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Gay Rights Group Demands Action in Police Gay-Bashing Cases

Striking forth with the message that City officials must act on the recommendations of a recent Amnesty International report citing anti-Gay brutality by Chicago police, activists with the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN) will protest along side other community organizations at tonight’s Police Board meeting. The demonstration will begin at 6:45 p.m., Thursday, March 15 in front of the new Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Avenue; activists will go into the Board’s 7:30 p.m. meeting with the intention of speaking out during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“This is the first time any major human rights organization has written a report focussing solely on police violence against Gay people in the United States. Many Lesbian and Gay Chicagoans realize the significance of this report and we will not be patronized by allowing it to be ignored. We demand that the report’s contents be acted on,” said CABN’s Jill Youmans.

The attention of Amnesty International was first drawn to the Lyons and Mason cases, the heart of the AI report, by press accounts of CABN protests read by AI’s London-based United States investigative section. The two groups held a joint news conference last month detailing the two cases:

· Jeffrey Lyons, the son of an officer slain in the line of duty, was attacked by 8-10 off duty officers outside of a West Side “cop bar” November 25, 2000. He suffered a fractured cheekbone, broken nose and neurological damage as one of the cops taunted him, “Get this through your head, you faggots will never win.”

· Frederick Mason, Jr. was attacked July 19, 2000 by an officer who jammed a police billy club up his rectum while he stood handcuffed to the wall of an 11th District interrogation room on a misdemeanor charge. Mason reported that the officer called him a “faggot ass nigger” and “nigger fag” while taking him to the station in a squad car.

“For years City officials from the Mayor on down have brushed off repeated brutality allegations with the wave of a hand, but they’ve seriously miscalculated if they think they can blow off such allegations when they’re supported by Amnesty International, the world’s premier human rights organization,” said CABN’s Andy Thayer. “As the gay rights group most closely associated with pushing from Day 1 the Frederick Mason and Jeffrey Lyons cases which form the heart of this report, we are dedicated to making sure Daley, Devine and Hillard feel the heat of the community until they take genuine, positive action. We will not be satisfied until the responsible officers are fired and criminally prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

Other organizations participating in tonight’s protest include the Comité Exijimos Justicia, Neighbors Against Police Brutality, Church of the Open Door, and the Justice Coalition, an organization of more than 80 constituent groups. For more information contact CABN at 773.878.3697 or 773.209.1187, or CABNstopthehate@aol.com.



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