Sunday, November 09, 2008

Off duty Chicago Police Accused of Election Night Hate Crimes

As Christina Ballard and Cornelius Voss were on their way home after celebrating Barack Obama's victory, on election day, three youngsters in the back of their car rolled down the window cheering, and calling out Obama's name.

Three unmarked police cars reportedly pulled up beside them, and are said to have pepper sprayed the youngsters. The officers are accused of having used racial epithets, and shouted out "white power," while spraying the children.

When the family tried to file a police report, immediately after the incident, they were given the runaround, so the next day, the only recourse they had was to report the incident to the Independent Police Review Authority for redress.

A spokesperson for the IPRA would say only that they're looking into these accusations, and that there were "multiple allegations" of law enforcement spraying civilians that historic night, one estimate suggests that there may have been dozens of incidents.

The mainstream media, for the most part, has dropped the ball on this story which appears in The Chicago Sun-Times, as well as on a few local radio stations. The family who took their hate crime claim to the IPRA is also filing a federal lawsuit. Their claim, and others like it, must be addressed expeditiously, and there must be swift consequences.

The actions of these officers who, ironically, hail from President-elect Obama's home district are tantamount to hate crimes, must be widely publicized, and universally condemned.