When the United Nations Committee Against Torture convened for its quadrennial hearings last November, the voices of Chicago activists were loud and clear. Several groups with local connections traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to present evidence on police torture to UNCAT. Among them was We Charge Genocide, a volunteer-run grassroots organization that sent eight youth delegates to present evidence from its 2014 report “Police Violence Against Chicago’s Youth of Color.” When representatives from the U.S. government testified that police Tasers are neither lethal nor improperly used, the WCG delegates staged a silent protest to honor the memory of 23-year-old Dominique Franklin Jr., who fell into a coma after a Chicago police officer Tased him during a May 2014 arrest; he died two weeks later. WCG’s message was heard: in its review of the U.S. government’s compliance with the United Nations Convention on Torture, UNCAT expressed specific concern with reported police violence in Chicago and, citing Franklin’s death, with police use of Tasers. The group also holds Know Your Rights workshops and CopWatch teach-ins and supports other local organizing efforts, like the final push to secure passage of the city’s reparations package for survivors of police torture under former CPD commander Jon Burge.
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