The Spark

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

Chicago:
Killed for carrying a container of sugar

Jun 20, 2005

On June 6, the Cook County medical examiner ruled the death of 74-year old Antonio Manrique last October in the Chicago suburb of Blue Island was a homicide, the result of his being beaten by two cops. The Cook County State's Attorney said there was "insufficient evidence to charge in this tragedy." The two cops had responded to a call to investigate gang graffiti. Instead they found a 74-year old man walking away who didn't respond to their call to stop. They tackled and beat him, resulting in broken ribs, cuts and bruises and a blood clot that traveled to his heart and lungs, killing him. Trying to justify this vile murder, the cops claimed Manrique had dropped a small container on the ground as they approached. Yes, he did – a box of sugar he had just bought at the store.

Following Manrique's death, there was a protest rally of more than 500 people. The Spanish language media has been widely covering the case, especially on talk radio.

After Manrique's death, twelve suits about police brutality in Blue Island were filed. Among the cases was one where the police applied a Taser electric shock to the groin of an epileptic man; another man was choked, beaten and had his wrist broken; and a third man had a loaded gun put against his head. In these three cases those attacked by the cops were never charged with a crime.

These cases reflect everyday reality in poor neighborhoods of Cook County – where the prosecutor gives cops a pass even for murdering elderly people.