When did your organization, Chicago Alliance Against Racism & Political Repression, decide to join the No Cop Academy campaign? Why?
We were approached about being part of the campaign in the beginning (October 2017) and we had no hesitation because we are 100% opposed to a cop academy in Garfield Park. The Chicago Police Department is a militarized force that is terrorizing black and brown communities on the south and west side. The Laquan Mcdonald case is an example of the lengths that the city will go to protect the police by assisting in the coverup of a gruesome murder. Jason Van Dyke didn’t need more training- he had 20 complaints filed against him when he murdered Laquan. He needed to be held accountable for every one of those crimes. Giving even more resources to a system that allows officers to commit crimes with impunity means our communities will suffer more violence. Instead of spending $95 million to train cops on how to inflict harm on black and brown people, folks in Garfield Park are demanding that money be invested in their community. We support that demand.
How has your organization contributed to the campaign?
We’ve hit the streets with the campaign, canvassing the Garfield Park community. We also had some canvassing days at the beginning of the year. We mobilize our folks to actions and demonstrations at City Hall; we had people there during the most recent vote (May 2018). Our Field Organizer, Frank Chapman, has spoken at No Cop Academy press conferences. We’ve also provided support over social media. We recognize that No Cop Academy is one of the most important campaigns in the city and we provide support whenever we can.
What has been your organization’s highlight of the campaign?
The highlight was the action at City Hall in May because it showed the power of the campaign, and how scared this city is of young black people organizing against their oppression. Hearing the “No Cop Academy! 95 mil for community!” chant ring throughout city hall was so powerful.
What strategies/tactics/frameworks does your organization bring to the campaign?
CAARPR is in the struggle for a Civilian Police Accountability Council. I think we offer the framework of community control of the police to the campaign. If we had a CPAC in this city, the cop academy wouldn’t even be a question. It would give folks real power to redefine public safety and determine how their communities are policed and how police funding is spent.