A press conference was held at Wallace Catfish Corner (2800 W. Madison St.) Jan. 18 by attorneys Lewis Myers Jr. and Berve M. Power, who represent Sheik Clifford Jackson-Bey, divine minister of The Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc., since 1979.
On Saturday, Nov. 25, 2006, Sheik Jackson-Bey alleges he was brutally attacked by a Chicago police officer during a routine search for one of his sons, for whom the officers allegedly had an arrest warrant.
Attorney Myers introduced Sheik Jackson-Bey as a national leader of the Islamic community. Jackson-Bey made the following statement to the press: “My name is Sheik Clifford Jackson-Bey. I am the National Grand Sheik of the Moorish Science Temple of America. I oversee a number of small temples here and around the United States. Our principles are love, truth, peace, freedom and justice, and we teach basically the art of nationality, the science of nationality and divine creed. Professionally, I am a paralegal. I do murder and narcotics case preparation for criminal defense attorneys.”
He also described himself as “an honorably discharged Viet Nam veteran, a prominent nationally recognized religious leader, a well-known local television broadcaster, and a much-sought-after private criminal investigator.”
“Today civil rights leaders, witnesses, clergy, family and friends from Chicago and across the nation are gathered here to make it widely understood that we will no longer accept this sort of insulting religious persecution and police brutality.
“For a number of years, members of the Islamic community, the Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc. has worked to foster ecumenical cooperation between Islamic leaders and members of the Christian community and other religious organizations in America. We have also worked to develop an understanding with law enforcement agencies and police departments after Sept. 11, 2001.
“The actions of the Chicago Police Department member who unjustifiably and viciously attacked national Grand Sheik Clifford Jackson-Bey has only worked to exacerbate tension between the Islamic community and the Chicago Police Department.”
Jackson-Bey alleges that on Nov. 25 he was beaten by a Chicago police officer. In his written statement he alleges: “Saturday evening around 4 p.m., I was sitting in the bedroom with my wife talking. All of a sudden, I heard my door slam, dogs barking and beating on the door. I got up, went to the back door to see what was wrong. When I looked out the door, I saw the police standing at the door pointing their guns in my window. They yelled at me, telling me to put the dogs up before they blow their brains out, and blow mine out too. I told them, “No problem. I will put the dogs up,” I put one dog in the cage and the other in the bedroom.
“I then went out my front door and asked the officers what was wrong, who were they looking for? They replied, ‘You know who the f..k we are looking for; they ran in your house!’ I asked them, ‘Who ran into my house?’ Suddenly, the officer grabbed my arm and told me I was going to get him out of the house or I was going to jail for harboring a man with a warrant.
“One of the officers said, ‘Cuff him!’ The officer holding my arm placed handcuffs on me and placed me in the back of an unmarked police car. While sitting in the back of the police car, I saw a tactical officer banging on the front storm door. All of a sudden he stopped banging on the door, ran off the porch, jumped in the back of the police car and began to beat me about the head and body. He straddled me and continued to punch me while calling me Muslim bitches, saying, ‘Nobody gives a f..k about you Muslim bitches, nobody is going to help you, you Muslim piece of s..t.
“Later, another officer came to the car, told me they were looking for my son, Haneef Jackson-Bey, and that they had a warrant for his arrest. The officers told me that Haneef ran into my house after being chased by them. I told them that Haneef did not live here, and that he was not in my house.”
After entering his home, Jackson-Bey said they only found his wife and 14-year-old son. It was later determined, he said, that Haneef had been in police custody since Nov. 23.
Jackson-Bey added, “While at the station, the officer who jumped on me, came into the room where I was handcuffed to a wall and said to me: ‘I have to do something that I have never done before. I have to live with myself. I have to sleep at night. I owe you an apology. I lost my temper and things went further than they were supposed to go. I have never apologized before. I have family in the area.’ A captain then came in and asked if I wanted to file a complaint. I told him I did. I was taken to South Shore Hospital where I was interviewed by medical staff and an investigator from OPS.”
The Moorish Science Temple has also sent a letter to Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. Rod Blagojevich with a copy to Supt. Philip Cline. The letter reportedly requests that the officer should be suspended and/or dismissed.
On Wednesday, the Austin Weekly News contacted Chicago Police News Affairs for a comment about the allegations. A News Affairs spokesperson said our questions would be forwarded to Monique Bond, director of News Affairs, who would either reply to the allegations or direct the paper to the proper officials in the department for a response.
The alleged incident in question occurred close to the temple’s location, 8700 S. Marquette Ave. However, the attorneys and participants wanted to hold a press conference on the West Side so that this community could be informed. The host was 2nd Ward aldermanic candidate and restaurant owner Wallace Davis.