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Activists Hang #ByeAnita Banners Attacking Cook County State's Attorney Alvarez

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 14, 2016 7:11PM

With Illinois’ primary election less than 24 hours away, activists are leaving large reminders all over the city urging Chicagoans to vote Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez out of office on Tuesday.

Led by the group Assata’s Daughters, which has coordinated several actions targeting Alvarez along with Black Lives Matter, activists are hanging banners around the city with various messages on them reminding voters of several of the high-profile police shootings Alvarez has faced criticism over.

“Blood on the ballot,” reads one banner hanging over the Kennedy Expressway at Irving Park. “Justice for Rekia, no votes for Anita, reads another hung over the Nicholas Bridge of the Art Institute of Chicago. “#AdiosAnita 16 shots and a cover up,” reads another on Western Avenue near 18th Street. Alvarez has faced a tough reelection campaign, and has been specifically targeted by demonstrators on numerous occasions due to her involvement in the Laquan McDonald case, as well as her failure to secure a conviction for Dante Servin, the Chicago Police officer who shot and killed Rekia Boyd. In total, the group said it will hang 16 banners, one for each shot officer Jason Van Dyke fired at Laquan McDonald, killing him.

Alvarez’s office has come under increased scrutiny since police shot and killed Laquan McDonald. A Daily Beast review of records shows that her office declined to prosecute police officers for killing civilians 68 times in the last seven years, with no documentation to support why. Additionally, Alvarez declined to charge a Chicago Police officer who falsely arrested more than 130 people in seven years, despite 40 witnesses accusing the officer of falsifying charges and video evidence showing him lying.

The group also says it plans to fly a plane carrying a banner that reads “Chicago stands with Laquan, Hillary stands with Rahm, #ByeAnita #ByeRahm” to link democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with Emanuel and Alvarez. In a press release, Tess Raser, an organizer with the group said:

“To this day, Hillary Clinton has yet to condemn Chicago’s anti-black mayor. Mayor Emmanuel has conspired with State’s Attorney Alvarez during his own re-election campaign to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald —a life that to Emmanuel, Alvarez, and Clinton did not matter. Any politician who supports Emanuel should consider themselves implicated in his misconduct. Anti-black politicians are not welcome in Chicago whether they are running for State’s Attorney or President of The United States.”

On Friday, members of the group along with others blockaded traffic along I-290 outside of the UIC Pavilion where thousands had gathered to protest Donald Trump’s rally, which he cancelled because he was concerned about his safety. Holding a larger banner that read “ByeAnita, Alvarez Must Go,” the group chanted “if you are saying dump Trump, then say bye Anita too.”

Assata’s Daughters said there was a link between Alvarez’s “record of anti-blackness as top prosecutor” and Trump, whose rallies and campaign rhetoric have become increasingly violent. “We see a direct link between Trump’s overtly racist white nationalist campaign and Anita Alvarez’s record of filling jails and prisons with black bodies using dogwhistle tough-on-crime rhetoric,” the group said in a statement. “We do not want a future where Anita Alvarez or Donald Trump hold decision-making power over our lives.”