No big surprise here.
The Chicago Police Department is failing to hold officers accountable and not doing enough to combat a “justified” lack of trust from the community, according to a sweeping report released Wednesday by a task force assembled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The task force’s report was unsparing when it came to the department’s problems with race, saying that its members “heard over and over again from a range of voices” who feel that the Chicago police are racist.
In the 22-page report, the task force pointed to data from the Chicago police that it said “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”
The task force looked at more than 400 shootings in Chicago from 2008 to 2015 and found that about three-quarters of the people wounded or killed in police shootings were black. Hispanic people accounted for 14 percent of those shot, while white people made up 8 percent of them.
Similar proportions were found among people hit with Tasers in recent years. Census data show that black, Hispanic and white people make up nearly equal slices of the city’s population.
“Residents of Chicago spoke of random police stops in which they are treated with disdain, and fearful that any interaction with police could lead to violence against them,” Victor Dickson, member of the task force and head of a non-profit that helps people with criminal records, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our research supports those perceptions.”
The task force’s report said that some people in the community “do not feel safe in any encounter with the police.”
The report said that evidence showed that “people of color— particularly African-Americans—have had disproportionately negative experiences with the police over an extended period of time,” something that the task force’s members said continues today “the use of force, foot and traffic stops and bias in the police oversight system itself.”
Before the report was released, Emanuel (D) said he would be open to any recommendations from the group about how to help the country’s second-largest local law enforcement agency.
“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 is racism that exists in the city of Chicago and obviously can be in our departments,” Emanuel said Wednesday, before he received a copy of the report.
Emanuel said he felt the city was taking positive steps forward, including pushing to diversify the ranks of its police force and the department’s leadership.
“The question isn’t, ‘Do we have racism?’ We do,” Emanuel said. “The question is, ‘what are you going to do about it?’”
Last December, Emanuel announced that he was creating the task force amid protests prompted by video footage of a white Chicago police officer firing 16 shots at Laquan McDonald, a black teenager.
Since the McDonald video was released — over the objections of city officials — Emanuel and the Chicago police force have been under a national microscope, even as the city faces a surge in violence….Read More Here…