Nearly 100 protesters gathered in front of Chicago Police Headquarters to support a bill which would give financial reparations to victims of police brutality and “torture.”
The marchers assembled on the city’s South Side with signs that said things like “Two Decades Too Many” and “Reparations Now.”
Amanda Tugade writes that the protesters announced their intentions, saying
“We [are here] for the survivors of this heinous wrong,” Adam Green, a University of Chicago history professor and a member of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial (CTJM) said. They are “perpetrated under the uniform and the badge of the city.”
The activist groups known as We Charge Genocide (WCG), as well as Project NIA and Amnesty International were there too, at the mid-December rally. They delivered over 40,000 petition signatures that support the bill for a Reparations Ordinance.
Green explained that the march and protest were inspired by We Charge Genocide’s recent visit to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. He said that, “The community must force the “city to act” regarding the “lack of true accountability for the officers and system that perpetrated this violence.”
Tugade notes that Burge led a “torture ring of white Chicago detectives” for over two decades. That ring used violent methods of what can only be characterized as “torture” to obtain confessions.
Burge was even convicted of perjury back in 2010, due to lying about officer-involved torture.
“For too long, their witness, truth and human dignity was denied by a department and a city that ignored facts and obstructed justice,” Green added.
So far, the ordinance, which was first introduced in October 2013, has received support from 27 aldermen. This includes the progressive candidate for mayor opposing Rahm Emanuel.
Mark Clements, a Chicago police torture survivor, pleaded with the City Council to “have a heart”, show support for the Constitution and approve the ordinance.
Clements was only 16 back in the early 80s, when the Chicago police beat a confession out of him for a crime he was later proven to not have committed. But first he spent 30 years behind bars for a crime that he had nothing to do with.
“Sixteen years old, hand cuffed to a ring around the wall, having my genitals grabbed and squeezed and called a ‘n-word-boy,’” Clements recounted with tears in his eyes.
“We are individuals that have suffered. Each and every day, I suffer,” he added. “Where is my psychological treatment? Where is my medical treatment? I’m sick right now. Does anyone care?”
Jeanette Plummer, the mother of Chicago police torture victim Johnny Plummer, said her son, now 38, was only 15 years old when police tortured him into confession to a crime he never committed. He is still behind bars today.
“I’m tired. My health is failing me,” Plummer explained. “I’m tired. I want my son to come home. Let me get my son before I leave this earth.”
“The fight isn’t about me anymore. The fight is about my grandchildren,” Clements added.
If passed, the ordinance would provide survivors with free college education. It would also build a center for vocational training, psychological counseling and health care services for those who suffer at the hands of rogue cops.
What do you think about the bill? Does it have any hope of passing?