The Cook County Bar Association (CCBA), the oldest Black bar association in the country issued a statement regarding the recent shooting of Joshua Beal, in Mount Greenwood, Chicago.
In their statement, CCBA mentions several facts which the Chicago Defender finds deeply disturbing. One example the 102-year-old organization found, was the discrepancy between initial media reports about the number of off-duty officers involved (2), and the number of off-duty officers mentioned (4), in the prosecutor’s case against Joshua Beal’s brother Michael Beal.
We encourage our readers to be mindful of the fact that after a highly publicized officer-involved shooting, most initial news reports in the media are simply a retelling of the police version of events, via their media spokesperson, Anthony Guglielmi. As the Laquan McDonald video has proven, the police version of events is not always necessarily the truth; nevertheless, MSM accepts it as the truth and continues to tell that narrative.
Secondly, CCBA states: “The Facebook page dedicated to “Blue Lives Matter” called for “the citizens of Chicago to take a stand” against Black Lives Matter. On that Facebook page is written: “We have continued to watch these activists take control of our streets, block traffic, and disrupt peaceful community gatherings. No longer shall we sit by idly and watch this hate group continue their reign of anarchy on our streets of Chicago.”
“Just about everyone have the right to protest and speak out for what they believe in,” says activist Mike Smith. “To see supporters of the police referring to others exercising their first amendment rights as a “hate group” is demeaning and disingenuous to the spirit of the law and the US Constitution,” he adds.
Continuing, CCBA reported that: “Cook County Judge Donald D. Panarese Jr. — without statement — set his (Michael Beal’s) bond at half-million dollars.” We recently reported on the issue of judges setting high bonds in Cook County, in fact, a suit seeking class action status has been filed challenging the unconstitutionality of the onerous practice that certain judges appear to practice when it comes to setting bail for Black defendants. View the story here.
However, the most troubling of issues mentioned in CCBA’s statement is the possibility of video footage that may have been recorded by the firehouse camera. “Although various video clips portraying events immediately preceding and following the fatal encounter that were shot by eyewitnesses have been circulated on the internet and by news media, the City has not released any video from a firehouse located across the street that likely captured the incident.”
“If there is video captured by the firehouse cameras, then the city needs to release it right away,” says Smith “this is the way to build trust with the community and maintain transparency, which is what the Mayor always says he wants to do. Release the video.” But Smith cautions that even if they do release any video, anything condemning will more than likely have been erased or edited to support the police version of events.
According to CCBA’s website, “In 1896, a group of Black lawyers held informal meetings to address discrimination in public accommodations and other racial issues facing Freedman and women during that time [. . .] For over 100 years, the CCBA has remained steadfast to its origins by opposing injustice, promoting and protecting the civic and legal rights of African-Americans.”
The CCBA Foundation provides legal information, resources, and referrals through its monthly legal clinics. For more information visit their website here.
Also, read about the movement to make Blue Lives Matter both local and national laws here. And stay tuned for further developments . . .