Chicago: People Denouce Police Intimidation in Mearday Case

Revolutionary Worker #934, November 30, 1997

On November 7, nearly 200 white police officers forced Jeremiah Mearday and his attorneys to walk a gauntlet of intimidation in a Chicago courtroom. This gestapo display--which was tolerated by the presiding judge--has been met by protest and outrage. And supporters of Mearday are pledged to march on Cook County courthouse on December 3--when Mearday is scheduled for another court appearance.

A statement from the Chicago October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation on the police action in court said: "We condemn and urge all others to condemn the Fraternal Order of Police for their ugly intimidation rally at the November 7th Court hearing of Jeremiah Mearday. Not content that Jeremiah Mearday's teeth were smashed into the roof of his mouth, the racist thugs of the F.O.P. came to Court to further punish Jeremiah and his family for daring to stand up to them.... Through their gestapo tactics they aim to send out a message of intimidation and fear to all the victims of police abuse and their families. This is a desperate move to turn the tables at a time when a growing number of victims are bravely speaking out and the resistance is growing. The F.O.P.'s strong-arm tactics are an attack on the whole movement against police brutality and on all who care about freedom and justice in Chicago.... At the October 27 meeting of the Chicago Coalition Against Police Brutality, attorney Stan Willis [Chicago Council of Black Lawyers] gave this advice to our movement: If you're not ready to stand up against police retaliation, then you better go home or take up another issue. The F.O.P.'s actions are a challenge and a test for our growing movement. We are not going home--we have just begun to fight! Many ordinary people throughout Chicago were shocked by the F.O.P.'s lynch mob rally. These people must be challenged to join the struggle for justice."

As readers of the RW know, on September 26 on a West Side Chicago street, two white police officers stopped Jeremiah Mearday on his way to the drugstore to get medication for an allergic reaction. With guns drawn they told him to "get up against the wall n****r." When Jeremiah questioned why he was being confronted with drawn weapons, they beat him with a flashlight. "I didn't know my son," Jeremiah's father said when he went to the hospital. "He was a bloody mess. He had two holes knocked in the top of his head, his five front upper teeth along with the gum, severed, and a broken jaw. They stomped him in his stomach and there was trauma to his back."

Protest against this beating resulted in the suspension of the two cops and a recommendation from Superintendent Matt Rodriquez (who has now been forced to resign) that the offending officers be fired. But Mearday himself is now standing trial--accused of battery and resisting arrest by the officers who brutalized him!

In response to this outrageous situation, the Chicago Committee Against Police Brutality, which has been active around the Mearday case, has called for a march and rally on the morning of Jeremiah's next hearing. Organizers expect participation from a broad range of forces, including Teamsters Union Local 743, the state-wide branch of the NAACP, "a growing group of ministers from various denominations across the city," and several state congressional representatives. A Bilingual Latino Unity Service is being called at the Adalberto United Methodist Church on Sunday, November 30 at 4:00 p.m. and a prayer vigil/community meeting is also being called for 7:00 p.m., the night of Wednesday December 3 at Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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