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Chicago Protesters Charge City Police with Systematically Targeting and Killing Black Youth


Rekia Boyd

Rekia Boyd

While Chicago has been portrayed as a city that has been overwhelmed with violence in the Black community, a group of protesters gathered in front of the Chicago police headquarters on Wednesday night to charge that in fact the Chicago police department is systematically targeting African Americans in the city, leaving far too many dead at the hands of Chicago police officers.

A group of noteworthy attendees at the rally was the families of young people killed by the police, who publicly recounted the circumstances of their deaths and described how they have been trying to get answers and justice for their family members.

One of the organizers was Jason Ware, with works with an organization called We Charge Genocide in Chicago. Ware accused the department of systemic racial profiling of black and Hispanic youth. Ware pointed out that much national attention has rightly been directed at Ferguson, Missouri, after the police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, but he said the police in Chicago were also guilty of murdering Black youths.

“The Chicago police department has a disregard for black life and officers have impunity for the crimes they commit against black residents,” he told the Guardian in an email after the rally.

The date chosen for the rally wasn’t random: November 5 was the birthday of Rekia Boyd, who was killed by an off-duty police officer two years ago while she was hanging out with friends at Chicago’s Douglas Park at around 1:00 a.m. on March 21, 2012. Boyd, who would have turned 25 on Wednesday, was an innocent bystander when Detective Dante Servin, responding to a disturbance call, arrived on the scene, though he was off-duty.

Servin exchanged words with Antonio Cross, who was also in the park. After turning away, Servin, who was in his car, claims he saw Cross pull out a gun—but it was actually Cross’s cell phone.

Servin fired five shots “blindly” over his shoulder from his unregistered gun, hitting Cross in his thumb and striking Boyd in the head. She died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital.

“lt’s a sad day when charges are warranted against a police officer, but we feel very strongly that in this particular case Ms. Rekia Boyd lost her life for no reason and that this defendant’s actions were reckless in shooting in that alleyway that was occupied,” the state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez, said of the case.

The city settled a $4.5 million wrongful death lawsuit with Boyd’s family this past March. When Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, it was the first time in more than 15 years a Chicago police officer was criminally charged. But many in the Black community wanted him charged with second-degree murder since he fired into a crowd over his shoulder.

Servin’s trial starts in December and is sure to be a tense and closely watched proceeding.

At Wednesday’s rally, demonstrators led a list of demands in front of local news TV cameras.

Among them was a demand that Cook County state’s attorney Alvarez investigate the department’s “disproportionate use of deadly force” against residents in predominantly black neighborhoods of Chicago.

“We need more transparency from our local police department,” William Calloway, one of the organizers, said, according to The Guardian. “The police department needs to be more accountable to the community.”

Calloway said tensions between the police and Black communities were high across the country, but especially so in Chicago.

“There are certain black neighborhoods in Chicago that are targeted by police,” he said. “And there’s a lot of frustration starting to boil inside of these neighborhoods because we are not receiving justice for the wrongdoings of the police force.”


What people are saying

10 thoughts on “Chicago Protesters Charge City Police with Systematically Targeting and Killing Black Youth

  1. Jay Contreras says:

    OVER HIS SHOULDER? We are being used as target practice. That is all. I will go further & say that I believe that all of these uptick in Chicago are being done by cops posing as regular black people. They did the same thing in LA after the LA rebellion gang truce–engaged in drive bys in known gang members' cars (that they had impounded) so that the gangs would abandon the gang truce & go back to killing each other. Apparently, it worked. But you can view gang members talking about it in the documentary, Bastards of the Party. I believe they are now doing the SAME thing in Chicago.

  2. Nishati Uungu says:

    Typo in the 3rd paragraph's first sentence. "One of the organizers was Jason Ware, with works with an organization called We Charge Genocide in Chicago. "

  3. Shawn Mc says:

    bullshit; i live in chicago and those young boys look like thugs, you can actually drive in the Areas and see the boys in vacant lots and corners.
    they got older black folks and kids scared to leave he house at night.
    keep making excuses.

  4. Shawn Mc says:

    these groups can always get a bunch of people to protest police but scared shitless to confront the thugs who hold the community hostage.

  5. Jay Contreras says:

    Shawn Mc They 'look' like thugs, huh? welp, there ya just totally oblierated any doubt in my

  6. Does the city allow them to have an economic platform or infrastructure to build on? No! No money then there is crime, drugs, etc., but I'll let you tell it.

  7. Jay Contreras says:

    Cecil Max-George I partially agree BUT Black people do not need others permission to start patronizing the black businesses that already exist & pooling resources to start new ones. This is something we cannot put on anybody else at this point. It's been done before so we know the success that could be had. The questions we should be asking: Why aren't we doing it at the levels that every other group is doing it? And what will it take for us to go back to doing it?

  8. Shawn Mc says:

    Cecil Max-George no one is going to just walk up to you and create a economic platform for you, you must either do it yourself or pay for people that have experience creating and attracting industry.
    we need to stop making excuses because for the last 4 decades its been a non stop relying on city or state for money or help

  9. Ralph Evans says:

    The leading cause of death among black males 18-24 is……
    black males 18-2..
    Or would it be racist for you to condemn and work on the biggest problem?

  10. Burke Candy says:

    if black males kill each other you should be glad you and yours whoever you are will get a lot more of the goodies and they will be gone from the planet !!!

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