Chicago Indymedia :
Chicago Indymedia

LOCAL News :: Crime & Police

Chairman Fred Hampton Leads Protest At Chicago Police Headquarters With Family Of Aaron Harrison

On Thursday, August 16, 2007, a group of nearly 100 people shut down the Police Board meeting at the Chicago police headquarters at 35th and Michigan.
Click on image for a larger version

Click on image for a larger version

Click on image for a larger version

On Thursday, August 16, 2007, a group of nearly 100 people shut down the Police Board meeting at the Chicago police headquarters at 35th and Michigan. The rally was led by Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr., son of the slain Black Panther leader. The event was supported by several grassroots organizations including Hampton’s Prisoners of Conscience Committee, Takes A Village, Chicago Copwatch, the local chapter of the IWW, and the Chicago Independent Media Center. Family members of Aaron Harrison, an 18 year-old black youth shot in the back by Chicago police, were also there to demand justice.

Friends of Aaron Harrison said he was just a hip hop kid. Harrison and his friends were standing outside of a convenience store on the West Side the evening of August 6 around 8 p.m. when police pulled up, got out, and walked toward them. The youth took off running. Police chased Harrison down an alley way in their squad car. Police say he pulled a gun, pointed at police, and they shot him in the chest. Yet the medical examiner concluded that Harrison was shot in the back of his left shoulder. Police say that they found a 9 mm gun, but witnesses say police planted the gun on Harrison.

James D. Montgomery Jr., an attorney with the Cochran law firm, has filed a civil suit in the Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of Harrison’s mother.

A riot nearly erupted the night after Harrison was killed. Hundreds of outraged residents clashed with police, threw rocks and bottles, and broke squad car windows. Police responded by attacking the crowd with dogs dogs, arresting five people, and destroying the camera of a Chicago Tribune photographer.

Most agree that Chicago is near a boiling point after repeated police scandals. Earlier this year, off-duty officer Anthony Abbate was caught on videotape beating a female bartender. After a second off-duty officer was involved in another bar brawl, Superintendent Phil Cline announced his early retirement. Additionally, Sgt. Burge, who tortured over 100 black men on the South Side, still remains free.

Aaron Harrison’s death was the second in the first week of August. Another man, 42 year-old Geffrey Johnson, was killed after police shot him with a Taser. Johnson’s mother told the newspapers, “Chicago Police executed my son in cold blood.”

A rally was held the following Saturday after Harrison was killed, with Reverend Al Sharpton present, along with members of Harrison’s family. Nearly 400 people attended the event. There are photos on the web page of the Chicago Independent Media Center.

A funeral for Harrison was held Monday, August 13, and was heavily attended.

The protest at the Chicago police headquarters was held the following Thursday night. Below are some of the statements made by the Harrison family and by organizers of the event. Outside the board meeting, Chairman Fred Hampton held a press conference with several victims of police brutality. One was Kenneth Shannon, the uncle of Aaron Harrison. [See the photo of Aaron Harrison’s uncle on the left and Chairman Fred on the right.]

Kenneth Shannon, Aaron Harrison’s Uncle:

"First of all I would like to thank the whole city, the residents, the community, the grassroots organizations, Brother Chairman [Fred Hampton, Jr.], for coming out and supporting our family in this tough time.

"Our community has been under siege. Today we’re making a statement. We’re not leaving until we get justice. Justice is what we want. We want our community to be policed the way it was before, with African American officers that know our community, that come in our community, that know who the people are, know who to talk to, and can police a community the right way. We know we have good officers. We know we have bad officers. Its time for the bad ones to beat it.

"Mayor Daley said he was going to step up, its on his watch, and he’s accountable for everything. We’re asking Mayor Daley to get up off his behind and come down to these streets and see what’s going on with his people. He’s been lying to the people. He’s pushing propaganda. The media, you all are covering stories that are just not true. Come to the community. Talk to the residents. Come to these grassroots organizations.

"A father just spoke whose son was just drug down the street. And we have it on tape. We have it on tape with [one man] being slugged out. We were recording that night. Chicago Tribune reported that his camera was destroyed and he was whipped, he was maced and beat up because they thought he was just another guy out there, just another brother with a camera.

"This problem is a city problem, it’s a national problem. The African American community throughout the United States is under siege. So we as a people now have to gather, we have to mobilize, we have to get together. My nephew’s life will not go in vain. My nephew’s life will not go in vain.

"We have many friends, we have many resources. I was on the radio. 75 year-old, 80 year-old people from the city of Chicago called in and said, “Son, no matter what you do, keep fighting.” And I’m going to keep fighting for the people."

Chairman Fred took the mic and delivered these words:

"Mayor Daley has responded to these acts of police terrorism. The Chicago police are now out of control. I rarely agree with Mayor Daley, but in this case I do agree with him. But the fact is he’s [following] the practices of his father, Gangster Daley, Sr., when he put out a order of shoot to kill in our community. Police are going by the orders of the fifth floor of city hall from this Gangster Daley."

Police Board Meeting

Activists went inside the police headquarters to make their voice heard at the Police Board meeting. Witnesses say that a gun was planted on Aaron Harrison, in order for the police to justify their shooting him in the back. One speaker, Queen Sister, addressed the board and then activists took over the meeting.

Queen Sister:

"My name is Queen Sister, I represent the Takes A Village organization and my purpose for being here is to address the S.O.S. – those that are allowed to “shoot on sight.” We’re here to address the issue of crime by design. As we continue to bury these victims of the system.

"Chicago just had a gun turn-in, the largest in the city, and accumulated over 6,000 weapons. You had to turn in the guns with no questions asked. You put them in the hands of these officers to put on these victims to shoot them down – with no questions asked.

"We as a village, and the village is saying, is that we have a right to know. We want the database on the weapons that were acquired. We sent you a Freedom of Information request, certified mail, that for 23 locations, we want the number of weapons obtained from those location, the serial number and the category in which they were obtained, of those that were registered, and those that were not registered.

"These families are victims of this crime by design. They got something to say, and you’re going to listen."

The board attempted to call the next speaker on the list, but activists would not give up the mic. The board threatened to adjourn the meeting. Audience members began to speak up, commotion ensued, and the board agreed to allow the aunt of Aaron Harrison to speak.

Sabrina Johnson, Aaron Harrison’s Aunt:

"My name is Sabrina Johnson. And I would just like to know the name of the officer who gunned down my nephew, who shot him in the back. Also, I would like to know what happened to the [video] tape, the camera that was on the side of the building. That’s my concern. I want to know where is the camera, and they never stated the name of the officer that gunned him down."

The police commissioner told her the case was “under investigation.”

Chairman Fred Hampton stepped up and interrupted the commissioner, saying repeatedly, “We’re tired of you all murdering us, man.” The crowd clapped in support. “Killer cops must be stopped,” they chanted.

Police came out from every direction and surrounded the protesters. One photographer was asked for his press badge and got into an argument with police. The police commission was escorted out of the room and the meeting was temporarily shut down. Activists were ordered to exit the room and they re-convened outside.




Account Login

Media Centers


This site made manifest by dadaIMC software