Editor’s Note: This terrific letter was not written by me. But I agree with each and every word and was happy to attach DBB to its message.
8 June 2020
To Virginia McCaskey, George McCaskey, Ted Phillips and the Chicago Bears organization,
As lifelong Bears fans and members of the Bears community, we read the statement your franchise issued June 1 regarding the police murder of George Floyd, and we appreciate the organization’s identification of white supremacy and bad policing in Floyd’s immoral death.
Now it is time for you to say more.
George McCaskey wrote in his statement that following George Floyd’s murder, “we are witnessing the anger and frustration play out in protests across the nation, including Chicago.” He talked about addressing the murder in team meetings, and continuing the organization’s support of four Chicago community groups.
These are wonderful commitments. And listening to Akiem Hicks speak about those team meetings, which he said created “healing” in the locker room and “changed my perspective on life,” it sounds like they hit their mark for many of the players.
But a sports franchise’s statement needs to hit its mark with the public with the same tangible strength.
The images and stories of police violence in Chicago this past week — against protesters, press and passerby — are horrific, yet not surprising. As Mayor Lightfoot noted, Chicago has a deep history of police violence, specifically against Black people. In the past week, we’ve seen an officer running over a 16-year-old girl in Roseland, officers shoving, brawling and clubbing protesters, and officers pepper spraying reporters.
Then there were the officers who dragged a woman from her car Sunday afternoon in a mall parking lot, where she was shopping with friends, and beat her, kneeling on her neck.
Since protests in Chicago over Floyd’s killing began Friday, May 29, 344 complaints have been made against the Chicago Police Department, according to the head of the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, for excessive force, denial of counsel, improper search and seizure and verbal abuse.
Incredibly, one of those complaints is from Ghian Foreman, president of the Chicago Police Board, the independent civilian-led board that decides disciplinary cases involving police. Foreman’s complaint alleges that officers struck his legs with batons at least five times while he marched on 47th Street to protest police brutality.