A crowd of over 100 Black Lives Matter supporters gathered today in Federal Plaza to announce the filing of a lawsuit against the federal government, the Chicago Police Department, and the Fraternal Order of Police. The lawsuit comes on the heels of recent protests that turned violent last weekend. A protest in Grant Park Friday to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus began peacefully but turned violent when riots broke out. Both protesters and police officers were injured during the unrest leading to the condemnation of police tactics and use of force.
BLM Chicago members claim protesters were pelted with tear gas and physically assaulted, violating their right to freedom of assembly. The lawsuit calls for a directive that would require CPD to cease the use of force, which violates the consent decree. The lawsuit also targets the FOP, and its president John Catanzara for seeking to suppress the first amendment rights by enlisting the use of federal forces to intervene in Chicago.
Black Lives Matter Chicago is also calling for the defunding of the Chicago Police department. They want to see that money and resources are funneled towards education, mental health organizations, and programs that will help curtail violence in the city. Members of BLM Chicago believe increased police presence and federal agent intervention will do more harm than good.
Paula J. Shelton is a freelance writer living in Chicago. Follow her on social @beboldshineon.