[Marxism] Dog bites man

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 13 18:39:05 MDT 2016


NY Times, Apr. 13 2016
Chicago Police Dept. Plagued by Systemic Racism, Task Force Finds
By MONICA DAVEY and MITCH SMITH

CHICAGO — Racism has contributed to a long, systemic pattern of 
institutional failures by this city’s police department in which police 
officers have mistreated people, operated without sufficient oversight, 
and lost the trust of residents, a task force assigned by Mayor Rahm 
Emanuel has found.

The report, issued on Wednesday, was blistering, blunt and backed up by 
devastating statistics. Coincidentally, it was released as city leaders 
were installing a new, permanent superintendent for the Chicago Police 
Department.

“The community’s lack of trust in CPD is justified,” the task force 
wrote. “There is substantial evidence that people of color — 
particularly African-Americans — have had disproportionately negative 
experiences with the police over an extended period of time.”

The report gives validation to complaints made for years by 
African-American residents here who have said they were unfairly 
targeted by officers without justification on a regular basis. It raises 
the pressure on Mr. Emanuel and other Chicago leaders to make 
significant changes at a pivotal time for the nation’s second largest 
municipal police force, which has been under intense fire from residents 
and under scrutiny from the federal authorities. It includes more than 
100 recommendations for change.

The task force amassed data that shows the extent to which 
African-Americans appear to have been targeted. In a city where whites, 
blacks and Hispanics each make up about one-third of the population, 74 
percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police between 2008 and 
2015 were black, the report said. Black people were targeted in 72 
percent of thousands of investigative street stops that did not lead to 
arrests during a recent summer.

Three out of four — 76 percent — of people on whom Chicago police 
officers used Taser guns between 2012 and 2015 were black. And black 
people made up 46 percent of police traffic stops in 2013.

“CPD’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have 
no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color,” 
according to the report, a draft summary of which was first reported in 
The Chicago Tribune on Tuesday afternoon. “Stopped without 
justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances 
arrested, and then detained without counsel — that is what we heard 
about over and over again,” the task force wrote.

The stinging findings come at a particularly troublesome time here, as 
violent crimes have increased this year and as police morale is reported 
to have sunk.

The task force was given its assignment late last year, after the 
release of a graphic dashcam video showing a white Chicago police 
officer, Jason Van Dyke, fatally shooting a black teenager, Laquan 
McDonald, along a Chicago street. Widespread protests followed, and Mr. 
Emanuel fired the city’s police superintendent, who was officially 
replaced on Wednesday by his choice, Eddie Johnson, a longtime officer 
who is black. The Justice Department has since announced an 
investigation into the department’s patterns and practices, which is 
still underway.

The task force members — chosen by Mr. Emanuel — were racially diverse, 
with professional backgrounds in social work, law and government. Lori 
Lightfoot, the president of the Chicago Police Board, was chairwoman of 
the group, and the panel was advised by Deval Patrick, the former 
Massachusetts governor who spent part of his childhood in Chicago.

The other members were Randolph Stone, a clinical professor of law at 
the University of Chicago; Sergio E. Acosta, a former federal 
prosecutor; Victor Dickson, who leads an organization that helps former 
inmates; Joseph Ferguson, Chicago’s inspector general; Maurice Classen, 
a former prosecutor; Alexa James, a licensed clinical social worker; and 
Sybil Madison-Boyd, a psychologist who works with urban youth.

On Wednesday, before the report was released, Mr. Emanuel said he had 
not yet seen it, but that his “general attitude” was to be “open to look 
at everything they say.”

Mr. Emanuel said he was not surprised by the suggestion of racism, and 
that he wanted to work through those issues.

“I don’t really think you need a task force to know that we have racism 
in America, we have racism in Illinois or that there’s racism that 
exists in the city of Chicago and obviously could be in our department,” 
Mr. Emanuel said.

He added: “The question is: ‘what are we going to do to confront it and 
make the changes in not only personnel but in policies to reflect, I 
think, the values that make up the diversity of our city.’”



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