About a month after the Civilian Office of Police Accountability ruled that the officer-involved shooting was justified demonstrators took to the streets of Chicago calling for justice for Joshua Beal.
Last Thursday’s protest, by design, set out to demand that authorities reopen the 2016 homicide case involving a 25-year-old Indianapolis man who reportedly sustained multiple gunshot wounds by two officers, Thomas Derouin and Joe Treacy. Demonstrators also wanted to seek justice for many others fatally shot by officers in Chicago.
“No matter what is going on, we will remain committed to the fight to demand justice for every single person killed by CPD,” said Aislinn Pulley, of Black Lives Matter Chicago.
Pulley called into question the Chicago Police Department for pushing forward false narratives.
“They want us to believe that the sky is purple,” she said. “They want us to believe that Homan Square doesn’t exist right now on the west side and that 7,000 people [did] not disappear. They want us to believe the torture justice survivors, who are here with us, don’t deserve justice and don’t deserve reparation. They want us to believe that the two cops who murdered Joshua Beal—who was only in town for a funeral—and the [shooting] in his cousin’s funeral procession, were justified.”
The group of protesters started at the intersection of 35thStreet and Martin Luther King Drive and made its way to the Chicago Public Safety Headquarters to rally outside the monthly meeting of the Chicago Police Board.
Demonstrators held signs in the air that read, “No impunity for killer cops,” “Hold cops accountable for their murders,” “Stop killing black people,” and “Rest in power Joshua.”
Among those making their way to rally outside the police board meeting was Chicago resident Que Everett.
“A friend invited me,” she said. “I’m just out here to support. She told me about the [homicide.] Since I just moved here, I didn’t know a lot about Joshua Beal and what happened to him.”
Everett carried a sign in support of the demonstrators and their effort to seek justice for Joshua Beal. She said the reason for the divide between the police and the community is difficult to pinpoint.
“For some reason, I feel like they view us as the enemy, even before we’ve done anything or said anything,” Everett said. “For some reason, we’re targeted. People have to start being accountable, for sure.”
Mark Clements of the Chicago Torture Justice Center said that supporting the demonstration means a lot to him. “I’m a Chicago police torture survivor,” he said. “I’m someone who’s spent 28 years inside of a prison from the age of 16 years old.”
Several officers took to the perimeter of the demonstration, looking on as protestors rallied. Clements, noting the police presence outside the Chicago Public Safety Headquarters, said the officers should be patrolling the streets. “This is a waste of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
Clements said officers need to take time to examine themselves and the role they may play in perpetuating the problem. “Because of their positions, they remain silent,” he said. “We’re going to break the code of silence. When are we going to stand up for justice? Justice will start now.”
Ruby Pinto of the Chicago Community Bond Fund took to the rally to make her support for the cause known. “We’ve spent three years bailing people out of jail, paying ransom for people’s freedom,” she said. “We’re … sick of it.”
Pinto rejected the narrative that there is a need for the Cook County jail. She said the city of Chicago has more pressing needs. “We need resources; we need our needs met; we need safe housing,” Pinto said. She also made a plea for more “adequate schools, care, control and power over our own lives.”
The demonstrators had a set of demands for authorities that included reopening Beal’s case, as well as firing, indicting and convicting officers Derouin and Treacy.
In a July 19 statement, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said “While we remain focused on public safety for everyone in our communities, this matter is under review.”
The statement continued, “Pursuant to our office protocols related to police involved shootings, we will publicly release information when our review is complete.”