Notes on police violence

Latest Chicago police killing shrouded in secrecy

By George Gallanis
11 July 2017

As warm sunlight draped North Leclaire Avenue on Chicago’s northwest side Sunday morning, a hail of police bullets trailed a fleeing man. With at least one bullet eventually striking him, the man would die at a local hospital.

The as yet unidentified man is the eighth person killed by the Chicago police this year, almost one week since the last. He was, according to killedbypolice.net, the 637th person to die by police violence in the United States this year. As of this writing, the total count stands at 641.

Very little information on the incident exists. In fact, as is customary for most police shootings, in an effort to temporarily quell social anger, the current official account of the story will likely change in the coming weeks.

The history of the police in the Democratic Party stronghold that is Chicago is filled with horrific stories of abject brutality and murder followed by massive cover-ups. As it was with the cover-up of the murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police, what has officially been said and what will be said about the latest killing should be treated with contempt.

According to the Chicago police, the incident began when the mother of the unidentified man informed police early Sunday morning that the man was holding his girlfriend and her child against their will in a house on the northwest side of the city.

Police eventually surrounded the home, with highly militarized SWAT units called on site to wait on standby if needed to forcibly enter the home by way of flash bangs and heavy weaponry. However, the man let the woman and child go.

Afterwards, according to the police and major news outlets such as ABC, the man allegedly stepped out of the house, fired upon the police, with one cop firing back, and made his way down the street on foot. Such a story defies common sense. How was he allowed to get away unscathed when an army of police and SWAT members surrounded him?

There are more questions to be asked. Afterwards, according to the official account of the police, the man climbed to the roof of a house, and jumped into a gangway, causing his weapon to discharge. Yet, police say, he then intentionally fired upon the cops, after which he was fatally wounded.

A witness to the incident tells a different story. “They were using some code words for positioning themselves, after that, that’s when one shot came at them and then after that they shot several shots. It was over just like that,” said Gilberto Morales, a local resident. According to Morales, only one shot was fired by the suspect before his death. Was the “one shot” that “came at them” the bullet which was unintentionally fired after the man fell into the gangway?

Quick to justify the killing as act of self-defense, a spokeswoman for Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), Mia Sissac, told the press. “It’s still too early to say anything definitive except that shots were fired at officers, and officers returned fire.”

Sissac’s statement reveals the absolute bankruptcy of IPRA, an oversight and police accountability organization, which will investigate the incident for any wrongdoing by the police. But it will find none. IPRA’s history consists of one coverup after another. It played a leading role, in close collaboration with Chicago’s Democratic mayor, Rahm Emanuel, in the coverup of Laquan McDonald’s murder by Chicago police. IPRA found no wrongdoing then.

Acting on behalf of both the Democrats and Republicans, the two parties of big business, police operate as the most blatant expression of the violence of class rule. Responsibility for the murders of hundreds of people does not stop at the police, but must include above all the political parties which control and rely on them to maintain the status quo and above all to suppress opposition from the working class.

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