The cop academy proposed by mayor Rahm Emanuel is getting some contention from community organizers and local politicians. Local alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa announced May 23 that he wants to see the vote for the academy funding redirected to support working families and social justice initiatives and not more money for the Chicago Police Department. Alderman David Moore of the 17th Ward and Roberto Maldonado (whose ward covers parts of Logan Square) also want to postpone the funding.
“I took action to postpone a vote on funding a new $95 million cop academy because Chicago’s working-class families deserve real neighborhood investment, democratic debate on the expenditure of our public funds, and meaningful measures to end racist policing and stop police violence,” Ramirez-Rosa said in the statement from theBudget Committee hearing May 23.
“Our poor and working-class neighborhoods have suffered as a result of Mayor Emanuel closing six mental health clinics, and 50 public schools,” he continued. “At the same time, police violence has cost Chicagoans $662 million in settlements since 2004, and CPD is funded to a tune of $4 million per day, $1.5 billion per year. Our nation has witnessed the magnitude of police crimes in the City of Chicago with the murders of Rekia Boyd and Laquan McDonald.The Chicago Police Department is not lacking in resources, it is lacking in accountability and oversight. The $95 million that the City is projected to spend on this new cop academy should be invested in jobs, education, youth programs, and mental health services, not a new shooting range and swimming pool for police.”
The alderman said black youth were not allowed to testify to oppose their view of the cop academy at the hearing, but he hopes that his deferment vote will give youth impacted by police violence and school closures the opportunity to be heard by those supporting the academy. The campaign effort #NoCopAcademy have been rallying against the academy and have been vocal on social media, at rallies and at meetings. Many residents and organizers have expressed opposition to the project, despite its earlier passing council alderman vote 41-1 of the West Side’s land purchase for the academy. Chance the Rapper even spoke about the detrimental effects last year of the cop academy before the vote passed, as reported by the Chicago Tribune Nov. 8, 2017. When that vote passed, Emanuel said West Side communities see this academy will benefit them.
“All the aldermen on the West Side voted for this, because they understand—they have felt forgotten from the type of public investments that can spur economic growth,” Emanuel said. “It will have its own value of safety for the entire city. It will have its own value of safety … to the West Side. And it will be an investment in the kind of economic activity we want to see,” he said in the Tribune piece.
Yesterday’s meeting got heated when Ramirez-Rosa and Moore argued against the mayor and city council members in favor of getting more funding for the academy. The Tribune reported that Emanuel ordered a rare new council meeting for Friday afternoon and declared Wednesday’s meeting adjourned early. Emanuel thinks the vote will be clear tomorrow and hinted that the conclusion is already set based on the strong council support. #NoCopAcademy organizers are filing a lawsuit against the mayor tomorrow morning to stop the council from voting in the afternoon, saying the Budget Committee went against the state’s open meetings law.
:: BREAKING #NoCopAcademy UPDATE:: Our attorneys at @ShillerPreyar have filed for a temporary restraining order to stop tomorrow’s cop academy vote from happening due to violations of the Open Meetings Act on Tuesday & Wednesday at City Hall. (1/3)
— NoCopAcademy (@NoCopAcademy) May 24, 2018