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Foundation calls on CPD board to enforce officer's suspension
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2019-09-26

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Lighthouse Foundation ( LF ) Board President Rev. Jamie Frazier called for Chicago Police Department ( CPD ) officer and Walsh Security owner Thomas Walsh Sr. to serve his 60-day suspension, of which he has appealed, during the Sept. 19 public comments section of the police board's monthly public meeting at the Chicago Public Safety Headquarters.

Civilian Office of Police Accountability Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts, Chicago Police Board ( CPB ) President Ghian Foreman, CPB Vice President Paula Wolff, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson and all of the board members were in attendance.

At the meeting, Frazier spoke about LF's mission "to advance justice for Black LGBTQ+ people across Chicagoland through empowerment, education and entertainment."

Frazier said the police board should enforce the suspension that former CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy called for in 2015 after a two year investigation into Walsh's behavior.

"On Nov. 29, 2013, while off duty, Officer Walsh physically assaulted a Black security guard named James Matthews at Lucky Horseshoe," said Frazier in his statement. "In [Independent Police Review Authority] IPRA's thorough 2015 summary report they sustained allegation number one for Officer Walsh. They affirmed that Walsh, quote, 'engaged in an unjustified physical altercation when he pushed James Matthews to the floor, causing an injury to his rotator cuff.'

"IPRA also sustained allegation number two for Walsh in that he used, quote, 'profanity and racially motivated language towards James Matthews.' IPRA found that Walsh said to Matthews words to the effect of quote, 'Fucking [N-word]. Don't you ever put your fucking hands on me. Who the fuck do you think you are, you fucking [N-word]?' and 'Get that fucking [N-word] away from me.'"

Frazier further said, "I urge you in this moment to get justice for James Matthews by bringing Walsh to justice."

Root and Branch Church of Logan Square Co-Pastor Virginia White and Hyde Park Union Church Co-Pastor Sarah Lusche also spoke out in favor of enforcing Walsh's 60 day suspension at the meeting. No one spoke out against it.

White said her congregation stands "boldly for justice, loving wildly and indiscriminately" and that police board members were also charged with upholding justice. She said police officers should be allies in the fight for justice; however this is not the case due to the violence a number of CPD officers have committed against people of color like Matthews.

"This is why we cannot afford to let his unacceptable and shameful actions go undressed," said White. "As long as these allegations sustained against him languish in appeals we all lose."

White added that honoring McCarthy's 60 day suspension recommendation would restore some trust in the CPD.

"Let's do something and let's do it now," said White.

Following White's remarks, Foreman asked Johnson about the case and Johnson said "sorry this is the first time I am hearing about it and we will look into it."

Lusche spoke about her congregation's affirming policies and its long history of working for equity in Chicago. She said her church believes in extending its faith beyond their building to fight for justice and that includes asking that Walsh's suspension go into effect. Lusche added that as a citizen of Chicago and pastor in the city she is appalled that Walsh "has yet to face repercussions for his actions."

"I love this city and I have been called to serve the people of this city as best as I can," said Lusche. "I believe that Chicago can and should be a place where all people are valued and … can flourish. Yet this vision cannot be realized if blatantly violent and racist behavior remains unchecked."

Lusche also told the board and attendees the case log number is 1066452.

Prior to Frazier, White and Lusche's remarks, Foreman expressed displeasure with Johnson for his failure to present an oral report about CPD's actions to the public at the meeting.

After the meeting, Frazier told this publication that CPB Executive Director Max Caproni gave him his card and would be in touch with him to discuss this matter further.

Frazier first spoke publicly about Walsh at a racial justice summit he spearheaded this past July 13 at Lincoln Park's St. Pauls UCC. At the summit, Frazier called on the Center on Halsted ( the Center ) to retract Walsh Security's contract due to Walsh's yet to be served suspension in light of the IPRA's findings.

At an Aug. 10 community meeting Frazier announced that LF and its Coalition of Allies for Racial Equality arm would focus on the Center's CEO, Modesto "Tico" Valle, because he has the power to rescind Walsh Security's contract, of which he has not.

On Sept. 3, LF sent Valle a letter, signed by a host of community leaders and others that detailed LF's concerns about his leadership and the Center's relationship with Walsh Security.

Since then, LF has received a letter from Valle that stated, in part, "I will send dates at a later time to arrange a meeting for you and two of your leadership to meet with myself, the Center's board chair and a representative from the Center."

Frazier told this publication that he sent an email response on Sept. 20 to Valle expressing his dismay that a firm meeting date with the Center was not offered in their letter.

To view the Sept. 3 letter, visit docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScHzhto5JTHOhp8oseB-JJOXx6wDpT-A4CgV7jmdjewQjpsnA/viewform .

See www.facebook.com/lightfoundchi .


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