Chicago Police Violence Against Black and Latino Youth Called Out by United Nations Committee Against Torture
After report and testimony from Chicago's We Charge Genocide, UNCAT "particularly concerned" over CPD profiling, harassment and excessive force.
CHICAGO - On Friday, 11/28, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) issued Concluding Observations after holding their 53rd Session in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month, during which the U.S. was under review.
From Nov. 12 to 13, We Charge Genocide (WCG) joined groups and individuals from across the country who traveled to the United Nations to expose torture in the U.S., especially at the hands of the police. The eight young delegates from Chicago submitted a report to UNCAT on police violence against youth of color, testified before the committee, and held a historic protest inside UNCAT chambers during the U.S. response to their charges of genocide.
Because of WCG's report and presentation, UNCAT directly mentions Chicago Police violence against youth of color in their observations:
"The Committee is particularly concerned at the reported current police violence in Chicago, especially against African American and Latino young people who are allegedly being consistently profiled, harassed and subjected to excessive force by Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers. It also expresses its deep concern at the frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals. In this regard, the Committee notes the alleged difficulties to hold police officers and their employers accountable for abuses."
In their observations, UNCAT recommends the the U.S.:
- Ensure that all instances of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers are investigated promptly, effectively and impartially by an independent mechanism with no institutional or hierarchical connection between the investigators and the alleged perpetrators
- Prosecute persons suspected of torture or ill treatment and, if found guilty, ensure that they are punished in accordance with the gravity of their acts.
- Provide effective remedies and rehabilitation to the victims.
- Provide redress for CPD torture survivors by supporting the passage of the Ordinance entitled Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors.
Regarding Taser use by police, UNCAT also expresses concern "about numerous, consistent reports that police have used electrical discharge weapons against unarmed individuals," including "Dominique [Damo] Franklin Jr. in Sauk Village, Illinois." During their protest at the U.N., WCG members held up a poster of Damo, which was shown repeatedly in news reports.
"We went to Geneva as a delegation of We Charge Genocide with the intention of getting Chicago visibly named as a site for systematic, horrific and punitive police violence against Black and Brown youth on a daily basis, and it is safe to say that we achieved our goal. While going to Geneva to present our report on police violence against Black & Brown youth in Chicago was not our end goal as We Charge Genocide, we feel a slight sense of relief in the fact that the violence that Black and Brown youth systematically experience every day in Chicago is now getting the attention, internationally, that it deserves, which will only serve as an uplifting foundation in our continued work in challenging police violence in Chicago."
The report submitted by WCG to UNCAT is titled, We Charge Genocide: Police Violence Against Chicago’s Youth of Color. Key findings include:
- From 2009 to 2013, although Black people comprised only 32.3% of Chicago’s overall population, 75% of police shooting victims were Black. Additionally, in the first six months of 2014, 23 of 27 people shot by the CPD were Black.
- Between 2009 and 2011, 92% of Taser uses involved a Black or Latino target, including 49 youth under the age of 16 (with some as young as 8 years old).
- Black youth accounted for 77% of the arrests of youth in 2011 and 79% in 2012. Latino youth accounted for most of the other arrests, i.e., 18% of these arrests in 2011 and 17% in 2012.
- A brutality complaint is 94% less likely to be sustained in Chicago than in the nation as a whole: Only 0.48% of brutality complaints against the CPD are sustained (as opposed to 8% nationally).
- Between 2002 and 2004, Chicago residents filed 10,149 complaints of excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse, and false arrests against the CPD. Only 124 of these 10,149 complaints were sustained (1.2%), and a mere 19 cases (0.18%) resulted in any meaningful penalty (a suspension of a week or more)
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We Charge Genocide is a grassroots, inter-generational effort to center the voices and experiences of the young people most targeted by police violence in Chicago. The initiative is entirely volunteer-run. We are Chicago residents concerned that the epidemic of police violence continues uninterrupted in our city.