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Chicagoans Rally Over Police Violence

By aaroncynic in News on Apr 29, 2015 3:40PM

Hundreds of demonstrators hit the streets last night to protest police violence in Chicago and nationwide, sparked by local situations and a massive wave of protests in Baltimore, Maryland involving police and people of color. Protesters began their action with a rally in front of a police station at 35th and Michigan. “My baby sister was shot in the back of the head by a Chicago Police detective,” said Martinez Sutton. You want to know what he said...when he was let off, he said he had no remorse.” Sutton, the brother of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old woman shot and killed by Chicago Police detective Dante Servin, said he wasn’t angry at all police officers, but wanted justice after Servin was acquitted of all charges regarding Boyd’s death. “I don't hate officers at all, but I'm pissed when you let the guilty one free,” he said.

Boyd was killed by a Chicago police officer during an altercation that took place in 2012 in Douglas Park. Servin, who was off-duty, confronted a group of people in the park and fired several shots over his shoulder from his vehicle into the crowd after reportedly feeling threatened by what turned out to be a man holding a cell phone. A judge threw out the charges against Servin, saying because his conduct was "beyond reckless" and his decision to shoot was "intentional," he couldn't be charged with reckless conduct.

Organizers said that what happened to Boyd and Freddie Gray, 25-year-old African American man killed by Baltimore police whose death sparked protests and clashes with police, are part of a larger pattern. “If you saw Baltimore on your TV screens, I hope you also realize Baltimore is in your backyard,” said Malcolm London, an organizer with the group Black Youth Project 100. “Baltimore is down the street...when police dehumanize and harass people like me,” said London, according to the Chicago Tribune.

On average, Chicago Police have shot nearly or more than 40 people a year since 2007, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. Details surrounding incidents where police have shot individuals are spotty at best, as the Independent Police Review Authority, the entity that investigates police shootings and claims of abuse, doesn't make the details of its investigations public. Since 2007, the IPRA has conducted 176 investigations into shootings. Of those, it found that officers had violated department policy just three times. Meanwhile, a recent report from the ACLU showed CPD stop and frisk an alarming amount of people, specifically communities of color.

"We are one murder away from being Baltimore," said demonstrator Mike Elliot. "I'm serious. So we need to hold these police accountable."

Though some were quick to shout “riot” after a brief scuffle between police and some demonstrators, the majority of the protest was energetic and peaceful with only one arrest taking place after police tried to push demonstrators back onto sidewalks. Once police trailing the demonstration pulled back and allowed protesters to march in the street, higher tensions abated some, and it continued through the south side to 55th and Cottage Grove where hundreds held a large sit in. "Police are doing a lot of scary things in America right now and it's dangerous to be black in America right now. They're fighting back the only way we know how to now," Chris Walker, a demonstrator, told ABC7.