Activists stall vote on funding Chicago police academy, citing “misplaced priorities”
Chicago’s plans to build a $95 million police training compound in West Garfield Park has created a fierce community campaign, #NoCopAcademy. Due to protestors’ disruption of Tuesday’s city council meeting, the vote on the funding measure for the police academy has been postponed.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a council alderman approved an appropriation of $20 million from the sale of a fleet facility for the police academy. This prompted protestors to start chanting, “Shame on y’all,” “This is wrong” and “How do you look yourselves in the mirror? You are killing us.”
The #NoCopAcademy activists shared they were concerned the city had “misplaced priorities,” approving city projects the community does not want while funding for schools and other needs languished.
Demonstrator Monica Trinidad said, “Over 500 people we surveyed in West Garfield Park said they do not want this cop academy. There are way more resources of need in their community. They want jobs. They want mental health clinics. They want public schools. They want youth services and after-school programs. They do not want this cop academy. We asked 500 people.”
Most of the demonstrators and organizers were removed from the city chambers. Erica Nanton was the only organizer with the #NoCopAcademy campaign who was able to publicly speak afterward.
Nanton stated, “We are united in a common platform: No cop academy. Half a dozen schools were shut down in Garfield Park in 2013 to save money, and if the city suddenly has $95 million to invest in the west side for what is called public health and safety, there are at least 1,103 other ways to invest those funds.”
Both aldermen Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and David Moore exercised their right to defer the ordinance for the police academy. This postponed the vote to Friday’s City Council meeting.
“This is a small but very significant victory,” Page May, an organizer for the #NoCopAcademy campaign, declared. “It would not have happened if not for youth-directed organizing, and it’s a message that organizing works and that it’s important to reject things that are described as a done deal. That this is not over.”