JOHN CATANZARA: TONE-DEAF TO THE CRIES OF PROTEST

John Catanzara, the new president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police criticized officers who kneel.

He said now is not the time or place to be kneeling with protestors, and said officers would be risking being brought up on charges and thrown out of the lodge.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called his comments really unfortunate.

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DEFUND COOK COUNTY JAIL

Each year, Cook County spends more than $600 million each year supporting a racist system of policing and incarceration through the Cook County Sheriff’s budget, which includes sheriff’s police, the Cook County Jail, and more.

Through the Coalition to End Money Bond, we’ve reduced the jail population by more than 50% since 2013.

But in that time, the budget for the jail has actually increased by 26%. If the jail budget had gone down proportionally to the number of people locked up, we would have $117 million more for other public services in our County.

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DEFUND, DECARCERATE, DISMANTLE MASS INCARCERATION

Gray wisps of smoke emanating from dark concrete. That’s what I remember from the sliver of video of the police killing of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald.

I couldn’t watch the actual shooting—my familiarity with Black death wouldn’t allow it. But I opened my eyes just as those thin wisps began to dissipate in the cool of the night air;  wisps from gunshots—16 of them—emptied into the body of a youth failed by almost all of our societal systems.

He lost his life at the hands of a state-sanctioned actor who couldn’t care less.

Defund The Police.

I get why the phrase elicits such visceral reactions and pearl-clutching in certain corners. “What do you mean, defund?” some people say. “Isn’t reform a better way of phrasing it?” Reform is a perfectly warm, comforting blanket. It is comfortable and sedating.

But it also smothers.

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POLICE BATONS, RUBBER BULLETS, TEAR GAS & NOW THE FINAL INSULT…MICROWAVE POPCORN!

As many as 13 Chicago police officers broke into Rep. Bobby Rush’s Chicago campaign offices to lounge on chairs, drink coffee and make popcorn while looters vandalized nearby businesses in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Rush and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Thursday.

The two Illinois Democrats stood together at a news conference to call out the actions, which took place at the end of May. While they spoke, images of officers “in repose,” as Rush said, were flashed on a screen.

“Looting was going on, buildings were being burned, officers were on the front lines truly taking a beating with bottles and pipes, and these guys were lounging — in a congressman’s office,” Lightfoot said. “The utter contempt and disrespect is hard to imagine.”

The mayor added that “it’s almost inconceivable with what was going on … where looting continued into Monday morning, having started Saturday night.”

“Look at this guy, sleeping on a congressman’s couch,” Lightfoot said, pointing to an image of an officer.

Rush added: “They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves and to pop popcorn — my popcorn — in my microwave while looters were tearing apart businesses within their sight and within their reach.”

“When you swear an oath to serve and protect, you are a Chicago police officer — not a police officer only for certain neighborhoods and only for certain times,” said the mayor, whose voice shook with emotion and who at one point wiped away tears.

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IMAGINE CPD COMMITTED TO EQUAL JUSTICE

Defund The Police is a new catchphrase that has gained steam across the country. But what exactly does that mean?

For State Rep. LaShawn Ford, it means rebuilding the Chicago Police Department from the top down. “The system is broken, we’ve got to tear it down and replace it because taxpayer dollars are being wasted,” he said.

Police department budgets have ballooned across the nation in recent years. Out of a city total budget of $11.65 billion, CPD’s budget is $1.78 billion. Alderman Ray Lopez, who represents the 15th Ward, said it’s time for the City Council to review that budget.

“If we just pass things as is and never take a deep dive, we will never address the issues that have brought us to this point today, and that would be a shame,” he said.

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UNION PARK PROTEST SPILLS INTO THE STREETS OF CHICAGO

Hundreds of people marched through the streets of the Near West Side and West Town Friday, demanding the city defund the Chicago Police Department.

The protest, which began with a rally in Union Park, calls for the city to redirect funds from the Chicago Police Department and into the city’s schools and social services.

Looking across Union Park you could see it had been a year of a week.

“I know you are all exhausted,” one speaker said to the crowd. “Black people, I know you are all hurting.”

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CHICAGO MAYOR OVERSTEPS

Mayor Lori Lightfoot imposed a 9 p.m. curfew on the city Saturday night amid protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Lightfoot set the curfew during a Saturday press conference just about a half hour before it was set to go into effect. She said the curfew would run 9 p.m.-6 a.m. “until further notice,” though essential workers are exempt.

An emergency alert about the curfew was sent to people’s cellphones throughout the city.

The curfew is meant to help police, who are facing large protests, particularly in the Downtown area. Lightfoot said they’d be able to use the curfew to “clean out and clear out” Downtown.

“We want to give people ample opportunity to clear the streets. We’re talking about 35 minutes. I think we’re giving them ample notice,” Lightfoot said. “My expectation is most people who have been peaceful today are going to go home. But if they don’t, we give the Police Department another tool to use to enforce the curfew.”

Some said they weren’t given enough notice of the curfew.

Police will warn people to disperse but will arrest those who don’t comply, Lightfoot said.

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