Friday, May 30, 2014

Stopping Police Crimes: A National Epidemic Requires a Coordinated National Effort

by Frank Chapman

National Forum on Police Crimes, International House of the
University of Chicago, May 2014
Thank you to the many people who participated in, and otherwise contributed to, our National Forum on Police Crimes this past weekend of May 16-17, at the International House of the University of Chicago. We are looking forward to this being the harbinger of more forums and united actions against police crimes.

There were several startling outcomes from this effort:

Nationwide Response

When we made the Call, we didn't know if the response would be big. We discovered a big response - nationwide

Two hundred people registered people coming from Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, St. Louis, New York, New Jersey, Texas and of course Chicago.

For example, Nelson Linder, President, NAACP Austin, Texas, expressed the enthusiasm of people nationwide for the Forum: “Too many communities are isolated and ignored, now is the time to empower local communities. The National Forum is a very important beginning to the mobilization of local and nationally scaled initiatives and actions through the sharing of best practices and strategies. Really, now is the time…see you all there in Chicago” (See Police Crimes in the US - A View from Austin, Texas: An Interview with Nelson Linder)

Walking the Talk

When the day for the Forum came, we didn't know if people would actually come all the way to Chicago. People showed up, alright, from around the country -- and they showed a determination to work.

One hundred sixty-six (166) people participated in the Forum.

We had a diverse group of participants, and in addition to our plenary sessions we held seven highly-productive breakout sessions related to the problems of African-American people or other people of color, people who have lived here for a long time or new immigrants, men or women, straight or LGBT, supporters of the labor movement or international solidarity or other peace and justice movements.


When the time came to hear from the Forum participants, through the breakout reports, we didn't know if the makings of a national movement reflecting unity would be apparent. What we discovered was that, across the diversity of topics covered in the breakouts, people perceive a national problem that demands a unified response.

For instance, in the labor breakout, the need was recognized to “rais[e] the bar for social justice through involvement in grass roots organizing and educating the masses on the issue of police crimes.”

The police crimes against women breakout recognized the broad human rights and international dimension of the struggle, “Demand use of human rights mechanisms to address police crimes and use of UN special rapporteurs to report individual cases to appropriate international bodies.”
As to the practical use of national coordination, the prison nation    
breakout articulated the need to “[e]nhance networking and
communications of regional/local best practices for solutions.”

Finally, from the institutionalized racism breakout, we heard, “The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression . . . needs to be revived and re-energized.”

The task ahead

When it came time to end the Forum, we didn't know if there would be commitment to working together on the next steps. But there was strong support for a coordinating committee to organize this effort nationally.

CAARPR made a friendly amendment to the “police crimes in prison nation” report back which stated in effect that this Forum resolve that a national coordinating committee be created for the specific purpose of implementing all the action proposals of all seven working groups.

The leaders of the seven working groups have shared the resolutions developed by their respective groups. They will be communicating with working group participants in the weeks ahead to continue this important work. Click on the links below to learn about the specific work of individual working groups, and to get involved.

Stopping police crimes against the undocumented and other immigrants

Stopping police crimes against the labor movement

Stopping police crimes based on institutionalized racism

Stopping police crimes against women

Stopping police crimes and FBI repression of peace and solidarity movements

Stopping police crimes against the LGBTQ community

Stopping police crimes in a prison nation

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