Evanston Fight for Black Lives decries police violence in statement about Saturday NUCNC protest


Daily file photo by Binah Schatsky

Armed NIPAS officers at an NU Community Not Cops protest. Human Services Committee members discussed the city’s relationship with NIPAS in a Monday meeting.

Jacob Fulton, City Editor

After law enforcement deployed chemical ammunition, including pepper spray, and arrested a Northwestern student at a Saturday protest, local activist organization Evanston Fight for Black Lives issued a statement Monday condemning police violence and the tactics used by Evanston Police Department and Illinois crowd control.

The group, which said it has not yet been in contact with organizers from NU Community Not Cops, shares a similar goal: police abolition. Organizers from EFBL wrote in the release that the violence enacted by law enforcement and the actions of protesters were held to “different standards.”

“When EPD and NUPD used violence against protesters last night, they upheld the systems that Northwestern Community Not Cops sought to abolish — the marginalization of Black Evanston residents by the policing system,” organizers wrote. “The resistance of protesters at the march was in response to centuries of anti-Black violence. When communities are oppressed by state violence, the natural impulse is to resist.”

During the Saturday protest, protesters tagged University buildings with anti-cop phrases and broke windows at Whole Foods Market. The property damage, along with alleged reports of “physical attacks against police officers,” were what prompted police escalation, according to an EPD news release, though accounts from protesters contradict EPD’s statement.

EFBL organizers wrote that the equation of property violence with violence against protesters is a false equivalency, and shouldn’t be used as reasoning for the escalation or as a way to “delegitimize” the protest.

“This situation also sheds light on the training these officers lack, and the changes that need to be implemented to ensure that residents and students in Evanston can safely stand for what they believe in,” they wrote. “The only way to make these changes is to defund EPD and NUPD and eventually abolish them in favor of true community safety.”

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