Posted Dec. 12, 2007 - The Rev. Al Sharpton announced Monday that he will ask members of the International Olympic Committee to reject the Windy City’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics if the city doesn’t do something quickly to battle police misconduct.
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“Why are we targeting the Olympics? Because Chicago has become an international embarrassment, and this unchecked behavior must end,” Sharpton said during the news conference at Chicago’s City Hall, just steps from Mayor Richard Daly’s office.
To bolster his argument, Sharpton released the comprehensively titled document, “From Jim Crow to Jena, It is We Who Demand Justice, A manifesto against the History of Misconduct, Brutality, Torture and Murder of African-Americans by Local U.S. Law Enforcement Jurisdiction & a Demand for Federal Intervention.”
The document will also be given to the U.S. Justice Department and other cities competing for the Olympics that year, according to a release.
“It is our contention that the United States should not be rewarded for violating the human rights of its citizens,” Sharpton said.
The document includes a list of 10 recommendations to combat police misconduct. A civilian review board and a release of the names of police officers accused of misconduct are among the suggestions.
The spotlight on Chicago is due to a few notable cases, including that of former Chicago Police Sgt. John Herman, recently found guilty of raping a crack addict, and, most notoriously, Cmdr. Jon Burge, who reportedly oversaw the torture of hundreds of suspects during his 20-plus-year career, beginning in the 1970s.
Lewis Myers Jr., a Chicago area attorney and civil rights activist, is leading the legal effort.
“It has become painfully apparent that in some jurisdictions in the United States local police departments have developed a pattern and practice of conduct,” he said at the conference. “Chicago stands out as a prime example of a police department out of control.”
Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network, will also create a Web site specifically dedicated to documenting police abuse and misconduct in Chicago and across the country.
“We will follow through on our requests until justice is served,” Sharpton said.
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