Amid Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plans to funnel $95 million into improving training for Chicago police, student activists were joined by Parkland shooting survivors and family members of a recent shooting victim in protesting gun violence at a press conference Monday.
About 20 student members of anti-violence organizations Good Kids Mad City and March for Our Lives Chicago gathered at City Hall to speak against proposed plans for a new police training academy on the West Side — a movement branded on social media as “#NoCopAcademy.”
Willie Round, a local musician and student mentor, called the proposed academy a “slap to our face and to our communities.”
The money “should be invested into our communities and invested into our children,” Round said, adding that it would be much better directed toward schools being shut down and overpopulated in the same area. “If this mayor really wanted to help us, the $95 million would be directed somewhere else,” he said.
The press conference followed the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Maurice Granton Jr. during a foot chase in Bronzeville on Wednesday.
After Chicago police officials said Granton had pulled a gun during a narcotics investigation, family members claimed they did not believe he was armed. The day after the shooting, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted a surveillance video that he said shows Granton was holding a semi-automatic handgun.
At the press conference, family members affirmed their earlier statements that they believe Granton was unarmed.
“We know he wasn’t armed because he wasn’t that kind of man,” said Latayshia Shaw, mother of Granton’s two children. “He has a reason to come home. So why would he want to risk his life when he has two young kids to raise?”
Shaw described Granton as a “terrific father” and a “family man.”
Two students from Parkland, Florida, where 17 students were killed in a shooting earlier this year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, also joined the chorus of opposition against gun violence.
“On February 14, 17 people died at our school, but what happened at our school is not unique,” Alex Wind said. “Because February 14 is an everyday problem in this city.”