AC­TIVISTS WANT CHARGES DROPPED VS. MAN SHOT BY CHICAGO PO­LICE

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MANNY RAMOS, STAFF RE­PORTER mramos@suntimes.com | @_ManuelRamo­s_ Manny Ramos is a corps mem­ber in Re­port for Amer­ica, a not-for-profit jour­nal­ism pro­gram that aims to bol­ster Sun-Times cov­er­age of is­sues af­fect­ing Chicago’s South and West sides.

Sev­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions that sup­port de­fund­ing the Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment gath­ered in front of the Univer­sity of Chicago Med­i­cal Cen­ter Fri­day to de­mand charges be dropped against a man shot by po­lice in En­gle­wood last Sun­day.

“Here we are again de­mand­ing jus­tice. We know that this ain’t right,” said Jada Vance, mem­ber of the Chicago Al­liance Against Racist and Po­lit­i­cal Re­pres­sion. “The po­lice can­not find a way, they can­not fig­ure out how to stop shoot­ing Black peo­ple, and that ain’t right!”

Hun­dreds of peo­ple filled the in­ter­sec­tion of Cot­tage Grove Av­enue and 57th Street, where ac­tivists cre­ated a “peace cir­cle.” Some in the group cir­cled their bi­cy­cles to cre­ate a perime­ter and keep po­lice out as oth­ers spoke through a mega­phone. They de­manded, among other things, that the Chicago Po­lice Depart­ment bud­get — now about $1.78 bil­lion — be slashed by 75%, with that money re­al­lo­cated for com­mu­nity ben­e­fits.

“We need com­mu­nity con­trol of the po­lice — not yes­ter­day, not five months from now. Right now, be­cause we know how to keep us safe,” Vance said.

Po­lice of­fi­cers tried to dis­perse the group which led to a tense stand­off for a brief mo­ment be­fore of­fi­cers re­treated from the cir­cle.

The rally was in re­sponse to 20-yearold La­trell Allen be­ing shot by po­lice of­fi­cers last Sun­day — he is re­cov­er­ing from his wounds at the hos­pi­tal. Allen has been charged with at­tempted mur­der; po­lice say he shot at of­fi­cers dur­ing a foot chase and was wounded when po­lice fired back.

Ac­tivists and oth­ers have ques­tioned the of­fi­cial ver­sion of the in­ci­dent; the of­fi­cers in­volved were not wear­ing body cam­eras. Skep­tics in­clude Allen’s brother, Earl Allen, who has dis­puted the po­lice nar­ra­tive, say­ing po­lice lack ev­i­dence and eye­wit­nesses.

On Mon­day, CPD Supt. David Brown blamed er­ro­neous ru­mors about the shoot­ing (for in­stance, that the per­son shot was an un­armed 15-year-old) for fu­el­ing wide­spread loot­ing down­town hours later.

Da­mayanti Wal­lace, an or­ga­nizer with Good Kids Mad City, de­cried the at­ten­tion paid to Mon­day’s loot­ing, say­ing that should not be the fo­cus when a young man is shot by po­lice.

The gov­ern­ment also has been loot­ing for years, Wal­lace said — they just do it legally, and that de­serves to be talked about more.

“We need those TIF funds that the city is loot­ing from us on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, we need those put back into our com­mu­ni­ties,” Wal­lace said, re­fer­ring to tax in­cre­ment fi­nanc­ing, which di­verts prop­erty tax col­lec­tions into ded­i­cated funds.

“They want to talk about loot­ing, they want to talk about steal­ing, but they’re do­ing it to us reg­u­larly,” she added. “They put those funds back into the North Side and down­town of the city in an ef­fort to do trickle-down eco­nom­ics.”

Af­ter block­ing the in­ter­sec­tion for about an hour, or­ga­niz­ers marched north on Cot­tage Grove Av­enue and po­lice dis­persed.

The rally and march was or­ga­nized by Good Kids Mad City, Black Lives Mat­ter Chicago, the Chicago Al­liance Against Racist and Po­lit­i­cal Re­pres­sion, the Let Us Breathe Col­lec­tive, BYP100, Care Not Cops and the Black Abo­li­tion­ist Net­work.

TYLER LARIVIERE/SUN-TIMES

Chicago po­lice look on as pro­test­ers rally Fri­day at the in­ter­sec­tion of 57th Street and Cot­tage Grove Av­enue.

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