Citizens’ Network of Protection welcomes new board members, Kevin Brown, Nick Korzeniowski, Darlene Cannon

Citizens’ Network of Protection welcomes new board members, Kevin Brown, Nick Korzeniowski, Darlene Cannon along with numerous volunteers that have been working with us in reaching our goals include promoting racial and economic justice within the legal system, preventing government overreach and abuse in the area of law enforcement, and upholding civil rights within the community.

We see the mission work being carried out on a regular basis in educating the residents of their rights and exercising their rights and reaching the goal of putting in place the civilian police oversight board of accountability and  transparency.

We are proud of the mission statement that has evolved in 2008, 2013 and the one below 2016.


CITIZENS NETWORK OF PROTECTION MISSION STATEMENT

The Citizens Network of Protection (CNP) shall have as its primary purpose to establish a system to provide a shield for all citizens, with particular emphasis upon citizens of Black and Latino descent, from harassment maltreatment, physical harm and other forms of police misconduct.

 To accomplish these ends the CNP shall establish educational programs and prepare materials to inform all citizens of their rights under the law. Since the origin of police misconduct occurs during routine stops for traffic or similar actions by peace officers, CNP will develop and distribute educational materials that will instruct citizens on how to handle themselves when detained by law enforcement officers.

 CNP shall strive unceasingly to establish an independent civilian police review board to investigate complaints of citizens against police or other law enforcement officers.  CNP shall work to secure powers to recommend sanctions for any and all officers of the law who violate the rights of the citizens whom they are sworn to serve and protect.  Until such a board is established CNP shall function as an advocate for citizens who complain of police misconduct and do all within its power to obtain redress of the grievances of complaining citizens.

 The short-term goal of CNP is to ensure that all citizens have an advocate when police illegally or unjustly violate citizens’ rights.  The long-term goal of CNP is to establish a level of trust among all citizens and law enforcement officers, so that there will be law and order in our community.

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Overwhelming police presence used to intimidate Northwestern University protest

On Monday night a large police force was deployed to downtown Evanston, Illinois, to intimidate and suppress a demonstration by a small group of students from nearby Northwestern University (NU).

The students were calling for the abolition of Northwestern’s police department.

The protest was organized by a group of students known as NU Community Not Cops, which has been leading calls for the abolition of the university’s police department since the summer. The group planned to march from the campus to the downtown area to read statements speaking out against police violence.

As they made their way to their destination, students were surrounded and corralled by armed police in riot gear and shields. The Daily Northwestern reported that protesters were threatened with arrest if any of them stepped off the sidewalk into the street.

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Evanston Fight for Black Lives decries police violence in statement about Saturday NUCNC protest

After law enforcement deployed chemical ammunition, including pepper spray, and arrested a Northwestern student at a Saturday protest, local activist organization Evanston Fight for Black Lives issued a statement Monday condemning police violence and the tactics used by Evanston Police Department and Illinois crowd control.

The group, which said it has not yet been in contact with organizers from NU Community Not Cops, shares a similar goal: police abolition. Organizers from EFBL wrote in the release that the violence enacted by law enforcement and the actions of protesters were held to “different standards.”

“When EPD and NUPD used violence against protesters last night, they upheld the systems that Northwestern Community Not Cops sought to abolish — the marginalization of Black Evanston residents by the policing system,” organizers wrote. “The resistance of protesters at the march was in response to centuries of anti-Black violence. When communities are oppressed by state violence, the natural impulse is to resist.”

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Police Chief Defends Handling of NU Protests

Evanston Police Chief Demitrous  Cook spoke in support at a Nov. 2 City meeting of his decision to bring in outside assistance to help quell a demonstration in downtown Evanston on Halloween Night, Oct. 31, in which officers had to use pepper spray to subdue some protesters.

Responding to questions at the Human Services Committee meeting, Chief Cook said police turned to the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS) mobile unit for help at the scene, because they needed additional manpower.

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An Open Letter to Mayor Hagerty from Citizens Network of Protection

Mayor Hagerty, we understand that you met with over 300 mayors across the country in June of this year and talked about policing’s good and evil and agree on pledges that you feel will address the problems with the policemen and the citizens in our community. It is good that you are pulling plans and pledge together to change some of your police department’s policies.  But you did not include the groups suffering at the hands of the policemen. It is terrible that you and your fellow mayors came back home and did not share this information with the group of citizens who suffered the most at the hand of your policemen’s hand. You sat down with individuals like you and one or two people from a class that closely resembles what you see as proper and the right people of color or low-income white people.

You, Mayor Hagerty, are not addressing the people directly affected by the BAD police behaviors.  Mayor Hagerty, when will you schedule the meeting with the Black, Hispanic, Asian,  and all other minorities in the community to get their input on the issues that face them.     We purchase the policemen’s services by the taxes we paid on the property we use (own or rent). It seems that you, Mayor Hagerty, are only concerned with the plan that you put forth in the community as a whole, but you are not addressing the low-income and minority people in the city.  When will you address the issues for those residents that were left out?

The continued use of stop and frisk, harassment, the overuse of the “NO KNOCK WARRANT,” the use of reasonable suspicion, the use of force, and “I was afraid for my life.”  Did you and your fellow mayors ever examine the evidence to see if the policemen were in danger of losing his/her life?  So, until you sit down with the group that suffers the most from the policemen’s actions, nothing will change, and the Black Lives Matter sign posted in the yard is to make you feel good so as not to deal with the problem. To make changes, you have to speak out about what you think and know to be wrong, and you cannot stand with any of the other mayors’ agreements and pledges as they do not address the inequities of treatment of the Black and brown people.


So, Mayor Hagerty, when can we (the constituents) who are affected the most, have a meeting with you and the Evanston Police Department to discuss the issues that affect us the most

Betty Sue Ester
President/Co-Founder
Citizens Network of Protection
Betty@CitizensNetworkofProtecion.com

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Comment on Instagram post has Evanston activists calling for stricter social media policy for police officers

A group of Evanston activists say they believe a member of the Evanston Police Department made disparaging comments on an Instagram post of the local DefundEPD group, an action they say highlights the need for a stronger social media policy.

The officer’s alleged comments on the July 6 post drew comparisons between Evanston and the recent unrest in Minneapolis and shared a link deriding the Black Lives Matter movement. The activists say they believe the incident highlights the need for the city to develop a formal social media policy that addresses behavior on employees’ personal accounts.

The group says the need for a more definitive policy was also highlighted by an incident earlier this year when Chief Demitrous Cook posted on his Snapchat account about 30 mug shots from arrests that happened years ago and one man’s alleged HIV status. At the time, Cook said the post was an accident, and was a result of using the camera feature on Snapchat as opposed to others available on his phone.

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Rooting Out Systemic Racism in Evanston

The Citizens’ Network of Protection is committed to rooting out systemic racism in Evanston. One system, or institution, where reforms have failed to adequately address this issue is policing.  The institution of policing in Evanston has not been an exception to the rule. Black and Brown people in Evanston have felt the blow of discriminatory police practices for decades and decades with no relief.  Meanwhile, the Evanston Police Department budget has soared over the last 10 years, nearly doubling from 2009, and now accounting for nearly 34% of the City of Evanston general fund. The Citizens’ Network of Protection is here to help answer two fundamental questions that are critical to protecting the lives of Black and Brown people in Evanston and upending the systemic racism that is embedded in our culture and institutions.

Question #1 – What can white people do?

Organizations across this country, such as Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ), have long been working on helping white people answer that question. The Citizens’ Network of Protection urges white people to read these five recommendations and put forth by SURJ  and apply them to your life and community.  The recommendations are outlined below, but please take the time to read the meaning and explanation behind each one. The full article can be found at: https://medium.com/@surj_action/5-ways-white-people-can-take-action-in-response-to-white-and-state-sanctioned-violence-2bb907ba5277 5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence by Showing Up For Racial Justice

  1. Come out as anti-racist and invite others to join you.
  2. Join fights to defund the police. 
  3. Make a commitment to “organize your own” for the long haul.
  4. Focus on building our numbers, not being right.
  5. Help resource the work of Black-led groups that are fighting for police accountability and abolition.

Question #2 – What are alternatives to calling the police?

Steps to Ask Yourself

  1. Is this merely an inconvenience to me? > Can I put up with this and be okay? If the answer is yes, then do not call the police or go chasing the individual where you inflict bodily harm on him/her/them.
  2. No, I need to respond > Can I handle this on my own, is this something I could try to talk-out with the person? Ask yourself, did you see the person do something wrong or are people in harm’s way? Before you chase or call the police on the Black individual, remember that people have the right to walk or go where they please on public property.
  3. No, I need back-up > Is there a friend, neighbor, or someone whom I could call to help me?  
  4. No, I need a professional > Can we use mediation to talk through what’s happening or is there an emergency response hotline I could call that does not involve police interaction? 
  5. No,> If I call the police do I understand how involving the police could impact me and the other person? If police are present do you know what to do? If yes, collect information as to what the individual looks like and where he/she/they went and relate this to the police. Say you decide you need to interact with police. Let’s discuss how you can minimize harm. Can you go to the police station with photos instead of bringing the police to your neighborhood?

Inviting police into your community may be putting people in your neighborhood at risk.

Reading Lists to Keep Learning! 

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EPD phases out Stop and Frisk policy, but advocates say pat down data shows racial disparity

The Evanston Police Department has phased out its stop and frisk policy, Evanston Police Cmdr. Brian Henry said, but police accountability advocates said EPD’s data shows racial disparities in pat downs.

In 2013, former police chief Richard Eddington announced the expansion of stop-and-frisk tactics to address gun violence, the Daily reported. Henry said the practice is no longer used under chief Demitrous Cook, who was sworn in January 2019.

However, Evanston police officers can conduct “investigative stops,” according to the city website, which means officers can stop someone if they have reasonable suspicion a person “is commiting, is about to commit or has committed a crime.”

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Evanston Man Sues Police Chief, City Over ‘HIV’ Social Media Post

VANSTON, IL — One of the dozens of men whose images, birthdays and addresses were publicly posted to a personal social media account of Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Sunday against the city, the police department and the chief, in both his personal and official capacity.

Kevin Logan’s personal information was annotated with handwritten notes saying, “Pending” and “HIV” in screenshots of the chief’s since-deleted post. Notes next to other booking photographs included “DOA [dead on arrival]” and “In custody.”

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Chief Demitrous Cook’s Improper Social Media Use

On Tuesday, February 18,  Citizens Network of Protection learned that Evanston Police Chief Demitrous Cook posted out-of-date Evanston Police booking photographs of living and deceased residents to the public page of his personal snapchat account. 

This is a type of public shaming of residents who may only have been charged with but not convicted of a crime and is an abuse of community trust to imply guilt before trial.   This publication also included a juvenile whose conviction has been expunged.

When we reached out to the Evanston Police department earlier this week to ask if they have a social media policy, they said no. When we asked if they follow the United States Department of Justice national guidelines on social media use, they said no.

Today, Police Chief Demitrous Cook held a press conference to explain why he posted these photos on a public forum and to apologize for his actions. (The names and faces below were blurred by Citizens Network of Protection, not by Evanston Police Department/Chief Cook).

While we respect his attempt to bring some transparency to the matter the City did not post the event on its website or social media accounts and therefore the public was not aware of this press conference and we could not participate. 

We are particularly concerned with his claim that “this was done so he could capture a high-resolution image of these photos for his own personal research into these cases.” He incorrectly claimed that “Snapchat takes higher-resolution photos than his own smartphone’s camera.” Actually, Snapchat photo quality is significantly lower than the smartphone’s native camera app. A quick Google search will show you that this is common knowledge. 

We disagree with this assessment and question Chief Cook’s explanation of how and why the photos ended up posted on Snapchat.

In addition to answering these questions about this post by Chief Cook, the Evanston Police Department clearly needs to develop a strong social media policy and train its members. 

-CNP Board

 

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