The Chicago City Council on Friday approved funding for a proposal to build a police academy on the city's West Side. The proposal has sparked protests from residents angry about the $95 million price tag.
The 39-2 vote means council members have approved spending $28.8 million on the facility, marking the first step toward building what some have called a "progress" for some of the city's most violence-plagued neighborhoods.
“Our city needs it," said Ald. Emma Mitts of the 37th Ward. "Not only is it the right thing to do for safety, it’s the right thing to do for the West Side.”
Protestors flooded the meeting, shouting "Shut this down" and criticizing those in support of the academy. Critics argued the money for the training center would be better spent on education and job training programs.
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa was among the politicians to raise concerns on the vote, arguing that "black youth were denied their right to testify."
The rare Friday vote follows Mayor Rahm Emanuel's decision to halt Wednesday's council meeting and reconvene two days later, rather than wait until next month for a decision.