The Chicago City Council has voted to pass the legislation proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel for a Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). COPA is a fake police accountability bill. It replaces the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), but the only change is the name. IPRA reviewed 400 cases of police shootings of civilians over seven years, and found only one of them to be unjustified. Nothing more needs to be said to prove that it was designed to cover up police crimes.
COPA is the same as IPRA because it leaves the power of appointment of those responsible for holding the police accountable in the hands of the mayor. “Civilian oversight” means that the mayor would appoint civilians who support his program. Emanuel is not a social reformer. He’s an accessory to the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He covered up the video of the racist cop, Jason Van Dyke, in order to get re-elected. He cannot hold the police accountable.
As expected, the mayor’s proposal passed City Council. Chicago politicians think that if they hold out long enough, if they starve us for justice long enough, the community will get weary, and we will accept whatever they offer us. They think we fear that if we don’t accept it, we will get nothing. But they are wrong. This week they’ll pass COPA. Next week the police will murder another Black person, torture another false confession out of some innocent youth. The people know police crimes will continue, business as usual. That’s why this movement will continue to grow, forged from the blood of innocents.
The passage by City Council of a farce such as COPA exposes that the entire city government is complicit in the system that allows the police to commit crimes against Black and Latino people and go unpunished.
The movement for community control of the police, for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), is growing, steadily gaining more support.
Like the civil rights movement, we won’t settle for condescending gestures from political opportunists. The people of Chicago understand that they are part of a MOVEMENT whose time has come.
The passage of COPA will agitate the people to take the struggle to another level.
In November 2015, when the people of Chicago realized what the Emanuel administration had done, they shut down Black Friday on the Magnificent Mile. They cost the wealthy businesses there between 25 and 50% of their sales. The people said “No Business As Usual.”
Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) issued this statement to the press.