Actor Danny Glover speaks at Loop rally calling for civilian oversight of police
“Your faces, your voices, your feet, your marching, your organizing is essential right now,” Glover told demonstrators.
Hollywood actor and political activist Danny Glover caught a red-eye from San Francisco Wednesday morning to appear at a rally outside the Thompson Center calling for civilian control over the Chicago Police Department.
“Your faces, your voices, your feet, your marching, your organizing is essential right now,” Glover, perhaps best known for his role in “Lethal Weapon,” told about 150 demonstrators. “We can only make this city be what it has to be, what it must be, by coming together.”
Glover praised the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance and elicited laughter after stumbling over the pronunciation of the word “ordinance” several times.
“Look here, it’s cold out here, and my mouth doesn’t work at this time in the morning,” he joked.
The ordinance would create a civilian oversight commission to bring accountability and community control to the police department, said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), a main proponent.
“We’ve seen that mayoral control of the police department has not worked,” he said. “We want democracy, we want proven accountability measures like giving civilian commissioners a real say over policy and the hiring policy of the police chief.”
The ordinance currently doesn’t have enough support to pass.
“We need to get to 34 votes for a veto-proof majority because we know the mayor’s not with us right now,” he said. Ramirez-Rosa declined to say how many aldermen support the measure, but added “if we only needed 26 we would have been able to pass it by now.”
Gus Newport, former mayor of Berkeley, California, also attended the rally that took place steps away from City Hall, where aldermen gathered Wednesday for the first in-person City Council meeting since the beginning of the pandemic.
“This ordinance you all have put forth is the greatest thing I’ve seen post the civil rights movement,” Newport said.
Gerald Reed, who spent decades in prison for a double murder that he says he confessed to after being tortured and framed by detectives working for disgraced Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, also attended.
“This ordinance is to make people understand: We got eyes on you. Somebody is watching you,” said Reed, who was released from prison earlier this month after Gov. J.B. Pritzker commuted his sentence.
“I sat in prison for 30 years, but did it break me? I’m here. ... We are powerful with numbers,” he said.
Frank Chapman, head of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, which helped organize the rally, said supporters of the ordinance would not fall into the trap of accepting crumbs instead of real change.
He pointed to the murder conviction Wednesday of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and those who might say “Be happy, be grateful” for the conviction.
“F--- that. We are not. We are not grateful,” he said. “We are coming out to fight today, tomorrow and until we get victory because we know that we can win.”