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Jesse Jackson calls for federal probe into Hanna’s death

Illinois State Rep. District 60 RitMayfield with Revered Jesse Jacksspeaks press conference about investigatideath DarrHannduring his arrest November 2011 by

Illinois State Rep. District 60 Rita Mayfield with Revered Jesse Jackson speaks at a press conference about the investigation in the death of Darrin Hanna during his arrest in November of 2011 by North Chicago Police at North Chicago City Hall. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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March Against Injustice

A “10,000 Man March Against Injustice” will be held from noon to 2 p.m. today, April 21. Protestors will gather at 717 17th St. and Park Avenue at noon and will march to North Chicago High School, 1717 17th St., then across Lewis Avenue to City Hall.

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Updated: June 20, 2012 1:15AM

Rainbow PUSH Coalition founder and President Jesse Jackson visited North Chicago on Friday to urge a federal investigation into what he called “acts of terror” perpetrated during the Nov. 6 arrest of Darrin “Dagwood” Hanna.

Jackson, who held a press conference at North Chicago City Hall with members of Hanna’s family, their supporters and attorneys, displayed glossy police file photos of Hanna’s battered and bloodied face, which he compared to that of Emmett Till, an African-American boy who was brutalized and murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Jackson cited 20 excessive force cases involving NCPD in the past five years, which he said suggest “a pattern.”

“The men who did this are still working,” Jackson said, referring to the seven officers involved in the arrest who have been placed on desk duty. “That’s suggesitve of a low standard of justice.”

Hanna, 45, died a week after he was arrested for alleged domestic battery. Arresting officers said he was injured as they struggled to subdue him. Autopsy results show physical trauma and restraint, including Taser use, were contributing factors to his death, but also specified a history of drug abuse and poorly managed health problems including hypertension and the genetic condition sickle cell.

Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Waller, after reviewing the findings of a four-month long investigation by the Illinois State Police Integrity Unit, declared that police used reasonable force.

“No matter what the state’s attorney says, he’s a politician,” said Jackson, who called Waller’s review, which emphasized Hanna’s alleged attempt to drown his pregnant girlfriend in a bath tub and said his death “was caused by his chosen lifestyle,” “a justification” and “attempt to discredit.”

“This is not a closed case,” Jackson said. “This is an appeal to federal officials to take this gross civil rights violation into account. This was excessive force to the point of death.”

Attorneys for the Hanna family, which includes state Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, continue to point to discrepancies in the ISP report, in which just one officer admits to “dry” stunning Hanna twice, while a Lake County Coroner’s autopsy report and photos reveal seven different sets of welts from the device. They cite missing evidence, including two patrol-car videos and Hanna’s testicles, pancreas and spleen, which were not turned-over for a re-autopsy.

They are also raising questions about the nearly 30 minutes they claim it took police to call an ambulance, though Hanna was taken into custody in under two minutes.

Jackson said Rainbow PUSH will help plan non-violent actions “for days ahead” and will feature the Hanna case on its 10 a.m. Saturday Morning Forum. He said he will also attend a protest to be held at noon Saturday outside North Chicago City Hall and Police Department.

“Justice will prevail if we press the issue,” Jackson said. “The people of this community have come awake, and they’re not going back to sleep.”

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