For Immediate Release
Community members demand justice in Chicago police excessive force case
Faith leaders, activists and community members gathered in front of Chicago Police Headquarters to support a call for progressive police reform.
Chicago - On Friday, May 13th, 2016 at 11:00 AM, Action Now members and community leaders held a rally in front of Chicago Police Headquarters in a show of support for Reverend Catherine Brown, a mother of three that is suing the department with claims of excessive force, stemming from a 2013 incident caught on dash-cam that shows the officers beating, pepper spraying-and dragging the woman from her car.
In the video, Reverend Brown can be seen driving down an alley towards her driveway when she encounters a marked CPD squad car heading towards her without lights or sirens. Officer Michelle Morsi Murphy jumped out yelling profanities and ordered Brown to move her car. Officer Jose Lopez pointed his gun at Brown’s head as she reached for her license. Fearing for her life and that of her two small children, she called 9-1-1 repeatedly and backed out of the alley while blowing her horn for help from neighbors. Officer Morsi and Officer Murphy chased her in their car, and rammed her after she came to a complete stop. The officers forced her door open, pepper-spraying her as her children screamed and forcefully dragged her from her car as they are seen striking her as she lay on the ground.
The officers from the video are currently still on duty with the Chicago Police Department. Community members have seen that the Chicago Police Department continues to allow unacceptable conduct from its officers. Spurred by the Laquan McDonald case, the Department of Justice recently investigated the department over extensive allegations of excessive force and other misconduct. Too often, officers are shielded by a “blue code of silence” when it comes to claims of excessive force, and are rarely removed from duty. Officer Morsi Murphy currently has 19 complaints lodged against her, while Officer Lopez has 21, according to Citizens Police Data Project. Local activists and faith leaders see this as a major problem with police accountability.
“The Chicago Police are not holding their officers to the highest standards of conduct, especially in black and brown communities. For too long, officers have been allowed to engage in conduct that endangers the physical and psychological well being of the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect. We need progressive police reform in order to bring justice to these communities”, said Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now.
If the Chicago Police want to restore faith in the communities they serve, then they can not continue to protect officers that do not perform their jobs to the highest of standards. Complaints of excessive force are all too common in the city, and lack of disciplinary actions are even more common. Superintendent Johnson must show that he is serious about working with the community in initiating progressive policing reforms. Officers like Morsi-Murphy and Lopez should not be working for the department with so many complaints against them, with the Brown dash-cam video being just one glaring example.
“"These officers should not still be on duty. We demand that the superintendent give us the justice we seek. He should do the right thing and remove these officers from our streets, so that we can all have peace" said Catherine Brown.
Action Now is a grassroots community organization of working families in Chicago fighting for racial, social and economic justice. For more information, please visit www.actionnow.org