BY JOHN HAWKINS
CHICAGO — Flanked by more than 100 supporters, relatives of six Black men and women gunned down over the last three years by city cops announced to the press in front of the Chicago Police Department headquarters Nov. 5 their intent to press to fight for the prosecution of officers who killed their loved ones.
“The police are trained to kill,” said Karen White, grandmother of Desean Pittman, killed by Chicago cops Aug. 24. “My grandson was shot 11 times. That was an execution.”
“Chicago police officers murdered my son two years ago,” said Panzy Edwards, mother of the youngest victim, 15-year-old Dakota Bright. “The first shots they fired knocked him to the ground, then they shot him in the back of the head.”
When Bright was killed Nov. 8, 2012, neighborhood residents took to the streets in spontaneous protests.
Recent protests against the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, has focused nationwide attention on the fight against police brutality and spurred renewed actions here.
“Today is Rekia’s birthday,” said Martinez Sutton, brother of Rekia Boyd, who was killed March 21, 2012 by off-duty officer Dante Servin. The cop has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct, and is stripped of police powers during ongoing legal proceedings.
“Rekia’s killer is walking the streets,” said Sutton. “If I had done what he did, I’d be locked up. But because he’s a cop, he’s allowed to go free and he’s still getting paid. It’s almost like a promotion.”
Servin is only the second Chicago cop in the last 17 years indicted for shooting someone.
“We’re not going to stop fighting until Sierra is held accountable for what he did to my son,” said Emmett Farmer, father of Flint Farmer, killed by Chicago cop Gildardo Sierra June 7, 2011. “Sierra murdered my son on camera. The cop claims he was in fear of his life — that’s the standard excuse for murder now. The video clearly shows how he shot my son, how Flint fell to the ground, then how Sierra circled him while he was lying there and fired three more bullets into his back.”
The families of Boyd and Farmer were awarded damages of $4.5 million and $4.1 million, respectively. But these settlements have done nothing to quiet their voices or discourage them from joining other victims of police brutality in struggle.
Among the speakers was Gloria Pinex, mother of Darius Pinex, who was killed by officer Sierra on Jan. 7, 2011 — five months before Sierra killed Farmer. “If the city had heeded our demands that they do something about Sierra he never would have killed Flint Farmer, because he would have been off the streets,” Pinex said.
Also speaking at the news conference was Bonnette Jernigan, another grandmother of Desean Pittman, and Dorothy Holmes, the mother of Ronald Johnson, killed by cops Oct. 12. Holmes filed suit in federal court Oct. 29.
A demonstration of similar size demanding prosecution of killer cops took place Oct. 22 at Area 7 police headquarters on the city’s West Side.