Chicago, USA police racist, report says


This 13 April 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

Chicago Police Department botched Laquan McDonald case, has history of racism – task force.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Chicago Police Dept. Plagued by Systemic Racism, Task Force Finds

By MONICA DAVEY and MITCH SMITH

APRIL 13, 2016

CHICAGO — Racism has contributed to a long pattern of institutional failures by the Chicago Police Department in which officers have mistreated people, operated without sufficient oversight, and lost the trust of residents, a task force appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel has found.

The report, issued on Wednesday, was blistering, blunt and backed up by devastating statistics. Coincidentally, it was released as city leaders were installing a new, permanent superintendent for the Chicago Police Department.

“C.P.D.’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color,” the task force wrote. “Stopped without justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances arrested, and then detained without counsel — that is what we heard about over and over again.”

The report reinforces complaints made for decades by African-American residents who have said they were unfairly singled out by officers without justification on a regular basis, then ignored when they raised complaints.

It comes at a pivotal moment for the nation’s second-largest municipal police force, which is being criticized by residents and is under scrutiny from the Justice Department. And, coming from Mr. Emanuel’s own appointees, the findings intensify pressure on him and other Chicago leaders to make substantive, swift changes.

The report makes more than 100 specific recommendations for change, and task force members called on the mayor and the City Council to take action. After formally receiving the report, Mr. Emanuel had no immediate public reaction.

The task force amassed data that shows the extent to which African-Americans appear to have been disproportionately focused on by the police. In a city where whites, blacks and Hispanics each make up about one-third of the population, 74 percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police between 2008 and 2015 were black, the report said. Black people were the subjects in 72 percent of the thousands of investigative street stops that did not lead to arrests during the summer of 2014.

Three out of every four people on whom Chicago police officers tried to use Taser guns between 2012 and 2015 were black. And black drivers made up 46 percent of police traffic stops in 2013.

“The community’s lack of trust in C.P.D. is justified,” according to the report, a draft summary of which was first reported in The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday afternoon. “There is substantial evidence that people of color — particularly African-Americans — have had disproportionately negative experiences with the police over an extended period of time.” …

Public pressure has remained intense. Just this week, after an officer fatally shot a black 16-year-old who the police said was armed, protesters took to the streets.

The task force was given its assignment late last year, after the release of a graphic dashcam video showing a white Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, fatally shooting a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, along a Chicago street. Widespread protests followed, and Mr. Emanuel fired the city’s police superintendent. …

“What we heard from people all across the city is they felt like they didn’t even have a claim to the geography in front of their house, on their street, or in their neighborhoods,” Ms. Lightfoot said, as she presented the report at a downtown library. She acknowledged high rates of violence in some of those communities, but said that did not excuse abuses of power by the police, and that officers must be trained to fight crime while also respecting residents’ rights.

The panel described the city’s delays in releasing the Laquan McDonald video and officials’ false descriptions of what had happened in the days immediately after that shooting as a “tipping point” for long-simmering anger. But “the linkage between racism and C.P.D.” had not bubbled up only after the McDonald video was made public, it said. Rather, Mr. McDonald’s death gave voice to years of unfair treatment, distrust within minority communities, and to “the deaths of numerous men and women of color whose lives came to an end solely because of an encounter with C.P.D.,” the report said.

“The task force heard over and over again from a range of voices, particularly from African-Americans, that some C.P.D. officers are racist, have no respect for the lives and experiences of people of color and approach every encounter with people of color as if the person, regardless of age, gender or circumstance, is a criminal,” the report said, adding later, “These encounters leave an indelible mark.”

“Even if there was no arrest,” it said, “there is a lasting, negative effect.”

The report also condemned aspects of the city’s contracts with police unions, calling for changes to clauses that they said “make it easy for officers to lie in official reports,” ban anonymous citizen complaints and prevent the department from rewarding officers who turn in rule-breaking colleagues. The contracts, the task force concluded, “have essentially turned the code of silence into official policy.” The president of the union that represents rank-and-file officers did not immediately respond to interview requests.

The report calls for dissolving the Independent Police Review Authority, which is charged with overseeing the most serious claims of police misconduct. The task force concluded that the authority has failed to investigate a large segment of its cases, rarely carries out meaningful discipline, and is perceived as favoring the police. It recommended that it be replaced with a “fully transparent and accountable civilian police investigative agency.”

The report also calls for an expansion of the city’s body cam program; a unit assigned to handle issues around mental health crises; and a new deputy chief at the department in charge of diversity and inclusion. It also recommended putting in place a citywide reconciliation process in which the superintendent would publicly acknowledge the department’s history of racial disparity and discrimination and make a public commitment to change.

The recommendations and the report drew praise for their candor, but some here remained doubtful about whether it would really bring widespread change.

“The strong diagnoses must be followed by action — by the mayor, the City Council and the Police Department,” said Karen Sheley, police practices director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “Corrective measures — those outlined by the task force and others — must be fashioned in a way that they cannot be reversed.”

Charlene A. Carruthers, national director of Black Youth Project 100, a Chicago-based activist organization, said that she had not yet reviewed the report, but that she considered the task force “yet another example of the mayor’s office and those in power in the city of Chicago making decisions on behalf of the community.”

Ms. Carruthers said increased civilian oversight and changes to police union contracts — two task force recommendations — were urgently needed. But, she added, “I do not have confidence that the task force or the mayor’s office will take bold enough steps.”

Chicago Police Routinely Violate Civil Rights, Withering Justice Department Probe Finds. It’s the largest municipal police department to ever come under DOJ investigation. 01/13/2017 11:06 am ET: here.

A report released Friday by the US Justice Department details systematic police brutality and unconstitutional practices by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). While the 161-page report outlines a broad array of horrific practices and crimes committed by the police force, it is an exercise in political damage control and cover-up. Not a single high-level political figure is held to account or charged for crimes by the investigation: here.

Chicago, USA remembers Sandra Bland


This video from the USA says about itself:

Chicago Remembers Sandra Bland

14 July 2016

Friends and family of Sandra Bland gathered on Wednesday night to mark one year since her death with a candlelight vigil.

Ahead of the public release of body and dash camera footage of police shooting of 18-year-old African American Paul O’Neal, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) issued a national bulletin warning of possible “civil unrest.” The teenager was shot in the back on July 28 and his death has been ruled a homicide: here.

Greek art exhibition in Chicago, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

THE GREEKS – Agamemnon To Alexander The Great, Field Museum Highlights

24 March 2016

The Greeks is co-presented in Chicago by the Field Museum and the National Hellenic Museum (NHM). Contributions from John P. Calamos, Chairman of the Board NHM, and his Foundation made this possible.

By Leah Jeresova in the USA:

An exhibition at the Field Museum in Chicago

The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great

2 April 2016

The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander the Great, at the Field Museum in Chicago, November 25, 2015–April 10, 2016. The exhibition catalog is edited by Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki and Anastasia Balaska. Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture and Sports. Athens, Kapon Editions, 2014.

The most comprehensive exhibition of Greek art and artifacts ever to tour outside Greece opened at the Field Museum of Chicago on November 25. This highly recommended show will be on view until April 10. From Chicago, it will move to the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. and be on display from May 26 through October 9.

The Greeks were a diverse group of peoples inhabiting mainland Greece and the Greek islands, and, in ancient times, the coast of what is now Turkey. They shared a common language and religion, and many of the same political institutions.

Over the course of the several millennia of their ascendancy, the Greeks passed through a variety of social formations: from early class societies on the basis of the “Neolithic Revolution” in agriculture that began some 10,000 years ago in western Asia to the societies, based to a large degree on slave labor, which provided the material basis for a flowering of Greek culture and politics.

“Classical beauty,” wrote Hegel in his Aesthetics, “with its infinite range of content, material, and form is the gift vouchsafed to the Greek people, and we must honour this people for having produced art in its supreme vitality”.

Greek achievements include Homer’s epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey; the classical Greek drama of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides; the sculpture of Phidias; the foundations of Western philosophy; the political achievement of Athenian democracy; as well as the conquests of Alexander the Great. Hellenic culture had an impact on world history unlike few other civilizations, and to fully understand the development of modern society, it is necessary to study the impressive culture established by the Greeks.

“The Greeks” was organized by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs in Athens, in cooperation with curators from the four participating museums. It has already toured in Canada to wide acclaim, appearing at the Montreal Archaeology and History Complex and the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.

“The Greeks” comes at a time when harsh austerity measures have been imposed on the Greek people and the tourism industry has suffered. The Greek government has been driven by the ongoing economic crisis to sponsor a blockbuster exhibition it hopes will attract tourists from North America.

Greece today is a country being bled white by the big European banks. Unemployment stands at over 25 percent, pensions have been slashed, the health care system devastated and homelessness and hunger have increased to levels unheard of since the Second World War. …

In 2012 museums laid off of 30-50 percent of their staffs, with further cuts in the years following. Greek police have estimated that since austerity measures began in 2009, the theft of antiquities has increased by 30 percent.

In October last year, the Syriza government raised the price of admission to hundreds of museums and historical sites by between 66 and 150 percent.

The exhibition at the Field Museum brings ancient Greek history to life, through some 500 artifacts in all, loaned from 21 museums throughout the country. The curators have organized the contents chronologically and thematically into a “meet the people” experience encompassing six diverse and lively zones.

The Bronze Age (3500-1050 B.C.) is the star attraction of the first half of the exhibition. Civilization advanced rapidly from its Stone Age beginnings, when bronze—an alloy of copper and tin—became the principal material for making tools and weapons. …

The Cycladic, Minoan and Mycenaean cultures benefited from their positions on important sea and land routes that allowed them to develop extensive trading networks.

Cycladic civilization flourished at the end of the third millennium B.C. Its sculpture is characterized by an abstract treatment of the human form. Marble statuettes with folded arms and oval, flat heads are typical.

The Minoans developed a sophisticated culture on the island of Crete. Precious metals and other materials were abundant (e.g., tin, copper, silver, gold, ivory). A wealthy ruling class supported the arts. Examples of Kemares ware (pottery) are impressive, with dramatic geometric motifs. A goddess figurine with upraised arms and cylindrical skirt has a bird atop her head, symbolizing divinity.

Mycenaean society developed in southern regions of mainland Greece, with the emergence of large towns anchored by great palaces. Mycenae became a powerful government and cultural center, dominated by a military aristocracy.

'Mask of Agamemnon' (Replica) © Archaeological Museum of Mycenae

The “Mask of Agamemnon,” the mythical king of Mycenae—a victor in the Trojan War—is the stunning centerpiece of the exhibition, towering over the other displays. This breathtaking gold funerary mask, 3,000 years old, was discovered in a royal grave by German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who exclaimed: “I have gazed upon the eyes of Agamemnon!” However, the burial had taken place three centuries too early to be that of Agamemnon. A replica is presented here.

Mycenaean metalwork is opulent and exotic. Lions and eagles were favorite decorative motifs in this warrior culture, symbols of power and valor. A dagger on view featuring a gold inlaid spiral decoration is a masterpiece of Mycenaean craftsmanship.

The first writing systems were syllabary (a set of written characters representing syllables and serving the purpose of an alphabet) scripts on clay tablets. The visitor should not miss a display of tablets with a script known as “Linear B,” an early version of Greek, developed around 1300 B.C., found in Minoan and Mycenaean contexts on Crete and mainland Greece. “Linear B” was deciphered in 1952 by Michael Ventris, an English linguist, thereby demonstrating that the Mycenaeans were one of the first Greek-speaking cultures. A short film illustrates how pictograms—symbolizing wine, olive oil, armor, animals, men or women—were burned into the wet clay.

With the collapse of Mycenaean civilization, the Greeks lost their writing system and it was not until the Eighth Century B.C. that they borrowed an alphabet from the Phoenicians—another great seafaring people—and adapted it to the Greek language. A prime requirement in choosing an alphabet was its ability to transcribe complex epic poetry from the oral tradition.

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, epics written in the Eighth century B.C., depict events occurring at the dawn of the turbulent Iron Age, in tribal kingdoms along the periphery of mainland Greece. These epic poems, one of the foundations of Western literature, have a universal theme: the struggles of human beings with nature (which appear in the ancient world as fate) and with each other. Most scholars believe that the tales existed within an oral tradition, some 500 to 700 years before Homer wrote them down.

In the Iliad, Homer tells the story of the Trojan War. A famous scene from the Iliad painted on a clay vase of the late sixth century B.C. depicts the Greek warrior Achilles avenging the death of his close friend Patroclus, who had been killed by Hector—a prince of Troy. Achilles kills Hector in revenge and drags his body along the ground, tied to a chariot.

A chilling reconstruction of a Homeric funeral pyre is on view from Eleutherna in Crete. The warrior hero has been cremated, but his enemy captive has been decapitated, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. These funerary rituals were described in the Iliad.

A helmet made from the tusks of wild boars, of the type worn by Odysseus in the Iliad, is displayed, with an inlay made from hippopotamus ivory.

In the Odyssey Homer tells the story of the return voyage of Odysseus, a leading Greek general, from the Trojan War. Artifacts on display include a clay vase fragment showing the blinding of Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops, and a vase painting showing Odysseus enchanted by the music and voices of the seductive Sirens—both referring to episodes in the Odyssey.

A selection of bronze and gold helmets (10 in all) buried with Bottiaean tribal ruler-warriors shows us the face of war in the Archaic period (seventh to sixth century B.C.). The viewer should note the decorative gold mouthpieces, gilded swords, javelins and other weaponry. The Bottiaeans inhabited Central Macedonia.

By the eighth century B.C., the polis (autonomous city-state) had become the basic political unit of Greek civilization. These societies evolved through various forms of government—ruled by aristocracies, oligarchies, tyrannies and, finally, democracies. In the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., Athens was the most powerful polis in Greece. All of these societies had an economic basis in agriculture, especially the cultivation of wheat, wine and olive oil, farmed by a mixture of free peasant and slave labor.

In 480 B.C. at the Battle of Thermopylae, the Spartans under King Leonidas staged a heroic resistance and experienced a bitter defeat at the hands of the Persian Empire, which had attempted to bring the Greek city-states under its sway. Athenian victories over the Persians soon paved the way for Athenian dominance in the Classical Period. A marble statue of Leonidas from the Acropolis of Sparta is prominently displayed.

The Classical Period in Athens represents what archaeologists refer to as an authoritative cultural standard, characterized by developments in philosophy, literature, the arts and sciences and democracy.

Athens was one of the world’s first democracies. Citizens (most free adult men, including both rich and poor) were expected to serve on juries and participate in civic life. A number of small objects used by the courts are displayed, including a pinakion (juror’s identification ticket); ballots (round bronze disks), for acquittal or conviction of the accused; court tokens used for paying juror’s fees; and wage tokens used to pay salaries of citizens who were chosen by lot to serve a public function.

The spirit of civic competition was evident in the inter-city Olympic Games held every four years. The graphic identification of this in the exhibition is a relief in marble, showing an athlete crowning himself from 460 B.C., considered a metaphor for democracy.

A copy of the famous Stele of Democracy (Law Against Tyranny) is on view—a decree from 337/336 B.C., which depicts the figure of Democracy crowning the enthroned Demos (the people).

With the victory of King Philip II over the Athenians in 338 B.C., Greek power shifted north to Macedonia. Philip was a patron of the arts and culture, and the portion of the show treating this period contains several of the most dramatic artifacts in the exhibition.

A marble statuette of Alexander the Great, achieving immortality as the woodland god Pan with horns, from the early Hellenistic Period (the period associated with the Greeks after Alexander’s conquests), is the finest piece of sculpture in the exhibition. Pan is usually depicted as a grotesque creature, part goat. But here, Alexander is the ideal of male beauty.

A spectacular gold enamel myrtle wreath, worn by Queen Meda, wife of Philip II, is described in the catalog as “one of the most remarkable gold objects of the ancient world.” The myrtle plant is associated with the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.

The exhibition concludes with the death of Alexander the Great and the spread of Hellenism throughout Asia Minor, the Near East, Egypt and India. Hellenistic civilization thrived in the third and second centuries B.C., until it was overwhelmed by Roman power.

After its loss of political dominance, Athens remained an important cultural center. Its schools of philosophy attracted students from throughout the Mediterranean region. Finally, the Byzantine (East Roman) Emperor Justinian, deeming the pagan teaching of philosophy too threatening to Christianity, forbade the teaching of philosophy in Athens in 529 A.D.

The ancient Greek myth of Prometheus, the titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind, a revolutionary act, was Karl Marx’s favorite. In Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, the father of dramatic tragedy, fire is the key to wisdom, ensuring humanity’s survival and the development of arts and industry. The brilliant craftsmanship and imaginative genius of the artifacts on display at the Field Museum bring out the reality the myth speaks to.

From the introductory film to the closing wall texts, the exhibition comments eloquently on the legacy of “eternal Greece,” which lives on within human culture as a whole.

Greece Demands IMF Explain ‘Disaster’ Remarks In Explosive Leak. A letter from Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras questions whether the country “can trust” the lender: here.

Tamir Rice, Laquan McDonald killed, whitewashers lose elections


This video from the USA says about itself:

Black Lives Matter Voters Oust Tamir Rice Prosecutor

16 March 2016

Mostly lost in the Democratic and Republican primary contests last night, there were other races that deserve attention. Two of the prosecutors involved in some of the most high-profile cases of police brutality in recent years have lost their primary re-election battles. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of the The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“On Tuesday night, two major Midwestern prosecutors lost their jobs after provoking nationwide rage with their handling of cases in which police officers killed unarmed young black people. In Illinois, the loser was Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez, who waited 13 months to bring charges against the Chicago police officer who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. In Ohio, it was Cuyahoga County district attorney Tim McGinty, who oversaw grand jury proceedings that led to no charges being filed against the officers responsible for the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Together the two results represent a major victory for the Black Lives Matter movement, whose organizers have now decisively demonstrated their ability to mobilize voters and change the direction of local politics. And while these two races were, technically, only Democratic primaries, the two candidates who won them are expected to take office with minimal or nonexistent opposition after the fall’s general election.”

Read more here.

Last Tuesday, the state’s attorneys in Cleveland and Chicago lost primary races to secure the Democratic Party’s nomination. The two prosecutors, Timothy McGinty of Cuyahoga County, Ohio and Anita Alvarez of Cook County, Illinois, had protected police from criminal charges in high profile killings. Both defeats were the result of widespread anger over police brutality: here.

Chicago, USA anti-racists stop Donald Trump rally


This video from the USA says about itself:

Thousands Shut Down Trump Rally in Chicago

11 March 2016

TRNN speaks to protesters who say they oppose Trump’s racist rhetoric that incites violence like that they witnessed on Friday.

Maria Hernandez, a 25-year-old community organizer, broke out into dance as a Trump campaign staffer announced that the rally had been canceled. “I’ve never been more proud of my city,” Hernandez told CNN. Hernandez, who came out to protest Trump, said the Republican front-runner’s immigration policies, as well as racial divisions in her city, pushed her to show up and protest Trump‘s planned event. “I’m protesting because I’m black and Mexican and I’m not sure where he wants to deport me to, but I deal with racism daily in Chicago and I’ve had enough,” she said: here.

Trump Supporter Who Punched Protester: ‘Next Time, We Might Have To Kill Him’: here.

The series of violent incidents at rallies for billionaire Donald Trump is a warning of the increasingly fascistic character of the Republican front-runner’s campaign: here.

US Elections 2016: Police use pepper spray on protesters outside Donald Trump rally in Kansas City: here.

Marco Rubio and other Republicans paved the way for Donald Trump’s ‘narrative of bitterness and anger’: here.