Renault A. Robinson, Former CPD Officer, Passes Away After Battle with Cancer

Memorial Service Set for July 25th at Saint Sabina

Former Chicago police officer Renault A. Robinson has died, his family announced on Monday. Robinson, a lifelong Chicagoan, served in the Chicago Police Department (CPD) from 1964 to 1983.

He also co-founded the Afro-American Patrolmen’s League (AAPL), an organization committed to enhancing police service in Black communities and promoting equal opportunities for Black police officers to assume leadership roles. After a lengthy battle with cancer, Robinson peacefully passed on July 8 at the age of 80.

The AAPL won the first civil rights lawsuit against the CPD for discrimination against Black, Hispanic and women police officers. Robinson was also a vocal critic of racism within the Chicago Police Department. Additionally, he voiced his disapproval of incidents like the raid that led to the killing of Fred Hampton, a member of the Black Panther Party, as well as a large-scale operation orchestrated by the notorious Chicago police commander Jon Burge, which led to a military-like occupation of the South Side of Chicago.

Robinson played a pivotal role as a prominent organizer in both Harold Washington’s mayoral campaigns of 1977 and 1983, with the latter resulting in Washington’s historic triumph as the first Black mayor of Chicago.

From 1983 to 1987, Robinson held the position of Chairman at The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) during Mayor Harold Washington’s administration. Throughout his term, he played a crucial role in transforming high-rise public housing projects by introducing new mixed-income housing developments. He dedicated himself to enhancing the living conditions and well-being of public housing residents.

From 1983 until 1987, Robinson served as Chairman of The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) under Mayor Harold Washington. During his tenure he oversaw the reinvention of high-rise public housing projects, including the construction of new mixed-income housing developments. He worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for residents of public housing.

Furthermore, Robinson served as the vice president of ASI Personnel Service before venturing to establish his own company, Facilities and Ground Maintenance Services, in 2000. In these capacities, Robinson is recognized for his contributions in assisting numerous unemployed and underemployed individuals in Chicago to secure employment opportunities. Robinson retired in 2018.

Remaining actively involved in community affairs, he held positions on the board of directors for various organizations, such as the Chicago Urban League (CUL) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Throughout his remarkable career, he amassed numerous awards, plaques, commendations, and recognition for his remarkable achievements in advancing civil rights. In the book “The Man Who Beat Clout City” (1977), author Robert McClory vividly recounts Robinson’s often contentious interactions with the CPD.

Robinson attained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Roosevelt University and pursued a doctorate at Northwestern University. He demonstrated unwavering dedication as a public servant, passionately fighting for the rights of all Chicago residents. A trailblazer in combating racism within the Chicago Police Department and making significant contributions to the city’s housing authority, he will be fondly remembered as an unwavering advocate for social justice and a champion for the underprivileged and marginalized individuals within the city.

Robinson is survived by his wife, Annette, four sons, 10 grandchildren, and six siblings. He was proceeded in death by his parents Robert and Mable Robinson and his brother Robert Jr.

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, July 25, at 11:00 a.m. at Saint Sabina Catholic Church, Chicago, Illinois.

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