While the Chicago Police Department has received local and national praise for their handling of protester conflicts during the three-day NATO Summit, activists with Occupy Chicago say they were mistreated by officers and have promised to take to the streets unless they're financially compensated for injuries and resultant lost income.
Occupy protesters say police were unnecessarily violent during conflicts, causing both physical and emotional pain that required medical attention, which they say the city was unable to provide due to the recent closures of six of the city's 12 mental health facilities that have left local hospitals overrun with patients.
"The Chicago Police Department brutalized our bodies and minds at the NATO protests," the group wrote on a Facebook event calling for a rally. "Tell those who brutalized us, the peaceful protesters, that they owe us for lost income, lost stability, and for our treatment costs for the trauma they inflicted upon us."
In addition to "pass[ing] a hat for bail money for the NATO 5 and all other protesters still being held," the protesters want to ask City Hall for reimbursement, according to the post.
At least 90 people were arrested in the day leading up to and during the summit, not including dozens who were released without being processed, according to police. The "NATO 5" are five men facing terrorism charges in two separate incidents.
Cathy Sugar Russell, an Occupy spokesperson, told the Chicago Sun-Times that at least 70 protesters were injured and others were experiencing trauma after clashing with police and seeing videos of violent conflicts online. She says the city's already over-extended mental health services haven't been able to provide necessary care, and that protesters want compensation for their suffering and to see the city reinvest in local clinics.
Not all protesters have expressed discontent with their experiences in Chicago. Danny Johnson, 31, a Los Angeles man and Occupy Walk USA member who was incarcerated for seven days after being arrested during a NATO demonstration, told the Chicago Sun-Times "it was awesome" and said he "would not speak badly of my time in Cook County Jail."
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