Rev. Ira Acree | AustinTalks

Last month, in one of our city’s largest papers, at a very tense time when independent and responsible journalism is needed the most, African Americans in this town received the very opposite.

In “Justice for Laquan begins in every home,” Laura Washington irresponsibly criticizes black people for calling for the resignation of the police superintendent, mayor, and Cook County state’s attorney while failing to express similar outrage for the countless blacks killed by other blacks.

Actually, there is great outrage when innocent blacks get killed by other blacks. It was community leaders who helped St. Sabina church raise $56,000 to get Tyshawn Lee’s killer off the street.

The Leaders Network and other vested community residents have raised $26,000 so far as a reward to capture young model Kaylyn Pryor’s killer. We have often gone to the press with other cases of violence, but our efforts haven’t been deemed newsworthy.¬†

In recent years, over here on the west side, pastors, residents, activists, politicians and businessmen have converged on a number of occasions to express our outrage for violent activities.

The community was the loudest voice when seven year old Heaven Sutton was gunned down selling snow balls at her mom’s candy store. We raised money for a reward fund when 11-year-old Shamiya Adams was gunned down at a sleepover. It was ministers on the West Side who stood up publicly and said to killers, ‘How dare you murder Officer Clifton Lewis, who happened to be one of the best to ever wear the blue uniform for the Chicago Police department.’

We the pastors and community stakeholders of the Leaders Network (West Side) are outraged and anguished by all the senseless violence. How dare Washington suggest that we should be more outraged by black-on-black crimes?

Murder is murder, whether by a neighborhood thug or a thug masquerading as a cop. There’s a grave difference when the murder is covered up by law enforcement officers who lie about their testimonies, destroy evidence and perpetuate a blue code of silence that is supported and enforced from the top brass of CPD all the way down to the rank and file.

As a trained government employee, paid by our tax dollars, a police officer is held to a much higher standard than a thug. His commitment is not to a gang’s street code, but he is a professional that has taken an oath to SERVE and PROTECT the citizens. To many of us, a police murder feels like a modern day legal lynching financed by our own tax dollar. For no police, regardless of race, gets convicted for needlessly killing young men of color.

Civil disobedience will continue as long as we have a police department that demonstrates systemic racism. It will ramp up if there indeed has been a cover-up by government officials.

Just the mere thought, however, in 2015, of three institutions of government colluding to cover up a police killing is unfathomable. It makes you wonder how many times this has happened in a culture that has a blue code of silence. It’s hard to stop the “no snitching rule” in the hood when it’s accepted within the police department.

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