For Immediate Release: 9/20/17

No Cop Academy

 

PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate Release

No Cop Academy: Community Groups Oppose Construction of $95 Million Police Training Center

Community groups organizing to stop the construction of Rahm Emanuel’s $95 million police academy in Garfield Park to hold press conference outside mayor’s office.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 20th at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Chicago City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, 5th floor

Press contact: Debbie Southorn, People’s Response Team, 971-227-3829, DSouthorn@afsc.org

#NoCopAcademy | nocopacademy.wordpress.com

CHICAGO, September 20, 2017: A diverse coalition of more than 20 community groups are coming together for a press conference outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office announcing a campaign to stop his plan to spend $95 million building a new police and fire training academy in West Garfield Park. Emanuel’s plan to build this facility was discreetly unveiled over July 4th weekend and a subsequent land purchase was quietly authorized last week by the city’s Community Development Commission.

“Every year, the city of Chicago spends $1.5 billion on police–that’s $4 million dollars per day. We need to fund communities, not police. Rahm closed 50 public schools and half of the city’s public mental health clinics because he said the city couldn’t afford them. It’s a slap in the face to our impacted communities to see Rahm turn up another $95 million for the city’s most violent institution,” said Monica Trinidad of People’s Response Team.

Community groups seek to highlight the hypocrisy of the mayor’s pattern of cutting vital public resources in the name of cost savings while simultaneously pouring more resources into the violent Chicago Police. In 2012, Rahm Emanuel targeted Chicago’s most vulnerable residents by closing half the city’s public mental health clinics to save a measly $2.2 million dollars annually. In 2013, Rahm Emanuel undertook the largest school closing in U.S. history, approving the closure of 49 public schools at one time. The city of Chicago currently spends three times as much on policing as it does on the departments of public health, family and support services, transportation, and planning and development (which handles affordable housing) combined.

Last year, the Department of Justice released a report documenting rampant corruption and human rights abuses within the Chicago Police Department. Since then, we have seen more of the same: Chicago Police have killed 14 people so far this year. The continuing lack of any meaningful oversight or reform means this training center will only further cement the policies and practices that put Chicago’s most marginalized communities at risk of police violence.

“Chicago’s communities need resources–not criminalization. We should be defunding and downsizing the Chicago Police Department and investing those funds in providing the vital resources our communities need,” said Page May of Assata’s Daughters.

In addition to today’s press conference, community groups plan to take action throughout the month to highlight why Chicago needs to fund communities instead of police. The coalition has also released a statement on its opposition, which can be viewed here.

“We have 95 reasons why Chicago shouldn’t invest $95 million more into the Chicago Police. Throughout the month, you can expect to see many different community organizations taking a variety of actions to highlight why we are saying “No Cop Academy,”  said Ruby Pinto of For The People Artists Collective.

The coalition opposing the $95 million police and fire academy includes: American Friends Service Committee, Assata’s Daughters, Axis Labs, Black Youth Project 100 – Chicago, BTGNC Collective, Chicago Community Bond Fund, Chicago League of Abolitionist Whites, Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women, Chicago Votes, For The People Artists Collective, Grassroots Collaborative, Jewish Voices For Peace Chicago, Kuumba Lynx, Latino Union, Lifted Voices, Love & Protect, National Lawyers Guild of Chicago, People’s Response Team, Project Fierce, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, Tzedek Chicago, and Workers Center for Racial Justice. For more information and updates on the No Cop Academy campaign, visit https://nocopacademy.wordpress.com/

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