Bridgeport Cops vs The Occupiers

Bridgeport Cops vs the Occupiers

May 19, 2012, Chicago.  Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood has become the locus for the worst police abuses in the NATO protests so far.

Bridgeport is a neighborhood southwest of Downtown Chicago.  The two Mayor Daleys came from Bridgeport.  It is an area of old bungalows and apartments.  Rent is relatively cheap.  Lately, Bridgeport has become a place for groups of hip young arty kids to rent apartments at cheap prices. And the bonus is that Bridgeport could never be gentrified without leveling the whole place and starting new.

What’s been going on?

A car full of protesters drove in from out of town to stay with their friends in Bridgeport for the NATO protests. After making a 3-point turn, they were stopped by – Bridgeport Cops!   The Cops asked what they were doing and they said they were with Occupy Chicago coming to stay with their friends.  Big Mistake. They should have said they were (former) Mayor Daley's nephews coming to town to act wild.  The cops searched what they could in the car, harassed the protesters, and promised that it would be “like 1968,” they would get “a billy club to the back of the head.”  One of the Police officers threatened to harass the men during their stay.   

As luck would have it, someone in the car got this all on video. And the audio part, at least, is clear.   The video went right up on the internet and “68 – billy club to the back of the head” became an instant internet meme to describe the NATO protest police.  I never saw a video spread so fast. The video is below.

Next day, a FTP march was held, starting at a south side police station and winding through south side streets for many miles.  Who was at the helm?  Apparently some of the protesters who had been harassed the day before by the Bridgeport Cops.  What was the Chant?  “Cop stopped me and what did he say, 1968, Billy club to the back of the head.” (note: FTP stands for F--- the Police.)

Not to be outdone by Protesters, the Bridgeport Police struck back, raiding the apartment where the Out-of-Towners were staying.  The Bridgeport Cops came at 11:30 pm without a warrant.  They spent hours searching and interrogating.  The word is they arrested 9 people and held some in lockup in hand and leg shackles for many hours.  The police stole a beer-making kit from the apartment and claimed it was being used to make molotov cocktails. UPDATE SATURDAY: State's Attorney claims gasoline was  bought and molotov cocktails were made.  Defense says any such actions were done by undercover infiltrators.

Then to top it off, the Bridgeport Cops denied for 17 hours having these people in custody.

Then, not to be outdone by the Bridgeport Cops, a large group of protesters marched through the streets on the north side, literally through the streets.  Then a group went to hang out and sleep on the sidewalk outside the police station where the Protesters are being held.  At least 4 of those arrested were released with no charges.

Now the 3 men who were in the car are being charged with Conspiracy to Commit Terrorism and Providing Material Support to Terrorism and Possession of Explosive Materials.   HUGE criminal charges!

This will likely end out in a lawsuit where the Protesters get the last laugh and a few million dollars apiece.   Maybe the City should cut its losses and put the cops on leave and free the Protester kids? 

What the – what is wrong with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy that they do not end this farce asap?  Why are these Police not put on leave of absence?  Why are the Protesters still in Jail?  Why are City officials allowing a few poorly-behaved, illegally acting, harassing Bridgeport Cops to ruin the whole NATO summit and the City’s image? 

This whole thing is shocking.  THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING.  

UPDATE: SATURDAY MAY 19: The Bond hearing is at 12 noon at 2600 South California.

UPDATE 1 pm SATURDAY MAY 19: The 3 men held on $1.5 million bond each.  Click to watch State's attorney Press conference.