The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Blood Money for Police Violence

Dec 5, 2022

The City of Chicago paid out 25 million dollars to settle three lawsuits for police misconduct in September. This comes in addition to over 250 million dollars paid from 2018 to 2020 for excessive force, accidents, illegal searches.

The largest settlement, 15 million, is for the family of Guadeloupe Francisco Martinez, a 37-year-old mother of six. Martinez was coming home from work in June 2020, when she collided with a police SUV going nearly a hundred miles an hour through an intersection, killing her instantly. The police were chasing an alleged carjacker. They had been ordered to terminate the chase by supervisors, before they ran a red light. High speed chases often end badly—180 chases ended in accidents just in 2019.

City lawyers settled with Anjanette Young for 2.9 million dollars this summer. Police broke into Young’s apartment in February of 2019, serving a no-knock warrant. Young was naked; an all male police team paraded before her while rummaging around her house, until they realized their informant gave them bad information.

Mayor Lightfoot’s administration attempted to block the release of video from the raid. Young has spent years fighting the city—first of all just to bring the raid to light. She pushed a reform in City Council that would ban no-knock warrants, and would prohibit police from pointing guns at children. Lightfoot’s allies in the city council blocked that ordinance in the beginning of November.

The city paid the family of LaQuan McDonald 5 million dollars, months before video of his murder at the hands of police officer Jason Van Dyke was forced into the public eye.

These payouts are an admission of guilt by the city. The politicians who run Chicago pay victims some blood money, for some of the dirty work of the police that comes to light. But no change, no real reform ever takes place. That’s because the bourgeoisie needs the police to be brutal and unrestrained. The bourgeoisie rules over a brutally exploitative, racist society—they need police unfettered to impose their order.