Asian American Community Members Demand Accountability from the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Police Department in Jianqing Klyzek Case
CHICAGO-Over 100 Asian American community members gathered in Uptown on Saturday, June 7 in a Town Hall Forum to express their demands to representatives from the Mayor’s office, the Independent Police Review Authority, and the Chicago Police Department in response to the Jianqing Klyzek case. The case showcased disturbing verbal and physical abuse by Chicago police officers, including threatening Ms. Klyzek with deportation as they arrested her. The list of community demands included: a public statement from Mayor Emmanuel denouncing the conduct of the officers involved, discipline for the officers involved including the firing of the two abusive officers, amending the city’s sanctuary ordinance to prohibit any city employee from threatening deportation, collection and disclosure of data on complainants who are members of protected classes under the City of Chicago’s current discrimination ordinances, and the hiring of more Asian Americans police officers with the collection and disclosure of data on hiring related to race and bilingual ability and specific languages spoken.
The Forum opened with Mike Takada, CEO of the Japanese American Service Committee describing the Klyzek case as one that, “triggered recollections of my community’s experience from World War II…I felt anger, fear and sadness.” Community reactions from members of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment, and the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community illuminated the many ways this case reflects a more deep-seated institutional problem in the city. Sarah Macareg, co-chair of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum summarized what was an oft-repeated sense of frustration among the town hall speakers: “We should live in a city where no one is deemed disposable.”
Among the representatives from the Mayor’s office was Janey Rountree, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Safety. She shared a statement from Mayor Rahm Emmanuel in which he described the Chicago Police Department’s behavior in the Klyzek arrest as, “despicable, and do not reflect the values of hard working men and women in the Chicago Police Department.” In his statement, Mayor Emmanuel went on to renew his commitment to making Chicago “the most immigrant friendly city in the world.” Alderman Pawar and representatives from the Independent Police Review Authority, the Department of Internal Affairs, Chicago Police Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Public Engagement all attended and committed to working collaboratively with the Asian American community. The city representatives also fielded several questions from the audience. Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago executive director Tuyet Le closed the event by noting, “What this Forum has made clear is that we’re just at the beginning of a dialogue with city officials. Our community’s emotions are running high, because this is so personal.”