No More Police!

9/21/16 — This afternoon, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson announced the planned hiring of 970 more cops over the next two years. Johnson stated that this was in response to an increase in shootings and gang violence and that this was reflective of a new initiative to “execute a crime strategy and protect the people of Chicago.” This announcement comes after two days of video release footage showing the executions of unarmed Black men in Oklahoma and North Carolina by police. The most recent being the murder of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina who was reportedly a disabled gentleman, waiting in his car with a book, to pick up his son from school.In righteous anger, the people of Charlotte protested his murder by taking to the streets overnight.

Eddie Johnson’s announcement occurred after Mayor Rahm Emanuel publically stated his intention to increase policing in the 2017 City budget, which already allots the largest portion of funding to policing at 40% (or $4 million a day). Emmanuel stated, “My №1 priority–and I told this to my whole staff. In this budget, we’re gonna increase our investments with more police officers. Every other decision will be made around that priority.”

Five days following this statement to the City Council, Alderman Roderick Sawyer demanded an increase of at least 500 more police officers be hired and said that he would support property taxes to pay for this increase. Essentially demanding that the citizens of Cook County fund the militarization of their own communities.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Police Department and City Council are incapable of solving the conditions that produce street crime in Chicago.Neither Emanuel, Johnson nor Sawyer offer solutions that will benefit the people of Chicago, nor address the conditions that cause the City’s rampant intracommunal violence. Instead they propose tax payers money go for even more policing, in a City which already has the most police per 100,000 people in the country. Chicago has spent over $100 million in police “misconduct” (ie. abuse/murder/rape) settlements in the last 2 years, and this will undoubtedly continue as police have not stopped killing people. This year alone, police killed 16 year old Pierre Loury, whose family still has not received the police report and most recently, 18 year old student, Paul O’Neal, both of whom were shot while running away from police.

The causes of crime and intra-communal violence exist because of the conditions of poverty that Rahm Emanuel has exacerbated for Chicago. More policing will not “fix” these conditions. What more policing will accomplish is more violence, more lock ups and more trauma for our already suffering communities.

Rahm Emanuel conducted the largest mass school closing in US history. These schools were predominantly located in poor Black communities. Rahm Emanuel closed HALF of the City’s mental healthcare centers. Both of these policy decisions produced consequences that have further taxed already struggling parents, struggling mothers and fathers, and struggling communities. Both of these policy decisions disenfranchise working people, and poor people.

Prior to Emanuel coming to office, violence was on a downturn in the City. After he took office, murder rates increased from a 2010 amount of 432 to 500 in 2012, reversing a 20 year trend. Within the same time frame, police funding increased annually.

The cause of crime is not absence of police. Anyone can look to the well-to-do suburbs to see that Kenilworth is not wealthy due to police officers patrolling every block. Crime occurs because of unemployment, lack of quality education, housing inequalities, and lack of other life sustaining entities like health-care, trauma centers, and clinics. We also know based on numerous scientific studies, that crime soars in areas that have a huge gap between the rich and the poor. As Chicago is now labelled the most segregated City in the country, it should be no shock that violence has increased along with the segregation and isolation of poor communities.

Cabrini Green was torn down and now condominiums occupy the space. Where are the poor people? Where are the former residents of that area? Did they all obtain six figure employment and are now property owners? No. What we do know is that unemployment for young Black men is up to 80% in certain neighborhoods with a Citywide aggregate total that reflects that half of young Black men in Chicago are out of work, and out of school. In these conditions, turning to street economies is literally a matter of survival.

This mayoral administration and his lapdog council members offer nothing but continued impoverishment and continued tax breaks to the wealthy in the City of Chicago. Their focus is on how to best protect and build the wealth of the already rich at the expense of the poor and at the expense of the the everyday Chicagoan who lives paycheck to paycheck. Their budget will produce more deaths, more violence and families who will have to suffer the loss of their loved ones to police violence.

The hiring of more police means the mayor and his administration have no plans to address the conditions of poverty, lack of affordable housing, food insecurity, underfunded schools, lack of access to healthcare and unemployment. This is a recipe for disaster and will result in more killings by police, more police torture and violence, more people entered into the prison system, and more intracommunal violence further distressing the people of Chicago.

To address the rising rates of intracommunal violence, we demand an end to policies that create the conditions which produce poverty. We demand jobs, fully funded schools, affordable housing food security, and access to healthcare.

We oppose the addition of 970 more police and demand an immediate reduction of all policing funds in Chicago. The money saved should be used to provide services for the people.