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Vol. 76/No. 3      January 23, 2012

N. Chicago workers demand
justice against killer police
NORTH CHICAGO, Ill.—Gloria Carr has refused to let her son’s death at the hands of North Chicago police go by without protest. This has lifted the lid off pent-up anger against police brutality in this predominantly African-American working-class town of 32,000 about 35 miles north of Chicago.

Carr’s son, Darrin Hanna, died Nov. 13, a week after North Chicago cops beat him and shocked him repeatedly with a Taser for 20 minutes during his arrest.

At a Dec. 8 meeting of the town’s City Council, members voted 4-3 to suspend City Police Chief Mike Newsome. But five votes are needed and North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham Jr. decided to take no action. Six cops involved in Hanna’s and another killing have been placed on desk duty.

Hanna’s family filed suit in federal court Dec. 13 against North Chicago and the six cops involved in Hanna’s killing. “They beat him, Tasered him to the point where his mother couldn’t recognize his face and had to check his feet,” family attorney Kevin O’Connor told the Chicago Sun-Times after filing the suit.

Under mounting public pressure, with other police victims coming forward with complaints of cop brutality, Rockingham placed Newsome on leave Jan. 4, while the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force investigates Hanna’s killing.

An increasing number of people have joined Hanna’s family, speaking out about their own encounters with North Chicago cop violence. One of them is 61-year-old Stretha Alston, who was beaten and Tasered during a 2009 traffic stop. At a recent City Council meeting a video was played that showed cops without provocation brutalizing an unidentified man in jail.

“Since 2005, the city of North Chicago has known that the violence has escalated, that the complaints have escalated against their officers …and it’s now continued and escalated to the point that somebody’s died,” O’Connor said. “The family has made it very clear that they want justice.”

Following the beatings of two Black teenagers in 2007, the Justice Department brokered an agreement related to police conduct in order to placate public anti-cop resentment under the rubric of “improving relations.”

According to the Sun-Times, the Lake County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says the city has largely ignored that agreement.
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