Protesters Take Part in ‘Defund the Police' Rally in Homan Square

Several groups including the Black Abolitionist Network, Black Lives Matter Chicago and Chi-Nations Youth Council took part in the rally

Members of several activists groups took part in rally Friday afternoon, calling for the defunding of the Chicago Police Department and the closure of the department's Homan Square facility.

The Black Abolitionist Network, Black Lives Matter Chicago, Chi-Nations Youth Council, #LetUsBreatheCollective and ChiResists were just some of the Black-led groups that took part in the protest.

The event began with speeches at around 3:30 p.m.and lasted several hours.

Activists said the protest comes in response to a "brutal police riot that left dozens of protesters injured and hospitalized."

Protesters also accused the CPD of disappearing "thousands of people at Homan Square, where they are interrogated and held for hours or days on end, tortured, and denied access to an attorney."

"Police officers are believed before citizens are believed," said Trina Reynolds-Tyler with the Black Abolitionist Network. "Not right."

In 2015, reports emerged comparing the center to the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. That same year, police denied allegations that suspects taken to the facility were beaten and denied access to their legal representation.

"Homan Square represents the torturous and militaristic nature of the Chicago Police Department,” said Damon Williams of the Black Abolitionist Network and the #LetUsBreatheCollective. “This horrific facility symbolizes how policing as a system is oppressive and abusive and should push us to demand new structures."

After at least 15 people were wounded following a shootout Tuesday at a funeral in Auburn Gresham, some activists said that incident showed police don't keep people safe.

Activists also accused Mayor Lori Lightfoot of empowering police to carry out military-style tactics of detainment, interrogation and torture at Homan Square.

"She wants you to believe she's investing proportionately in housing and other services. She's not," said Reynolds-Tyler. "She's inviting in police and policing... growing the number of incarcerated."

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