On Wednesday, October 4th, ONE Northside participated in a press conference with the American Civil Liberties Union, Equip for Equality, Next Steps, Communities United and Community Renewal Society.
As the press release states, “The lawsuit challenges the City’s failure to train and monitor officers to ensure they safely interact with people with disabilities—a quarter of the victims of police violence. The suit also challenges CPD’s disproportionate use of force on Black and Latino Chicagoans. For people of color with a disability, these disparities are compounded, too often leading to injury or death at the hands of the police.”
ONE Northside leader Carlos Navarro, a first generation Mexican American, Uptown resident, and former Marine Corps member who lives with PTSD, spoke briefly at the press conference. Carlos said:
“I witnessed how the Chicago police are not trained on how to deal with residents with PTSD and other mental illnesses, and know this is the case for those with other disabilities also.
These experiences cause us to lose trust in the police. We want to trust that the police will listen to us when we have a problem. Every resident of the City should be able to expect that police officers will treat them with respect. If they are not trained to do that, many people with disabilities fear that they will have problems in the future.
People with disabilities and mental illnesses will be leery of any potential encounter with the police – and fear that encounters could escalate into them getting hurt.
Police need more training and more information about how to interact with all of the people they serve. They need to be ready to de-escalate situations, and they should be trained to not mock people for having mental illness. For everyone’s safety, I hope that this lawsuit helps make these changes possible.”
We deserve a police force that can safely serve and protect all Chicagoans, including residents with disabilities. CPD does not have the training and ability to achieve this goal, meaning that routine interactions habitually escalate into violence. This lawsuit is part of our broader community effort to demand all residents of Chicago be involved in oversight and reform.
Do you have a story or know of people with stories who have had encounters with police that involved someone with a mental illness, physical or intellectual disability?
Are you interested in learning more about the lawsuit, community oversight of the police and the police union contracts?
Please contact Anna Mangahas at 773 769 3232 ext 21 or firstname.lastname@example.org.