NATO arrives everywhere
violently. Chicago was no exception. During summit activities, city
cops are enforcers. They specialize in serving wealth, power, and imperial
Their guerrilla warfare history is notorious. They're reliable state
Their tactics include no-holds barred surveillance, vigilantism, and
brutality. They're infamous for physical confrontation, flagrant abuse,
and criminal assaults.
From 2002 - 2004 alone, over 10,000 complaints were lodged. Many involve
violence, brutality, even torture and murder. Only 18 disciplinary actions
University of Chicago Law Professor Craig Futterman heads its Civil
Rights and Police Accountability Project (PAP). It's one of America's
leading civil rights initiatives.
It focuses on criminal justice issues. Its aim is improving police accountability
and the nation's criminal justice system. It faces long odds as America
grows more repressive. Police behavior during Chicago's NATO summit
is Exhibit A. More on that below.
In 2007, Futterman helped prepare a report titled "The
Chicago Police Department's Broken System." It revealed damning
evidence of systemic brutality, illegal searches, false arrests, racial
targeting, sexual assaults, shoddy investigations, a culture of silence,
and apartheid justice.
Disadvantaged Blacks, Latinos, poor, and street demonstrators are most
It called Chicago police a "regime of not knowing." They even get away
with murder because of "a deep commitment to the machinery of denial."
A culture of silence is encouraged and enforced.
Chicago mayors, City Councilmen and women, along with top police officials
share culpability. Main report findings, included:
compared to other large cities, excessive force complaints are 94% less
likely to be sustained by top Chicago Police Department (CPD) officials;
in over 85% of cases, accused officers aren't even interviewed, except
for a brief form report;
repeat offenders account for most abuses; and
top officials are most responsible for cultivating and supporting a
The Chicago Justice Project (CJP) independently evaluates city criminal
justice agencies. Its purpose is promoting reform and accountability.
In October 2009, it published a 10-year
analysis of Chicago Police Board (CPB) cases and decisions. It examined
charges filed and rulings. It covered the period January 1999 - December
It found a "startling difference in outcomes experienced between civilian
employees and sworn officers." Disciplinary action against police offenders
is lax and undisciplined. Few are punished. Brutality is whitewashed.
Serious flaws remain uncorrected. Justice is denied.
In April 2012, CJP reported a "very sad reality." Most police violence
complaints are denied. Chicagoans "continue to be frustrated with" unaccountable
Systemic issues remain uncorrected. City officials come and go. Abuses
continue. Accountability mechanisms exist but aren't enforced. "The
reality is that (for) most types of misconduct....there is little to
no way to prove definitive guilt" because no one with authority wants
to hear it.
Abusive behavior is incentivized to continue. Justice is systematically
denied. No significant change occurred since the 1960 Chicago Police
Board's creation. Its nine mayoral appointed members oversea CPD practices.
Instead of serving responsibly, it systematically whitewashes abuses.
On May 9, CJP headlined "NATO
& All the Unanswered Questions," saying:
Ahead of NATO's arrival, little attention was paid to likely police
tactics. Local media scoundrels ignored serious unanswered questions.
"It seems like the Chicago press are not really interested unless they
are taking it from a CPD press release."
CJP listed a menu of questions demanding answers. Most important are
ones related to just treatment for nonviolent demonstrators while cops
focus on serving NATO.
The fact that local media fell woefully short "is a scary proposition,
especially when you consider the history of the CPD and at times their
proclivity to misuse weapons" and commit systematic violence against
ordinary Chicagoans with impunity.
Former Chicago alderman Paddy Bauler (1890 - 1977) explained best, saying:
"Chicago ain't ready for reform."
It's still not ready. It proves it daily on city streets. It serves
and protects wealth and power. Ordinary Chicagoans are unprotected and
abused. Police brutality victims know best. Their stories are chilling.
Systematic Police Violence
On May 20, the Chicago
Tribune headlined "Police, protesters clash in Loop," saying:
Saturday, Chicago cops performed as expected. Violence is standard practice.
Beatings and arrests followed "pushing and shoving confrontations."
A police van struck one protester. Someone screamed: "They hit him!
They hit him!" An ambulance took "someone in a wheel chair" to a local
hospital. Friends identified him as New York-based OWS activist Jack
Demonstrators marched and chanted nonviolently. Images showed riot-clad
police swinging batons. Unknown numbers were arrested and detained.
Official reports were deliberately vague.
Hotels domiciling heads of state and their entourages are heavily protected.
Nothing is spared to serve them. "Asked how he was holding up, one protester
(said): 'Exhausted.' "
Earlier Saturday, police and activists clashed downtown "when protesters
tried to push through a line of police on bicycles. An officer went
down." Other riot-clad ones moved in violently. Several arrests followed.
Each time marchers tried veering from where cops directed them, confrontations
occurred. Thousands of police were everywhere downtown. They came riot-clad
in groups, phalanxes, on bikes, horseback, squad cars, and overhead
Asked how far police would let protesters go, Deputy CPD Superintendent
Debra Kirby said "(t)ill they tire out."
In fact, momentum increased. It continued all day through late evening.
Number grew. Sunday may prove most daunting. Large protests and marches
Participants know what's ahead. They're struggling on two fronts - against
NATO and Chicago cops protecting global menace participants. Why else
would they brave notoriously violent police for ending wars and justice.
Media Scoundrel Reports
On May 19, The New
York Times headlined "3 in Chicago Face Charges of Terrorism in
"The People of the State of Illinois v. Brian Church, Jared Chase (and)
Brent Betterly" alleged possession of incendiary devices, material support
for terrorism, and conspiracy to commit it.
Charges are spurious. National Lawyers Guild (NLG) attorneys denounced
them. Sarah Gelsomino "delore(d them) in the strongest degree." No evidence
whatever proves them.
NLG's Michael Deutsch called them "propaganda to create a climate of
fear and to create this public perception that protesters are violent."
The Times said defendants were targeted in early May. They and others
were arrested "when police officers and FBI agents obtained a no-knock
search warrant" to raid a South Side apartment.
NLG lawyers said police "broke down doors with guns drawn and searched
residences without a warrant or consent."
According to The Times:
"The three defendants....assembled four Molotov cocktails from empty
beer bottles, with cut bandannas as fuses."
They "were to be used in attacks against police stations, which would
divert attention from other attacks around the city."
Official police and prosecutor accounts were cited. They're baseless
without credibility. Charges are fabricated with no corroborating evidence.
The pattern repeats constantly. As a result, many hundreds rot unjustly
in America's gulag.
Yet The Times said "defendants also (planned) to buy several assault
rifles and build a pipe bombs at the time of their arrests."
"Throwing stars, swords with brass-knuckle handles, a hunting bow, a
shield with protruding nails, gas masks and a map with details of escape
routes from the city were also said to have been found in the apartment."
Alleged targets were said to be Obama's local headquarters, Mayor Rahm
Emanuel's house, police stations, and downtown financial institutions.
All are well protected, especially leading up to, during, and for days
after National Special Security Events. How three youths planned doing
this wasn't explained. For attacks this elaborate, a battalion or more
would be needed with plenty of backup.
Those charged are nonviolent activists. Bogus accusations called them
"self-identified anarchists." State's attorney Anita Alvarez said:
"The individuals we charged are not peaceful protesters. They are domestic
Another arrested but uncharged activist said:
"They raided my home illegally to intimidate us, and to stop us from
doing the important stuff we were doing."
No one arrested planned terrorism or other violent acts. Nonetheless,
the so-call NATO 3 face a harrowing ordeal ahead. Few charged with these
type offenses end exonerated.
Even if found not guilty, new charges likely follow. When federal, state
and local prosecutors want someone convicted, results usually turn out
that way no matter how long it takes.
Sometimes one or more trials are protracted. Including appeals, resolution
can take years. The cost burden is enormous. Proving innocence is daunting
when government determines to convict.
A deplorable Chicago
Tribune editorial headlined "The NATO 3," saying:
Police and prosecutors claim "three men who traveled to Chicago" came
to commit "terrorism."
"So we bristled when" NLG attorney Gelsomino "said the arrests were
part of 'an intimidation campaign on activists.' What intimidation campaign?"
Police claimed an "imminent threat." Baseless accusations don't square
with facts. The editorial quoted CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy saying
police "marching orders" were to "protect free speech (and) First Amendment
"Good call," it added in response to nonviolent activists charged with
terrorism. They face long prison terms if convicted.
Federal, state and local authorities deplore free expression, assembly
rights, and other constitutional freedoms. Chicago ones are notorious.
They proved it with warrantless break-ins, bogus charges, false arrests,
baton swinging violence, other aggressive confrontations, and running
down one activist with a van.
Perhaps they're saving their heaviest-handed tactics for Sunday when
large rallies and marches are held. Low intensity conflict may follow
throughout the day and evening.
Participants and downtown residents fear the worst. Our neighborhoods
may become battlegrounds.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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