Where is the sanctuary for black men?

The question must be asked


Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter

By Arlene Jones


Sanctuary City. That's what Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed this city. So much so that he stood up to President Trump and basically declared he would defy federal law because of it.

"To be clear about what Chicago is … it always will be a sanctuary city," he professed at a press conference held in November of last year. Doesn't the name "sanctuary" bring up images of safety? Welcoming? Inviting? Warmth? And most of all a religious connotation?

To people who are in this country illegally, it has a meaning that says it is a place where their immigration status won't be held against them. Being on this side of the border without proper documents won't even get them a "roll of the eye" or a "steely-eye" stare.

But what does "sanctuary city" say to someone who is simply an out-of-stater traveling home? Shouldn't a stop in a "sanctuary city" where the mayor has told the illegal alien population, "You are always welcome in this city. Always," mean the same sort of hospitable environment to the traveler? The traveler is an American citizen who is simply passing through our fine city going from Point A to Point D with a stop at Point C in between.

One would, on the face of it, think that it should mean that. But the strange case of a shooting outside Union Station by an Amtrak police officer is one that struck me as odd from the moment I first heard about it. That Amtrak has its own police force isn't shocking. That they feel the need to shoot someone down outside the station in what should be CPD territory seems very suspect. Especially when the reports initially said that very few details had been released. In the end, let's see if this shooting passes your "sniff" test.

To begin with, the victim has no police record and was definitely unarmed. He is a 25-year-old father of two and, according to his family, had cash on him. Remember, folks, he is a stranger and he is in a city which is now known more for its killings and shootings than any "Welcome to Chicago" greeting. He and his brother were traveling home to Minnesota from a funeral in Memphis. They had traveled via Megabus and had an hour layover in Chicago.

From various sources, this is what is being reported. Chad and his brother sought sanctuary in Union Station to stay warm since Megabus doesn't have a bus terminal. Inside they met up with a third individual from their bus. The three young people caught the attention of the Amtrak officers and they were asked to leave. They complied but after going back outside, the brother realized he had left a bag and went back into Union Station to retrieve it.

The officers follow him back outside and proceeded to search the three of them. When the officer tried to go into Chad's pocket where he had his money, Chad panicked and ran. The details get murky, but what is crystal clear is that about a half block away from Union Station, Chad Robertson was shot in the back of his neck in the middle of Canal Street. It is also alleged that he was hit by a car. What we do know for sure is that he is paralyzed from his neck down.

His lawyer admits Chad had an insignificant amount of marijuana on him but not enough for the media to label it a "drugs and money" bust as if they had encountered El Chapo with several kilos of cocaine. It is also interesting that none of the other individuals were arrested, detained or otherwise prevented from going about their business.

This shooting doesn't pass my sniff test. The attempts to make Chad Robertson into some sort of drug kingpin to validate shooting him in the back leaves a bitter taste, Especially in light of the mayor telling folks who are here illegally that even if they are criminals, their presence will be met with a "wink."

My question to the mayor is simple:

Where is the sanctuary for black men? 

Love the News?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Austin Weekly News and AustinWeeklyNews.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Austin Weekly News 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Austin and Garfield Park.

MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad