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For Immediate Release: April 11, 2024

In Chicago, Color Of Change Demands Justice for Dexter Reed, as the FOP Continues to Defend Police Brutality and Neglect Black Lives

CHICAGO- On April 9th, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) released body camera footage in reference to the police killing of Dexter Reed. The deadly encounter began as a traffic stop by Chicago Police, initiated because Mr. Reed allegedly was not wearing a seat belt. The encounter ended with 96 shots fired at Mr. Reed in the span of 46 seconds. Ahead of the body camera footage release, Andrea Kersten, chief administrator for COPA, penned a letter to Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent Larry Snelling expressing her “grave concerns about the officers’ ability to assess what is necessary, reasonable, and proportional use of deadly force” and, based on current evidence, “serious concerns about the validity of the traffic stop that led to the officers’ encounter with [Mr. Reed]” on March 21st.  Over the past 48 hours, Kersten has been met with FOP-fueled calls for resignation or immediate termination. In response, Color Of Change released the following statement from Queen Adesuyi, Policy Strategist at Color Of Change: 

“We are outraged that the police killing of a Black man has been manipulated by Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) as a political tool to disempower police accountability and transparency. The body camera footage of the March 21st killing of Dexter Reed clearly indicates potential profiling, immensely aggressive behavior from officers, and huge amounts of illegitimate deadly force. First and foremost, we mourn the loss of Dexter Reed’s life, this violence was avoidable and Mr. Reed’s death is yet another clear example of the brutal and racist culture of Chicago’s policing. 

Chief Administrator Kersten’s role in leading the Civilian Office of Police Accountability includes conducting thorough, objective investigations into alleged police misconduct, and representing civilian oversight over how police misconduct and abuse is addressed in Chicago. A traffic stop related to an unworn seatbelt that ended in 96 fatal shots in under a minute at a 26-year-old Black Chicagoan very clearly falls into the purview of Chief Administrator Kersten’s role. The FOP has gone on the offensive in calling for Chief Administrator Kersten’s exit from COPA, and the grounds for such removal are transparently manipulative as this case falls squarely into COPA’s scope of work. The FOP has continued to make it their reputation to defend police without exception, and the consequence of this ill-advised defense falls on the backs of Black Chicagoans who face disparate rates of police violence and abuse. While the FOP selfishly manipulates the police murder of another Black Chicagoan, Color Of Change commends Chief Administrator Kersten for her objective concerns and oversight over this case.  This can not be about ‘Protect the Blue’ Politics, this has to be about shifting the culture of policing to preserve Black lives and promote true public safety.”


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