If the city of Chicago is awarded the 2016 Olympics, there will be about 6 years for the pros and cons of bringing the games to Chicago to be heard, but some citizens are not waiting until that time to voice their concerns.
The National Conference of Black Lawyers, and Black People Against Police Torture held a press conference downtown on Monday to protest bringing the games to Chicago.
Presenting their concerns at the press conference were attorneyd Khaalis Martin, Stan Willis, officer Patricia Hill and 1968 bronze medal Olympian John Carlos, of the famous 1968 protest photo.
Mayor Richard Daley announced early this year his intentions to bring the 2016 Olympic games to Chicago, including a proposal to covert Washington Park on the city’s South Side to a track and field stadium.
The activist groups prepared a joint statement:
“Mayor Daley has filed an application with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), submitting the city of Chicago as a consideration to host the 2016 Olympic Games. In continuing to patronize the African-American community, he recently conducted a press conference stating his intentions to convert Washington Park into the track and field site if Chicago is, in fact, chosen by the Olympic Committee as the host. His primary selling point for Washington Park is that it would bring jobs and contracts to African Americans. Black People Against Police Torture respectfully submit that Mayor Daley does not care about black people, and the Burge Torture Case is a conspicuous example. For the past 30 years [and] up to the present, Daley has demonstrated nothing but contempt for the over 135 documented cases of black and brown men and women who were denied both their human and civil rights…To date, neither former Commander Jon G. Burge nor any of his cohorts have been prosecuted for the criminal offenses they committed. To add insult to injury, the taxpayers of the city of Chicago continue to bear the financial brunt of paying for Burge’s legal fees. More than $8 million has been spent regarding matters of this case. As states attorney and mayor, Daley failed to act responsibly when allegations of torture were brought to his attention.”
Prior to Monday’s press conference, activists held a meeting on Sunday, Oct. 15, at Wallace’s Catfish Corner, 2800 W. Madison to outline areas of concerns that would be addressed.
Attorney Flint Taylor, who represents some of the alleged torture victims, made several observations at the Sunday afternoon meeting.
“There is a federal investigation, an investigation of obstruction of justice, of RICO violations and all sorts of violations.”
(RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, and was created in 1970 to combat organized crime.)
“This mayor could step up and say, ‘I’m on board with that; I want the federal government to investigate.’ Of course he won’t, because if he does, the federal government will be investigating him,” Taylor added.
“That particular mayor was the states attorney in 1982 and decided, along with his buddies, first assistance Richard Devine, now the states attorney, not to prosecute when he was first told about torture.
“We have to demand of the mayor that he gets on the right side of history with regard to the investigation. The second thing is, we all see it on TV that man (Burge); that torturer of 100, 200 cases – you name it. He’s down in Florida on his boat known as the ‘Vigilantly’ with his house paid for by the pension that the city of Chicago pays. The city of Chicago just doesn’t pay his pension of some 50 or 60 grand a year. There are Area 2 torturers, all of whom, are on pensions; all of whom, when it came time to step up to the plate and testify here, took the fifth amendment rather than to talk about torture.
“And you and I, and everybody else is paying their pensions too. we’re paying over $2 million a year in pensions to people who were implicated in police torture,” Taylor estimated. “That’s something the mayor can do. He can go to court and he can say ‘stop those pensions’. He might win, he might loose, but he could be on the right side of history. The third thing: down there in federal court – we’re fighting cases. we’re fighting five cases now on behalf of victims of torture who spent many, many years on death row. When we go into court, what do we see? We see 10 lawyers on the other side. And who are those 10 lawyers? They are all private lawyers paid by the city of Chicago.
“The city could do something about that too now couldn’t they?” Taylor asked. “They could waive the statue of limitations. They could say, ‘I want to make amends for what happened over these many, many years to all these men – all these African American men.’ Those are some of the things we could ask the mayor to do before we say, ‘OK, bring your Olympics here.'”