Facts about #NoCopAcademy

 

The week of May 21, 2018, the City of Chicago attempted (and failed) to silence young black people's voices.

Here are the facts:

On Monday, May 21, community organizations shared results from a community survey that said 95% of West Garfield Park residents recommended that the City of Chicago invest in something else beyond CPD.

Young black leaders let us know that the Budget Committee would vote on selling a building to the cop academy on Tuesday morning at 10:00am at City Hall. Community members uplifted their words and let folks know to call Alderman Carrie Austin, chair of the budget committee, to tell her to not vote on this. As leaders tried to canvass on trains to share information, CPD threatened to arrest them. Twitter users pointed out that CPD was suppressing free speech.

On Tuesday, May 22, despite hundreds of calls from Chicagoans, Alderman Carrie Austin called the funds for the cop academy right off the bat, even though it was agenda item 2. There was no public comment and no discussion among the aldermen. Kelly Hayes pointed out that the city attempted to silence black youth two days in a row, first on the train and then at City Council public comment. Alderman David Moore of the 17th Ward expressed concern that it moved too quickly and that he didn't get to ask his questions. (Spoiler alert: the next day he speaks up about this at City Council.) Community members knew right away that this violated the Open Meetings Act (OMA).

Page May of Assata's Daughters described May 22 in this 2 minute video. In this 5 minute video, #NoCopAcademy leadership summarized what happened on Tuesday, May 22, and let folks know next steps.

On Wednesday, May 23, police were at City Hall to protest accountability and were let into the chambers instead of the dozens of community members who had been waiting since 7:30am. We knew the police would be there that day because of a memo they put out. We intentionally left our homes before 7:00am to arrive long before the 9:30am City Council meeting to wait in line. There were a lot of uniformed and plain clothes officers at City Hall on Wednesday, May 23. Folks questioned if that was the best use of tax dollars and pointed out that they are essentially paid protesters.

Remember the spoiler alert? Alderman David Moore joined Alderman Carlos Daniel Rosa in calling for a defer and publish to delay the vote on the academy. The meeting was adjourned and scheduled to reconvene on Friday, May, 25 at 2:15pm.

Attorneys at Shiller*Preyar Law Offices filed a suit to ensure City Council complies with the Open Meetings Act. The judge was scheduled to hear the motion at 11:30am on Friday, May 25 at the Daley Center, right across the street from where the City Council will reconvene the same day at 2:15pm. The judge said this wasn't an emergency and that she wouldn't stop the City Council meeting from happening although the attorneys were trying to save the city money. The judge said there will be rulings later about alleged OMA violations, which, if holds up, will nullify that vote that happened that day at City Council and necessitate another meeting and a new vote. 

#NoCopAcademy organizers and Alderman Rosa held a press conference at 1:00pm at City Hall. Part of the public was let into the chambers for the council meeting. Maria Hernandez of Black Lives Matter Chicago chapter reminded folks in her public comment that FOIA'd e-mails show that the mayor of Chicago was planning for the cop academy before the DOJ released their report, although he claims he is doing this in response to the report. There is video of Rahm not paying attention to public speakers and even leaving the room at one point. Black Lives Matter tried to livestream but the signals were blocked. A Twitter user pointed out that it was reminiscent of Ferguson. Alderpeople, namely Alderman Burnett, directly said they don't care what their constituents want. There are over a dozen open seats in the chamber and a line of community members waiting to get in, but nobody is brought in to fill empty seats.

The vote passed 39-2. Alderman Roberto Maldonado joined Alderman Rosa in voting no.

Twitter user @piao_mina asks how we have tens of millions of dollars for a police academy yet Rahm said he needed to shut down mental health clinics to save $2-3 million.

The Chicago Police Department spends $4 million every single day, not counting the hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements. CPD's budget makes up 40% of Chicago's budget.

Follow #NoCopAcademy on Twitter & Facebook for more to come.

 
Jes Scheinpflug