by N. Zahra
Basics Issue#10 (Aug/Sep 2008)
Between June 11-July 5, 2008, Chicago cops shot 12 people, murdering 6 of them. All of them were either black or latino and most of them were unarmed and/or shot in the back. Amongst those dead were Shapell Terrell, a 39 year old sanitation worker supporting 7 children, Robin Johnson, a mother with a history of mental illness, and 17 year old Jonathan Pinkerton who had just graduated from highschool the night he was murdered.
According to Fred Hampton Jr., chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC), this is business as usual for Chicago cops who routinely get away with harassing, brutalizing and murdering racialized youth in Chicago. However, this time the people came together to show that they would not accept such abuse.
On July 25th, 2008 people rallied in Englewood (a Chicago neighbourhood) to protest the brutal behaviour of the cops. At a nearby basketball court, more people had gathered for a repast for another slain youth. Out of nowhere, the cops drove up and started tearing up pictures of Bennie and calling the youth ‘nigger bitches.’ The protest against police brutality spontaneously spread to the courts. At the end of the evening an estimated 10 people had been arrested and brutalized, amongst them Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.. In an interview with Basics, the Chairman described the rage of the youth who chanted, ‘Let them go!’ not allowing the cops to drive off with their captives.
Despite brutal repercussions, the people of Chicago continue to organize and resist police terror, naming the cops for what they really are, the biggest gang of them all.