebombing conspiracy in Bridgeport, noting that defense lawyers say there were police infiltrators who stayed in the targeted apartments, and that they were the ones who brought the firebombs there.

(The Sun Times reports that undercover officers were present when the alleged firebombs were made, presenting that fact as evidence for the veracity of the charges.)

“Longtime observers of police tactics said the operation seemed similar to those conducted by authorities in other cities before similarly high-profile events,” according to the AP.

AP cites the RNC 8 – eight young people involved in planning protests at the Republican National Convention in 2008 who were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism under Minnesota’s PATRIOT Act.  When it was finally resolved, five accepted plea deals for misdemeanor conspiracy to damage property – one got 91 days, the others no jail time – and charges were dropped against the other three.

Kind of not such a big deal as the initial headlines would have indicated.

Chicago police have a long history of infiltrating peaceful protest groups and fomenting violence – it’s one reason the Red Squad was banned by a federal court order (later lifted at the request of Mayor Daley) – and infiltration of protest groups seems to be standard operating procedure for “national security events.”

And nationally since 9/11, an embarrassing proportion of “anti-terrorism” cases have involved plots proposed, planned, and enabled by police agents. That seems to have been the case – in just the past month — with the Wrigley bomber as well as the alleged bombing plot of a group of Cleveland anarchists who supposedly “discussed” disrupting the NATO summit. Sometimes you wonder whether such efforts are directed at keeping us safe or “putting points on the board” – or, when big protests are planned, generating scare headlines.

“This is just propaganda to create a climate of fear and to create this public perception that protests are violent,” said Michael Deutsch of the National Lawyers Guild.

Given our history, it’s as plausible a theory as any.  Certainly some skepticism is in order.  And hopefully no one will be scared out of exercising their First Amendment rights on Sunday.

The AP also notes that two of the suspects were involved in an incident last week in which they were taunted by police during a traffic stop that was captured on video (Huffington Post has the video).  Like many, I thought of Chris Drew when I saw that story.

In that encounter, the cops bragged about Chicago in 1968 – when “the police rioted,” according to the Walker Commission.  In contrast, police have been disciplined and professional, sometimes in the face of verbal provocation, in all the protests I’ve seen this week, and the goal is clearly to avoid a major blowup.

But it’s also worth remembering what Don Rose said on the 40th anniversary of Chicago 68, when asked if there were anything the protestors should have done differently:

“The only thing in retrospect is, it would have been better to have teased out some of the police spies in our own organization.  As it turned out…much of the violence [by demonstrators] was perpetrated by police moles.  I suppose if we’d been more vigilant about who might be the moles and traitors among us, it might have been different.”

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Call for special prosecutor in Koschman case http://www.newstips.org/2011/12/call-for-special-prosecutor-in-koschman-case/ Thu, 15 Dec 2011 04:30:01 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=5018 David Koschman’s mother has filed a petition calling for a special prosecutor to investigate her son’s death in a 2004 confrontation with Mayor Daley’s nephew and the possibility of a politically-motivated coverup of the case.

Nanci Koschman will discuss the petition at a press conference at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 15, at Northwestern School of Law, 375 E. Chicago, 8th floor.  She’ll be joined by Locke Bowman of the MacArthur Justice Center and Andy Shaw of the Better Government Association.

The petition calls for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Daley’s nephew Robert Vanecko is criminally responsible for Koschman’s death, whether false reports were filed in the subsequent investigation, and whether police and prosecutors conspired to obstruct justice in order to protect the mayor’s relative.

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez cannot conduct an impartial investivation, the complaint argues, because one of her assistants is a possible witness – and the possible subject of an investigation into official misconduct and obstruction of justice.

In addition, Alvarez closed a second investigation of the case which followed reports in the Chicago Sun Times earlier this year, claiming all witnesses agreed that Koschman was the aggressor in the incident. Several witnesses say that is not what they told authorities, the Sun Times has reported.

Alvarez has denied that political considerations played a role in the handling of the case.

“Petitioners believe that had Vanecko not been a member of the powerful Daley family, he would have been charged with the homicide,” according to the court filing.

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An acquital – but not justice – for Tiawanda Moore http://www.newstips.org/2011/08/an-acquital-but-not-justice-for-tiawanda-moore/ http://www.newstips.org/2011/08/an-acquital-but-not-justice-for-tiawanda-moore/#comments Fri, 26 Aug 2011 20:21:09 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=4709 Tiawanda Moore’s acquittal Wednesday raises a range of issues:  about the constitutionality of Illinois’ eavesdropping law; about the role of the State’s Attorney and the Chicago Police Department’s internal affairs division in protecting abusive officers; and about media treatment of female victims of sexual crimes, and especially of young African American women.

The Sun Times report touches on the constitutional issues, while the Tribune examines them more extensively — and hints at the problems with IAD and the State’s Attorney:  “The case offers a rare glimpse” into the internal affairs division.  “And it turns out to be an unflattering look.”

A juror tells the Trib, “Everybody thought [the case] was just a waste of time and that [Moore] should never have been charged.”  The jurors thought  the effort of the IAD investigators to discourage Moore’s complaint, which she captured on her cellphone, at least “bordered on the criminal.”

It’s there, in the Trib’s report, between the lines:  when a cop breaks the law – at least when a young woman of color is the victim — IAD can’t be counted on to investigate, and the State’s Attorney can’t be counted on to protect the victim.

At the blog of the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women (CTOV), Melissa Spatz brings out these implications.  She provides crucial context, missing from other accounts:  the record of young women coming forward in Chicago to report being sexually assaulted by police; CPD’s woeful record disciplining abusive cops.

No recourse

She goes through the closing arguments (more detail on that here), unpacks the prosecution’s amazing attempt to paint an isolated female victim, just 20 years old, as a powerful aggressor, and concludes that “the State’s Attorney cannot be counted on to protect young women from police violence.”

This may not be news, but it is shocking nonetheless:  a young woman in Chicago has no official recourse after a sexual attack by a police officer.

Moore tells the Tribune: “If I would have known I was going to get in trouble, I might never have come in and filed the complaint in the first place.”  As Newstips noted earlier, it’s not hard to conclude that this was the very point of prosecuting her – to punish her for stepping forward, and to prevent others from doing so.

It’s this revictimization of the victim that many commentators see in newspaper reports that describe Moore as a “former stripper.”  Beachwood Reporter and Chicagoist stressed this, with Beachwood citing an e-mail from Chris Drew, an street art activist who’s also facing eavesdropping charges (see Newstips 1-27-10). Drew challenges the characterization as missing the point: Moore “has every right to expect justice from our system and she is a  brave fighter for women’s rights,” he writes.

An inglorious history

Radley Balko at The Agitator argues that Moore’s occupation had no relevance to the story, and Spatz’s colleague Mariame Kaba on the CTOV blog puts it in the context of “an inglorious history in the press of women who bring charges of sexual assault often being painted as sexually ‘loose’.”  The description is “a kind of shorthand,” she writes.  “It suggests something about her character and perhaps should lead us to question her credibility.”

I talked with a couple reporters who’ve covered the case.  Here’s some of what I got:  it’s not uncommon to report the occupations of people in court cases.  Moore’s former occupation did come up in the trial and was, I’m told, relevant as a factor in the cop’s assault, though the coverage did not provide that context.  The fact that she had been a stripper is the kind of detail that adds interest to a story.  There was no intention to smear her.  It’s just the facts, with an eye toward reader appeal and obtaining a few inches in a shrinking newshole.

They’re right, I think, that it was part of the story (though UPI didn’t think it merited inclusion, and the Trib left it out of its report on the verdict).  And I’m convinced that their motive was to get the story out, not to minimize its impact.

Their critics are right, too, that it’s something to be sensitive about. (Indeed, CTOV is considering developing guidelines for media coverage of sexual violence.)

The jury’s verdict clarifies things immensely.  The jury had no trouble finding Moore credible.  (Of course, she had her tape, a crucial fact.)  In the accounts of the verdict, Moore clearly comes across as a person of courage and integrity; the prosecutors as bullies and worse.

For Moore it’s a partial victory; she still hasn’t received justice.  According to the Tribune, the police officer she says assaulted her is still under investigation, but the internal affairs officers who tried to put her off are not being investigated at all – indeed, one has been promoted since the incident.

But Moore’s acquittal is a tremendous comeuppance to State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.  The eavesdropping statute stands exposed as a tool for repressing citizen complaints about police, and Alvarez stands exposed as someone who will use that statute to punish honest citizens and protect bad cops.

As Drew says, the media “should examine in depth the way the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office shields police misconduct.”  And we all need to look at how dominant cultural attitudes limit respect and access to justice for young women, especially young women of color.

We should also salute Ms. Moore for her tenacity and commitment to justice, and thank her for the example she sets for all of us.

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NATO/G8 protestors assert free speech rights http://www.newstips.org/2011/07/natog8-protestors-assert-free-speech-rights/ Wed, 27 Jul 2011 22:01:25 +0000 http://www.newstips.org/?p=4627 With Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announcing preparations for “mass arrests” of protestors at NATO and G8 summits in Chicago next May, a group of peace, labor, and community activists are calling on Mayor Emanuel to guarantee the right to free speech.

Activists including Rudy Lozano, Kathy Kelly, and SEIU Local 73 president Christine Boardman will deliver a letter to Emanuel on Thursday morning calling on him to “guarantee civil liberties” and issue permits for rallies and marches during the summits. A press conference is planned for 11:30 a.m., Thursday, July 28, on the fifth floor of City Hall.

In a release, the NATO/G8 Working Group points to the city’s “dismal track record of suppressing peaceful protestors” including “a decade-long effort to thwart peace activists’ right to assemble and march to oppose U.S. wars.”

“We have to train for mass arrests,” McCarthy told the Sun-Times recently, discussing preparations for the summit.  Protest organizer Joe Iosbaker told the paper he’s hoping for a peaceful demonstration – “we want our marches and rallies to be things that people can bring their children to” – but added, “We intend on having our rights respected.”

“We’re talking about a legal permitted march, and we have the police acting as if we’re going to riot,” said Pat Hunt of Chicago Area Code Pink.  “We consider [McCarthy’s comment] to be a threat – a threat to deny our right of free speech.”

McCarthy was with the New York City police in 2004 when hundreds of thousands of protestors marched on the Republican National Convention.  Police arrested 1,800 people, including many nonviolent protestors and nonparticipants, holding them in the three-block-long Hudson Pier Depot for days, until a federal judge ordered their release.

Only a handful were charged with any crimes.  Numerous lawsuits resulted.

In Chicago, a lawsuit is still pending from the arrest of over 800 nonviolent protestors and bystanders on March 20, 2003, at the time of the invasion of Iraq.  Since then peace groups have often struggled to get parade permits.

In one case organizers were arrested while holding a press conference on Michigan Avenue stating that a planned march had been moved due to lack of a permit.  In another case the city sued protest organizers after the city’s license commission agreed to issue a permit for a march in Pilsen.

In its letter, the Working Group raises the issue of costs for the city, pointing out that Pittsburgh spent $18 million on security to host the G20 summit in 2009, while closing highways, city streets, trains and bus routes around the summit.

Next year’s event is likely to cost more, they say.  (Moving the National Restaurant Association from McCormick Place that week is already costing $2 million, Greg Hinz reports.)

McCarthy’s comments came on the same day Emanuel threatened hundreds of layoffs of city workers in an attempt to save $10 million.

NATO and G8 exemplify agendas of militarism and austerity that “we feel are unjust,” said Hunt.  “We want to be there to present alternatives for more just ways of dealing with the problems we face as a world.”

 

[ADD]  McCarthy said he would be studying the experiences of Pittsburgh and Seattle, which hosted the World Trade Organization in 1999.  In Seattle, police declared a 25-square-block “no protest zone” and “deploy[ed] chemical weapons, rubber bullets and clubs against protestors and bystanders alike,” according to an ACLU report (pdf).

There were “hundreds of improper arrests, detaining for days people who would never stand trial.”  There were widespread reports of excessive force. “The demonstrators were overwhelmingly peaceful,” according to the report.  “Not so the police.”

While tens of thousands including labor unions and environmentalists protested, several thousand committed nonviolent civil disobedience, and (according to the ACLU) “several dozen people commit vandalism,” businesses reported losses of $20 million due to police closure of downtown Seattle.

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