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Tensions from Harrison Killing Spill Into Police Board Meeting

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 17, 2007 2:45PM

2007_08_CPD.jpgThe anger North Lawndale residents are feeling over the killing of 18-year-old Aaron Harrison by police is not going away. At least not as long as activists help them keep the heat on the Chicago Police Department. Nearly 50 protesters disrupted last night's Police board meeting at police headquarters at 35th and Michigan, leading the board and interim police superintendent Dana Starks to adjourn the meeting after 15 minutes, saying that the protesters "harassed" them. The decision was made after Starks' repeated insistence that he cannot divulge details of the Harrison killing while it is still under investigation. Following the meeting, the protesters filed out into the streets with megaphones and drums and continued voicing their demands: police give Harrison's family the name the officer who shot Harrison; that the officer, and others involved in the shooting, be fired immediately; and information as to what happened to the security camera footage that might shed a light on whether or not Harrison was armed at the time of his death.

The police department announced that there are two separate ongoing investigations by detectives and by the Office of Professional Standards. Both investigations should overlap - they're investigating many of the same witnesses. Other witnesses may be hesitant to help police; one activist told the Tribune that residents of Lawndale and other predominantly African-American neighborhoods suspect police of planting on suspects the same guns turned in during gun buy-back programs.

Not all of the anger is being reserved for police, however. An aunt of Harrison, speaking yesterday on the WHPK radio show "News from the Service Entrance" took to task the preachers, community leaders, and some of the very same protesters who cut short last night's board meeting coming out of the woodwork to condemn the police in the wake of Harrison's death, wondering where they were and what they were doing to help keep Harrison - who had an extensive arrest record that included a drug conviction - off the street and on the straight-and-narrow.

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