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Occupied TerritoryPolicing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power$
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Simon Balto

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649597

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649597.001.0001

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Do You Consider Revolution to Be a Crime?

Do You Consider Revolution to Be a Crime?

Fighting for Police Reform

(p.222) Chapter 7 Do You Consider Revolution to Be a Crime?
Occupied Territory

Simon Balto

University of North Carolina Press

The final chapter documents the wide range of Black-led activist efforts to reform the police at the end of the 1960s and in the early 1970s. The launching point is the assassination of Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, in a 1969 killing orchestrated by the Chicago Police Department, the Cook County State’s Attorney, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the aftermath of his killing, a wave of community organizations mobilized or expanded their protests about Chicago’s police. This included groups like the Afro-American Patrolman’s League, comprised of Black CPD officers seeking to end police brutality and ensure better police services for Black Chicago. It included U.S. Congressman Ralph Metcalfe using the power of his office to expose police violence and harassment, and the fight for community control of the police led by the Black Panthers. Some activists who advocated for police reform sought more responsive police services to better community safety from escalating gun violence; others, such as those involved in the push for community control, pursued visions of semi-abolition of the police as currently constituted. Binding them together was a common understanding that the CPD was not working for Black Chicago.

Keywords:   Fred Hampton, Black Panther Party, Afro-American Patrolman’s League, Ralph Metcalfe, Community Control, Police reform, Police abolition, Community safety, Police brutality

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