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BIG Protest Against Police Brutality & Racism June 2nd, 2001

Almost 40 Chicago area anti-police brutality and anti-death penalty organizations are pooling their resources to build a big city-wide march June 2nd focusing particularly on the failure of Cook County States Attorney Dick Devine to deliver justice. The march will assemble in Touhy Park, Chicago (Clark Street, ½ block south of Jarvis) at 12 noon, Saturday, June 2nd and will be held in solidarity with a march in Cincinnati on the same day.

Anti-police brutality activists are angry at Devine for his failure to prosecute crooked cops and sheriff’s deputies in several high-profile cases, such as the gay-bashing of Terry Phalen, the police killing of LaTanya Haggerty, and the racist beating of Jeremiah Mearday. In each of these cases, internal investigations by the Sheriff’s Department or the city’s Office of Professional Standards have found law enforcement officers guilty of serious brutality, yet Devine has refused to criminally prosecute these officers. In fact, Devine contemptuously dismissed Mearday’s appeal for help as a “soap opera” claim for justice (3/25/98 Chicago Defender).

Latino activists point in anger at cases like that of Miguel Castillo, who was imprisoned for 12 years before recently being released. It turns out Miguel already was being held at Cook County Jail at the same time as the crime he was convicted of was taking place. Det. Ronald Paulnitzky along with the prosecution concealed evidence which would placed the two incidents at the same time, and thus would have exonerated him. Dick Devine still has not filed charges against Paulnitzky and the others responsible for this obstruction of justice.

Anti-death penalty activists are upset at Devine for his refusal to allow new trials for death row inmates who likely were found guilty of crimes through the use of police torture-induced confessions, according to investigations by Amnesty International and others. They point out that Devine was the #2 man to then-States Attorney Richard M. Daley during the early 1980s, part of the time when the State’s Attorney’s office used these “confessions” to send ten Black men to death row, and dozens more to prison for long terms.

In response to community protest, the City finally fired the lead torturer, Commander Jon Burge, for “physical abuse” in February 1993, yet Devine and his predecessors never criminally prosecuted Burge nor his several known accomplices. Devine personally defended Burge in a civil rights suit brought by one of Burge’s victims and his law firm received over $800,000 in city money to defend Burge. With Devine hopelessly compromised, activists are demanding a special prosecutor to investigate these torture cases.

Saturday’s protest has brought together a who’s who of Chicago-area anti-police brutality and death penalty organizations, including:

· The Illinois Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the Campaign Against the Death Penalty, the two leading anti-death penalty organizations in the Chicago area, along with both the Chicago Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and the African-American Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and Aaron Patterson

· The Christian Council on Urban Affairs, the foremost anti-police brutality organization in the city, led by Rev. Paul Jakes

· The Comité Exigimos Justicia, the most prominent Latino anti-police misconduct organization in the city

· The Chicago Anti-Bashing Network, Sangat and Queer to the Left, three of the most active Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered organizations in the city

· The Rogers Park Community Action Network, the most prominent activist organization in the far north side of the city, and the United Church of Rogers Park, the area’s most active progressive church

· The Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago, a collective voice of over 80 civic, religious, educational, business and community organizations working to reform the criminal justice system.

Other endorsers of the march include: A-Zone, American Civil Liberties Union-Northwestern University chapter, Anti-Racist Action-Chicago, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Chicago Day Labor Organizing Committee, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Chicago Direct Action Network, The Chicago Student Labor Action Project, Chicagoland Greens, Chitown Lowdown, Community of Uptown Residents for Affordability and Justice (COURAJ), Edgewater-Uptown Greens, 8th Day Center for Justice, First Defense Legal Aid, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Industrial Workers of the World, International Socialist Organization, Latino Union of Chicago, Left Turn, The Magnus Hirschfeld Centre for Human Rights, News & Letters, October 22nd Coalition, Pathfinders Prevention & Education Fund, Prison Action Committee, Refuse & Resist, and University of Chicago Students Together Opposing Prisons (STOP).

For more information contact Comité Exigimos Justicia (773.480.4459), the Campaign to End the Death Penalty (773.955.4841), or the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (888.471.0874; e-mail: CABNstopthehate@aol.com).


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