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Nationwide Movement to Stop Police Brutality Gains Strength in Chicago

report on Oct.20th rally
On October 20th, 2000, about 600 people marched through the Loop and rallied at Federal Plaza to show their opposition to the nationwide epidemic of police brutality and murder. This was the main event in a "weekend of resistance and remembrance", part of the fifth annual October 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, which happens in about 80 cities.

Families of people killed by law enforcement and the unjustly incarcerated were the heart of the day's actions. The march stopped at several points to rename streets after people killed by Chicago police: Robert Russ, LaTanya Haggerty, Kevin Morris, Leroy Reed, and others.
The march was lively and spirited, with chants like "2,000 Stolen Lives! We Refuse to Close our Eyes!", "No Justice? No Peace! No Racist Police!", "Killer Cops, You can't hide, We're risin' up nationwide!", and "L.A., Chicago, New York City--Killer Cops Deserve No Pity!" Surprisingly, the police allowed the march to take the streets along the entire route, even up and down State Street, which according to city officials simply isn't done. After the march, the demonstrators returned to Federal Plaza for an intense rally.

Families who have lost loved ones to police bullets and the parents of people framed by corrupt cops told heart-wrenching stories of what happens when those who claim to "serve and protect" brutalize, kill, and/or frame your loved ones for crimes they didn't commit.
Performers entertained the crowd with dance, drumming, and hip-hop between speeches from community activists. Civil rights attorney Standish E. Willis spoke on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Arriba presented the Revolutionary Communist Party's ideas about what it will take to put an end to police brutality for good; Andy Thayer of the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network talked about the brutal rape with a police baton inflicted on Freddie Mason, and how police brutality affects the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community; and a representative of Centro Sin Fronteras spoke about the attacks coming down on immigrants.

While the families of stolen lives were the heart of this demonstration, the youth--the generation which is being criminalized and is the most under the gun of state repression--were the backbone. During their segment of the rally, the October 22nd Youth & Student Network placed all the police in every city under citizen's arrest. They read from a long list of charges including: Impersonating a "peace" officer, Home Invasion, Assault & Battery, Kidnapping, Excessive Force, Torture, Intimidation of Witnesses, Fabrication of Evidence, Perjury, Entrapment, Racial Profiling, Trespassing, Mob Action, First Degree Murder, and Accessory to Murder. For each charge they read, they asked the "jury" of those assembled how they found the accused, to which the crowd of 600 shouted "GUILTY!" on every charge. Sentencing will be announced at the Sunday, October 22nd rally to support the unjustly incarcerated at the Cook County Jail (26th & California, 3pm).

After the official rally ended, some people burned a killer cop in effigy, and then the youth took off for their own march to city hall and elsewhere. Organizers declared the event a great victory for the people.



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