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Police Accountability Activists Are Holding 'Shadow Conference' This Weekend

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 23, 2015 9:00PM

As the 122nd Annual Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) meets this weekend, a broad coalition of community groups and activists are planning their own conference as well as a rally and march to demand fair policing practices and accountability.

"Our basic human rights are being violated every day by the police," said Sade Richmond, a leader with the group Workers Center for Racial Justice, one of the many groups making up the coalition. "Black men and women are being harassed, assaulted and even murdered by police. And as the heads of police departments I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the IACP."

The four day IACP conference, which begins on Saturday, is the largest gathering of law enforcement leaders and public safety officials. President Barack Obama is expected to speak at the convention on Tuesday.

The groups say that IACP, which is made up of some 20,000 police chiefs, is part of an endemic problem of police violence, particularly in communities of color. “Since January 1st of this year, 959 people have been killed by cops, 62 since October 1st,” said JeNae’ Taylor of Black Youth Project 100 at a Thursday morning press conference. “Do the math. The institutions set up to protect and serve is only protecting itself.”

Organizers of the shadow conference and demonstration, dubbed “I shocked the sheriff,” are demanding IACP support the decriminalization of drug possession, community controlled oversight committees representative of the racial, gender and ethnic makeup of those communities which have the authority to “investigate, subpoena, and file charges against police officers for misconduct,” an end to the collection of military grade weapons through the Department of Defense Excess Property Program 1033, and a reallocation of funds that invest in communities.

“We believe that if the IACP agrees to do these things, it will go a long way at repairing relationships between police and communities of color, reduce the violence committed by police in our communities and reduce the disproportionately high rates of incarceration of people of color," said Teresa Smallwood, also with WCRJ.

Saturday’s march and rally begins at 1 p.m. outside Chicago Police headquarters on 35th Street and Michigan Avenue.