In a 48-1 vote, the Chicago City Council decided to move ahead with plans to purchase about 30 acres of land in West Garfield Park to build a new public safety training academy, despite impassioned pleas to reconsider from concerned citizens and one of the country’s biggest music stars.
Chance The Rapper was present for the vote today in at City Council and spoke against the funding of the police academy, which has been slated to cost roughly $95 million. Chance arrived at City Hall along with 40 members of ‘No Cop Academy Coalition’ which has formed in opposition to the academy.
In his remarks, Chance said, “”I’ve been asking for money for over a year now to fund these classrooms and on Fourth of July weekend they announce, in a cool finessing way, that they have $95 million, or that they are proposing to build a $95 million cop academy. … What else can I say? What is ya’ll doing?”
“Financially, this proposed plan doesn’t make sense. We don’t have $95 million. They’re just asking for $10 million today to purchase the land. But we don’t have the rest of the money to do it, so why let them go ahead with this right now? There’s a lot of different services that need to be funded.”
The Grammy Award-winner’s presence is nothing new for local politics either. His father, Ken, served both former President Barack Obama and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the 24-year-old artist has squared off with the likes of Governor Bruce Rauner, especially over funding for Chicago Public Schools.
Along with members of ‘No Cop Academy Coalition’ were a healthy contingent of the city’s progressively-minded contingent, including activist Andy Thayer, who have been pushing for aldermen to cancel plans to open the academy. While city officials believe the academy will bring increased training to an embattled police force that has come under fire from the Justice Department, many community members and activists believe that the cost of the high price tag could be better served in the school system or helping beleaguered sections of the city, like the growing homeless population which is facing a long winter.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times:
“Chance entered the council chambers surrounded by an entourage of assistants.
When a Chicago Sun-Times reporter tried to take his picture, the aides put their hands in front of the reporter’s cellphone camera. The reporter then asked the rapper if he had any problem with her taking his picture. Chance said he did. He said he wanted his privacy.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand for the start of the 30-minute public participation session, but left before Chance got his three minutes to unload. That was not lost on the Chicago-born rapper, whose father once served as a top aide to Emanuel.
“I guess the mayor had to step out when I came up. But … it’s cool because I’m here to talk to you,” Chance told the council.”
— Lil Chano From 79th (@chancetherapper) November 8, 2017