Partisan Defense Committee Letter

21 August 2008

Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013


Contact: Kevin Gilroy (212) 406-4252

Chicago Cops Arrest Eleven After Funeral
Drop All Charges!

We print below a protest sent by the Partisan Defense Committee to the Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine on August 21.

The Partisan Defense Committee vehemently protests the 25 July police assault on the mourners of Bennie Ross in the primarily black neighborhood of Englewood.

Following the funeral for Ross, a neighborhood youth, mourners gathered on the basketball court behind Henderson Elementary School. Residents have described an outrageous police provocation whereby police converged on the scene, desecrated a makeshift memorial for Mr. Ross, hurled racist insults and pushed black youth off the court. When neighborhood residents gathered to protest this assault, the police proceeded to attack the protesters, and arrested eleven people on bogus charges of “mob action.” Among those arrested were several known anti-police brutality activists, including Fred Hampton Jr., Chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee and son of Black Panther Fred Hampton slain by Chicago cops in 1969, as well as supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Activist Grant Newburger was subjected to a vicious beating by the cops.

On August 1, charges against five of the eleven were dismissed, but the prosecution still has the option to reinstate those charges. Frame-up misdemeanor charges of mob action remain against Hampton, Newburger, and activist Jeffrey Lyons as well as three juveniles. In a blatant attack on First Amendment rights, Newburger and Lyons face an additional and equally bogus charge of illegal use of a bullhorn.

Coming on the heels of a recent spike in police shootings this summer, the violent attack against the Englewood protesters poses a threat to black and working people and all of those who would raise their voices against racist cop terror. The bogus charges of mob action are nothing but a cover to alibi the unprovoked racist 25 July attack. We demand: Drop all the charges now!

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The PDC is a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization which champions cases and causes in the interest of the whole of the working people.  This purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League.