NWS Coalition Address to Police Board – May 2020

Hello I come to you today as a representative of a group called the Northwest Side Coalition Against Racism & Hate. In the few years we’ve been active we’ve encountered issues with The Chicago Police Department that we would like to address at this time. I’ll try to make this brief.

Number 1: We have attended several Community Policing Strategic Plan meetings hosted by the local 16th District police department. Unfortunately every time the end result was the same. Community feedback was ignored or influenced and the idea of the consent decree was dismissed. We hope that this attitude isn’t indicative of CPD at large and that the consent decree is treated as a genuine effort of reform.

Number 2: We ask that CPD officially acknowledge Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Last year, the 16th District, along with several local aldermen, sponsored a “Support Your Local Police Rally” on Juneteenth. Even after being politely asked to move their event to any other day to respectfully commemorate Juneteenth – they refused.

Juneteenth is an official State of Illinois holiday and hopefully will soon be officially recognized by the City of Chicago. Now is the time for CPD to treat this day with the honor and sensitivity it deserves.

Number 3 is COVID-19 related. The use of police to encourage compliance to the Governor’s “stay at home” order is a poor public health approach. This is particularly true given the disparate policing of communities according to racial makeup.

Recently officers from the 16th District, and across the city were involved in so-called “surge missions” to disproportionately police black communities while ignoring the exact same behaviors in white communities. This form of racial terrorisim cannot be tolerated or justified for the pandemic crisis that we are currently in the grips of.

We appreciate your attention to these matters and hope to work together in the future to correct systemic issues and establish broad police reforms mandated by the consent decree. Please stay safe. Thank you.

*see Chicago.gov -> Public Meetings of the Police Board