Thursday, February 16th, 2023
Chicago Police Department
Public Safety Headquarters Building
3510 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60653
Northwest side elected officials, community leaders, and public health experts express their concern over your recent statements.
Dear Superintendent Brown,
Last week, a 21-year old man was shot by police in Irving Park. Isidro Valverde was leaving a local bar and had an altercation just outside, where he pointed a gun at the security guard. The security guard was able to de-escalate the situation, Isidro left, and police were called. The police then pursued Isidro down an alley, where he was fatally shot. In the hours after the shooting, you reported that there was “an exchange of gunfire” between Isidro and the police officers. However, COPA - the agency charged with investigating police-involved shootings - has since released a statement saying that it has not, in fact, been determined that Valverde shot at police. What was shown in the footage from the body cameras is that Isidro was on the ground and attempting to get up when he was shot multiple times. As reported by CBS, this raises serious questions about the validity of your statements. COPA is continuing the investigation, working to take statements, and look for additional footage - their investigation is ongoing. Sadly, this has become a pattern. This incident mirrors a 2021 incident where you also claimed that shots were fired at officers, only to be later disproven by video surveillance.
In the aftermath of incidents like this, when communities are already struggling to make sense of the violence, it is unconscionable to intentionally spread misinformation before an investigation is complete and use the tragedy for political gain. When we have a violent incident in the community that involves loss of life, regardless of how it happened, we understand the importance of care and support. Loss of life causes a ripple effect in families and communities that can create destabilization and lead to more harm and violence. Your unsubstantiated statement not only threatens the credibility of police, which is already in a precarious state, it also creates a hostile environment for the family of the person lost and anyone trying to provide critical support to his loved ones and to interrupt cycles of violence.
We know that violence and crime are the result of many complex realities that stem from poverty, systemic racism, segregation and lack of investment and opportunities. We talk constantly about all that is needed in order to prevent violence in our communities, and when a situation like this happens we are left to our own devices without proper resources to provide care and support through fundraisers and volunteer work. But now, because of your reckless words and finger pointing, we also have to justify why we help people grieving a painful loss.
This reckless attempt to preemptively shape an institutional narrative violates the public trust and further inflames tensions. This latest incident merely refreshes and sharpens the conclusion that the Chicago Police Department, under your leadership, has squandered the public’s trust and points to one inescapable conclusion: you cannot be trusted to be honest with the people of the City, which makes you unfit to be the leader of the City’s law enforcement agency. Therefore, Superintendent Brown, we stand together in calling for your immediate resignation.
We call for your resignation in the hopes that we can move forward with open and honest communications with each other about how to solve the violence in our communities. We know that violence is a cycle, which is why we applaud and support the work of organizations that offer care to the families of those lost and interrupt the cycles of violence in a direct and honest way. We must have community partners committed to addressing incidents like this in an honest way that does not spread misinformation and who are committed to doing the work to fully investigate the facts before making any determinations.
We are committed to doing the work to addressing violence and building safe, caring, and trusting communities. Superintendent Brown, we call on you to resign and we call for a replacement who is equally committed to doing this work with and for us.
Ald. Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez, 33rd Ward
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward
State Senator Cristina Paccione-Zayas, 20th District
State Representative Lilian Jimenez, 4th District
Cook County Commissioner Anthony Joel Quezada, 8th District
33rd Ward Working Families
United Neighbors of the 35th Ward
Dr. Arturo Carillo
Collaborative for Community Wellness
Physician, Psychoanalyst, and Anthropologist of Law and Public Health
Elena Gormley, MSW
Social Worker and DV Service Provider Trainer