Tag Archives: Chicago

Alphas March to End Gang Violence in Chicago

Way to step up, guys! Now get the Kappas and Omegas (and Sigmas and Thetas) in there to to provide an example of how real black men work and cooperate peacefully together.

Fraternity Marches Through Ongoing Gang War To End Violence In Chicago

Whenever protests against police brutality occur in the United States, critics of the Black Lives Matter movement and other race-related protests are quick to criticize marchers for ignoring so-called black-on-black crime and for only speaking out when a white police officer is involved in a black person’s death.

But last weekend, the men of Alpha Phi Alpha, a historically black intercollegiate fraternity, proved this is not the case.

Nearly 300 men marched in the freezing rain and snow in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood on Saturday to demand an end to violence in their community. Joined by Alderman Michelle Harris and Illinois state Reps. Marcus Evans and Elgie Sims, all Democrats, the fraternity marched down 79th Street, where community members say a gang war is raging.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Chatham has the 16th-highest violent crime rate of any neighborhood in Chicago.

“We wanted to show that the community was not giving up,” said Sims, who is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and currently represents Illinois’ 34th District, which includes portions of the South Side of Chicago. “We wanted the business owners to know that we stood with them and we were going to be there making a statement, standing with them, to encourage patrons to patronize those businesses, to encourage people to feel comfortable and safe in their community.”

The Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, pastor of Chicago’s Bethlehem Star Missionary Baptist Church and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, told the Chicago City Hall Examiner that the march’s purpose was to “confront the violence on these blocks and to reinvigorate economic development on 79th Street.”

“Black business owners, residents, were coming outside of their homes, opening their windows, customers were stepping outside of their shops,” Lamar Brown, a law student who participated in the march, told The Huffington Post. “They were applauding us, yelling ‘Good job,’ clapping. Even people in cars were stopping their cars, giving us thumbs up. I think the effort itself was really embraced by the community.”

Just added the Alphas to my “Giant Negro” list…

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, Giant Negros


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Chicago Cop Who Murdered Laquan McDonald to be Charged

Another Killer Cop in Chicago looks like he is headed to trial for the killing of a 17 year old black kid.

Coroner’s Report shows the 16 shots which hit Laquan McDonald in the front and back, when he was on the ground by Officer Jason Van Dyke


Reports: Chicago police officer to be charged with murder of black teen shot 16 times

A white Chicago police officer is expected to be charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of an African American teenager caught on dash-cam video, sources close to the investigation told the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times Monday night.

Unnamed officials told the news organizations that Officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to appear at a bond hearing at noon Tuesday at which time he is also expected to be charged with murder. His lawyer has said that the officer’s actions were lawful.

“He believed in his heart of hearts that he was in fear for his life…he was concerned about the lives of [other] police officers,” Daniel Herbert told reporters last week.

If Van Dyke is indicted, the case will mark the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in 35 years, according to the Tribune.

These reports come just a week after a judge ruled that the footage of the shooting must be released to the public by Wednesday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration has been accused of withholding incriminating evidence over the course of a 13-month investigation into the incident.

Like so many deaths at the hands of police, Laquan McDonald’s seemed at first destined to be mired in an unending he-said, she-said.

The Chicago Police Department initially stated that McDonald, a 17-year-old African American, “lunged” at officers with a knife in a Burger King parking lot. The department’s longtime spokesperson, Pat Camden, said at the scene that McDonald posed “a very serious threat,” leaving one officer no choice but to lodge a fatal bullet into the teenager’s chest.

Reporters and a few witnesses were skeptical of this account, especially after the Cook County Medical Examiner announced that McDonald in fact had “multiple” gunshot wounds. An autopsy later revealed that McDonald had been shot 16 times, in different places all over his body.

Jamie Kalven, the freelance journalist who first obtained the autopsy through a Freedom of Information Act request, called these details “the silent testimony of Laquan McDonald’s corpse.”

Gunshot wound of the left scalp. Gunshot wound of the neck. Gunshot wound of the right upper leg. And so on.

At least two bullets appeared to have gone through McDonald’s back.

The medical examiner described a “well-developed, well-nourished” young man with dreadlocks and several tattoos. One on the right arm read “Quan”; another on his right hand read “Good Son”; a last on the other hand depicted a pair of dice accompanied by the catchphrase “YOLO,” short for “You Only Live Once.”…Read the Rest of this developing story here

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow


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Ready for a Riot – Cop Shoots Black Teen 16 times In the Back

This Cop murder is so bad, the Police Department is afraid to release the Dash Cam video for fear of inciting riots and violence. This is in Chicago, where over the last few years the murder rate has hit record numbers.

Judge Orders Chicago Police To Release Graphic Video Of Officer Shooting Teen 16 Times

The Chicago Police must release a hotly contested video showing a white officer repeatedly shooting a black teen, a judge ordered on Thursday.

The dash cam footage showing the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014 has been described as so graphic that the teen’s mother feared its release could trigger racial unrest like what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore after officers killed unarmed black men in those cities.

A city lawyer even said the video was a factor in the unusual decision by the city to approve a $5 million payment to McDonald’s family before his relatives had even filed a lawsuit.

While Michael Brown in Ferguson and Freddie Gray in Baltimore were both unarmed, McDonald had a 4-inch knife. Officials have claimed that he acted erratically and disobeyed orders to drop the weapon when confronted by police in the Archer Heights neighborhood.

The police union has said that an officer shot McDonald out of fear for his life after the teen allegedly lunged at him with the knife. But even the city’s attorney has said McDonald waswalking away when he was shot. The officer shot the teen after he fell to the ground, according to McDonald’s family.

An autopsy found that McDonald had been shot 16 times and had the drug PCP in his system.

Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama ordered police to divulge the video by Nov. 25, according to NBC Chicago. Although initially expected to appeal the decision, the cityannounced later Wednesday it would comply with the judge’s order and release the video next week.

The officer, who has not been officially identified, has not been charged with a crime. He’s restricted to desk duty while the shooting gets reviewed. A grand jury’s decision on whether to indict him could come as early as next week.

Media outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune had filed various requests to pry the footage from the police department. Police and city officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel had refused to share it, citing an ongoing federal investigation into the shooting and concern that airing it would impede a fair trial later.

But on Wednesday, state Attorney General Lisa Madigan separately ruled against them, saying they had not adequately explained how the footage would undermine a potential fair trial.


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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter


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Ex Chicago School CEO Joining the Orange Jumpsuit Crowd

Smart enough to run the nation’s 3rd largest School system, but too dumb not to take bribes. Another national disgrace.

Ex-Chicago Schools Chief Indicted In Bribery, Kickback Scheme

Barbara Byrd-Bennett has agreed to plead guilty and will cooperate with prosecutors.

The former head of the nation’s third-largest school district was indicted on federal fraud charges Thursday that accuse her of taking bribes and kickbacks for steering more than $23 million in no-bid contracts to a former employer.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, 66, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO and superintendent, was charged with 15 counts of mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud. She was cooperating with prosecutors and has agreed to plead guilty, U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said during a press briefing.

Fardon said Byrd-Bennett abused her position “to line her own pockets and those of her co-defendants.” The indictment says the scheme netted Byrd-Bennett and her two co-defendants about $2 million in cash and other valuables, which prosecutors will seek to recover.

Byrd-Bennett helped her former employer, an educational training and consulting collective, secure lucrative no-bid contracts for city schools, according to the indictment. In exchange, Byrd-Bennett received hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, which the collective disguised by funneling them into bank accounts set up under the names of Byrd-Bennett’s relatives, the indictment alleges.

The educational collective lavished the former schools chief with perks, including meals, travel and sports tickets, and promised her another job with more kickbacks disguised as a signing bonus after she stepped down from from the superintendent’s post, the indictment says.

Byrd-Bennett resigned in June amid the federal probe.  Her lawyer, Michael Scudder, said Byrd-Bennett would plead guilty to the charges.

“As part of accepting full responsibility for her conduct, she will continue to cooperate with the government, including testifying truthfully if called upon to do so,” Scudder said in a statement.

Also indicted were Gary Solomon, 47, and Tom Vranas, 34. The men co-owned and operated the suburban Chicago SUPES Academy and Synesi Associates. SUPES Academy provided training and professional development for principals and other school administrators. Synesi offered educational consulting, performance analysis and turnaround programs.

The 43-page indictment alleges Byrd-Bennet her co-defendants began scheming almost immediately after she was hired for Chicago’s top schools spot in 2012.

“Graft and corruption in our city’s public school system tears at the fabric of a vital resource for the children of Chicago,” Fardon said in a statement. “School officials and city vendors who abuse the public trust will be held accountable.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who hand-picked Byrd-Bennett as schools chief, said Thursday he was “saddened and disappointed.”

“Our students, parents, teachers and principals deserve better,” Emanuel said in statement.

The hiring of Byrd-Bennett, who had years of experience as an educator and administrator under her belt, was initially hailed as a hopeful compromise between City Hall and the teacher’s union. Some of her predecessors had little experience in education. 

If convicted, Byrd-Bennett faces up to 20 years in prison, mandatory restitution, and a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count of mail and wire fraud.

Taking Measurement for Barbara Byrd-Bennett For That Orange Jumpsuit Politician Award…

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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Orange Jumsuit Politicians


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Archibald Motley – Painter of the Jazz Age

Born in 1891, Archibald Motley would document, through his art – the next 70 years of black experience in Chicago and France.

Portrait of a Sophisticated Lady

Octoroon, 1922

Self Portrait

Archibald Motley, The Painter Who Captured Black America in the Jazz Age and Beyond

The artist Archibald Motley captured both the high times and cultural vibrancy of the Jazz Age, as well as graver themes of racism and injustice.

The sexy sway of a 1920s Paris nightclub, filled with light and dark-skinned people pressed against each other.

The bustling streets of the almost exclusively black “Bronzeville” neighborhood Chicago in the 1930s under a nighttime glow.

A depressing surreal scene of horror following the death of Martin Luther KingJr.and the failings of the 1960s Civil Rights movement.

These are just a handful of the diverse visual expressions of the African American experience that the artist Archibald Motley so adroitly and sumptuously captured throughout his career.

Bronzeville By Night

As versatile in his aesthetic style as he was committed to scrutinizing African American culture, Motley was a uniquely daring and sharp artist who stood out even among the Harlem Renaissance greats.

Yet, Motley’s name does not elicit the same nods of recognition and respect as his peers, like Langston Hughes, Josephine Baker, and Zora Neale Hurston. That could–and certainly should–change after the retrospective Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist opens October 2 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Traveling through different chapters of his career, though not boxed into a strict chronology, the exhibition showcases how Motley was a thorough and sensitive observer of the black community, documenting its diversity while bringing his own keen perspective to its traditions and subcultures.

Motley “set his work apart” because he “created a modern, vibrant world which, as seen through a pair of jaded, laserlike ‘Negro’ eyes, revealed the jazz-and-blues-accented absurdities that lay behind life’s facades and public face,” writes Richard J. Powell in “Becoming Motley, Becoming Modern” an essay in the book,Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist.

Mending Socks

Powell, who is an art historian and Dean of Humanities at Duke University, curated the Whitney exhibition.

In other words, Motley wasn’t afraid to capture the good and the bad of black life, as his peers made tremendous gains yet the community in general often struggled in poverty and disenfranchisement in a segregated, very racist America.

At least a significant part of Motley’s distinct perspective on African American life came from his unique upbringing for a black man of his era.

Born in New Orleans in 1891, Motley was raised in Chicago’s then largely white immigrant Engelwood neighborhood and married his white childhood friend, Edith Granzo, in 1924.

Trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Motley’s earliest critically-acclaimed paintings were portraits of different figures within the African American community.

His 1924 Mending Socks depicted his grandmother, Emily Motley, a former slave, sitting with a quiet pride and refinement.

Motley was not so forward-looking that he ignored the complicated, painful slaveholding past. Mending Socks features part of a portrait of his grandmother’s mistress in the upper left corner, hanging over her.

As important as it was for Motley to capture history, it was equally, if not more, significant to him depict the spectrum of skin tones considered black. A blend of ethnicities himself, he was dedicated to painting “the whole gamut,” as he said, of African American complexions.

1920’s Mulatress with Figuring and Dutch Seascape and 1925’s The Octoroon Girl speak to his commitment of not only visually presenting multi-racial figures, but doing so in a way that showed them as refined, strong figures.

As the Whitney exhibition notes of Motley’s artistic interest in these portraits: “On the one hand, he believed that seeing themselves in art would help African Americans feel pride in their own racial identities; on the other, he hoped that seeing beautiful contemporary black subjects would dispel stereotypes and undermine racism.”...More…

Street Scene

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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Black History, Giant Negros


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More Police Violence in Chicago

Chicago cops beating people up is no big surprise,. The department has a long reputation of questionable tactics. Beating up one of their fellow Government employees? No Problem!

Police Investigator: Cops Beat Me Up

The dash-cam went dark as soon as officers saw his ID. Then an officer allegedly taunted him, “What are you going to tell me next? You can’t breathe?”

CHICAGO — A man who investigates the Chicago Police Department for a living was beaten by officers once they discovered what he did, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

George Roberts is a supervisor at the Independent Police Review Authority, the agency responsible for investigating claims of police misconduct and officer-involved shootings. On New Year’s Day 2015, Roberts was pulled over after he left a bar. One of six officers who stopped Roberts found his IPRA identification badge.

Immediately afterwards, the police dashcam recording the traffic stop cuts to black; Roberts alleges in his federal lawsuit against the police this is because another officer intentionally turned off the camera. Roberts’s attorney claims police paperwork did not even note any footage existed. In fact, police only admitted to its existence when Roberts’s criminal counsel discovered it during his trial for driving under the influence.

With no footage to contest their account of the incident, police told the media that Roberts was drunk and swerving his vehicle and that he refused to answer questions or to take a field-sobriety test. They arrested him for minor traffic violations and DUI. Police said he fell asleep in the back of the squad car and he soiled himself.

Roberts was acquitted on the DUI charge in a bench trial and he says police are lying about what really happened after the dashcam went dark—that he was thrown to the ground before he was handcuffed and put in the back of a squad car.

At 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, Roberts’s wrists were too large for the single pair of handcuffs police slapped on him, his lawyer says. When Roberts complained that even the slightest movement caused the cuffs to cut into his wrists Officer “R. Adams” allegedly taunted him with Eric Garner’s last words.

Former IRPA Investigator, Lorenzo Davis

“What are you going to tell me next, you can’t breathe?”

Roberts, who is black, claims he was pulled out of the car and thrown to the ground again—a collision so violent that it made him lose control of his bowels. From there Roberts was taken to the lock-up, where he stayed overnight in his soiled clothes.

The only visit from an officer that night was borne not of concern but jubilation, according to Roberts. A white-shirt officer, which denotes high rank, peered in on Roberts as he sat defeated on the cell floor, then pointed and laughed.

IPRA is used to getting beat up by Chicago’s cops.

Lorenzo Davis, who along with Roberts was one of just two black supervisors at IPRA, is also suing the city. Davis says he was fired after refusing to whitewash investigations of three fatal shootings carried out by Chicago police officers. While Davis remains unsure whether police targeted Roberts, he is sure that telling the truth about cops gets punished.

Detective Dante Servin, Rekia Boyd

“Some people seem to think that someone saw him and recognized him, saw him in a bar and saw him drinking,” Davis says of Roberts. “That was a theory initially—that this would be a way to get back at someone who worked at IPRA.”

The only time IPRA had the balls to suggest terminating a cop was after the state’s attorney already charged him in a homicide, which hadn’t happened to any other cops in IPRA’s lifetime.

In 2012, Detective Dante Servin fired his unregistered handgun from his car, killing Rekia Boyd. (Servin has maintained he saw a man with a gun near Boyd, but investigators revealed the man was holding only a cell phone.) Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter but was acquitted by a Cook County judge in April on the novel basis that Servin should’ve been charged with first-degree murder…More…

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Posted by on September 23, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter


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Chicago Church Removes BLM Message after Death Threats to Parishoners Children

Yeah…You read that heading right, The Kluxxer conservatives threatened to kill the children in a Church in Chicago – because the Church posted a message about BLM.

Social media pressure forces Beverly church to remove Black Lives Matter message

Members of a church in Chicago’s Beverly community wanted to get folks talking about race relations when they posted a “Black Lives Matter” message on the electronic sign outside the church.

They achieved their goal, and then some.

Because of harsh negative responses — including some threats of physical harm to the church’s children — on its Facebook page, the Beverly Unitarian Church on Wednesday removed the week-old message, replacing it with a more generic one — “Life Matters, Risk Loving Everyone.”

Church Trustee Linda Cooper, a church member since 1977, said the original message “was supposed to start a conversation here, and I guess we succeeded. We were quite surprised. We did receive some positive responses on Facebook as well as some extremely nasty ones as well as some threats.”

She said the positive messages were outnumbered by those that considered “Black Lives Matter” as racist and promoting an anti-police message.

That could not be further from the truth, Cooper said. She said the church’s national association in June voted to use the slogan as a way to affirm the work of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which draws attention to violence against blacks.

“It didn’t mean that other lives didn’t matter. It means exactly the opposite, that all lives matter,” Cooper said. “Some people framed the message as being anti-white or anti-police. That was not our message at all. So that’s unfortunate.

“It does make you wonder what’s going on, especially in a (community) like ours where people of different races live together and where we have a large number of police officers living. It’s an interesting dynamic.”

Ald. Matt O’Shea, 19th Ward, said he was appalled by the hateful comments that were posted about the church’s sign and believes most of them did not come from Beverly residents. He pointed out that the church, 10244 S. Longwood Drive, has been in Beverly for 75 years.

“They were calling attention to an issue they believe in, and it somehow got turned into a negative,” O’Shea said. “It’s unfortunate. It’s one thing to disagree with something, but when you start making threats, that’s a whole different area. I assure you the 22nd Police District is taking those threats seriously.”

He acknowledged that it may be difficult to identify those who made the threats given the anonymity provided by social media.

“Cowards,” he said, “typically raise their heads in darkness.”

After the message was removed, a posting on the church’s Facebook page reads, “We have made an effort to listen deeply to your responses and we ask all of you to step back and do the same. How would you answer this question: For too long being black has meant being less than; how do we change this in our community? We look forward to the conversation.

“If all life matters, then paying attention to those whose lives are demonstrably less valued by society becomes a necessary response. As Universalists, we believe that all life is equally precious and everyone should have the right to thrive in an environment of peace and freedom,” the posting says.

On Thursday, passers-by had mixed thoughts on the sign controversy.

Helen Pelvic, 38, of Beverly, who is white, thought the original message conveyed the notion that perhaps black lives mattered more than others.

“It shouldn’t be a color. It should be that lives matter,” she said.

Raymond Jackson, 60, is black and was not offended that the original message was removed.

“It’s not black and white. It’s about a relationship with God. God created man. He didn’t’ say anything about black or white,” Jackson said. “All lives matter. All lives.”

Brennan Machined, 29, of Beverly, who is white, said the message “specifying (race) does isolate the community but points out a distinction,” adding that he thinks the “Black Lives Matter” movement draws needed attention to a national problem.

Retired schoolteacher Peggy Salter, 65, who is black, said the message was “not about saying other lives don’t matter but (drew) attention to the fact that so many young black men and women are dying. The church is about peace and bringing the community together.”


Posted by on September 11, 2015 in Domestic terrorism


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