Write for Rights 2014 Case # 9 & 10: Police Brutality & Gun Violence in Chicago

Join Amnesty Int’l Pittsburgh tonight from 6-9 pm at Calvary Episcopal Church at Shady & Walnut for our 28th annual Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival. In addition to attempting to reach our goal of 1,000 letters for this year’s human rights cases, we will have Mayor Peduto as a special guest, along with a performance by artist Vanessa German.  City Council Proclamation and Candlelight Ceremony at 7 pm, with a special presentation acknowledging the 43 missing Mexican students afterwards.
Food & drink and all materials provided – just bring yourself!


Write for Rights 2014

Case # 9 & 10 – Police Brutality and Gun Violence in Chicago:
Darrell Cannon & Anthony Holmes
Hadiya Pendleton

Darrell Cannon & Anthony Holmes
Between 1972 and 1991, Chicago police under the direction of former Commander Jon Burge systematically tortured more than 100 people of color on Chicago’s South Side. Darrell Cannon and Anthony Holmes are just two of the survivors of Burge’s legacy of racist torture.
In May of 1972, Burge and his fellow officers repeatedly shocked Anthony with an electric shock box referred to by the detectives as the “ni**er box.” They wrapped the wires around his shackles while suffocating him with a plastic bag. Anthony passed out from the pain. When he regained consciousness, Anthony confessed to a murder he did not commit. His confession kept him behind bars for thirty years.
On November 2, 1983, three Chicago Police Department detectives tortured Darrell at a remote site on Chicago’s South Side. They pressed a cattle prod to his testicles and put it into his mouth. The officers attempted to lift him off the ground by handcuffs behind his back. They repeatedly made him believe that they had loaded a shotgun and rammed in into his mouth, pulling the trigger which, at each click, made him think his head was about to be blown off. Like Anthony, Darrell falsely confessed – and spent 24 years in prison on the basis of his confession.
Neither Burge nor any of the detectives under his command have been prosecuted for torture. Not one of the torture survivors have received the reparations (financial compensation, psychological counseling, vocational training) needed to make them whole, as required by international law. Now, the Chicago City council can finally address this ugly chapter in the City’s history by passing the Reparations Ordinance for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors. Help us put pressure on the Chicago authorities – the time to act is now!
Hadiya Pendleton
Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed at the age of 15. She is one of over 11,000 victims of firearm-related homicides in the United States every year.
On January 29, 2013, just after finishing her final exams, sophomore Hadiya Pendleton went to Chicago’s Vivian Gordon Harsh Park with her friends. Soon after their arrival, an assailant opened fire on the group. Hadiya was shot in the back and died from her wounds a short time later. The men accused of firing at the teens reportedly mistook the group as for a rival gang.
Hadiya was an Honors student, a volleyball player, an avid reader, a dreamer. The week before her death, as a baton-twirling majorette in her school’s marching band, she visited Washington, D.C. to participate in several events in honor of Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration. In the wake of this tragedy, her parents Nate and Cleo Pendleton have founded Hadiya’s Promise. The non-profit focuses on addressing gun violence and those who are often the perpetrators of gun violence – disaffected youth.
In 2015, Amnesty International will launch a campaign to end gun violence in the United States. The Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act (“Youth PROMISE Act”) will fund, implement, and evaluate evidence-based, locally controlled youth and gang violence prevention and intervention programs. By addressing the root causes of gun violence we can help ensure that young people like Hadiya will make it home from school safe and live out the promise of their dreams.