Black People Against Police Torture: The Importance of Building a People-Centered Human Rights Movement
On May 6, 2015, the Chicago City Council adopted legislation that formally sought to repair the damage wrought by a decades-long pattern of police torture. After months of careful negotiations between City Hall and the advocates for torture survivors, the council unanimously passed a package of laws providing for both financial and nonfinancial compensation, or reparations, for torture survivors and their families.
Drawing on the successful passage of this reparations legislation, this chapter identifies the intervention of the grassroots group Black People Against Police Torture (BPAPT) as pivotal in overcoming entrenched pro–law enforcement opposition to demands for accountability and redress. In particular, this article argues that the crucial contribution of BPAPT was its adoption of a strategic approach to international human rights law and institutions that prompted subsequent breakthroughs at the local, state, and federal level.