In 2015, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel assembled an independent task force to investigate city police when protestors demanded he resign around his mishandling—cover-up?—of Lauan McDonald’s fatal shooting by cops, which was captured on video. Now their scathing report is here, detailing how racism led to rampant police misconduct and a broken relationship with the people they’re meant to serve.
In other words, the impression anyone would’ve gotten from following the news is now supported with hard data. Here is an excerpt of the report, via the New York Times:
“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 task force found that blacks were disproportionately shot by Chicago police. Despite making up a third of the city’s population, “74 percent of the 404 people shot by the Chicago police between 2008 and 2015 were black.” Blacks were targeted in 72 percent of the street stops that didn’t lead to arrests last summer; 76 percent of those who were tasered by police between 2012 and 2015 were African American. Oh, and black folks comprised 46 percent of police traffic stops in 2013.
Blagojevich aside, if you’re white and want to commit crimes or traffic violations, Chicago seems like the place to be. And meanwhile, violent crimes are increasing as officer morale flails.
The task force was announced at the end of 2015 after Black Lives Matter protestors and other community organizers demanded Emanuel’s resignation over McDonald’s fatal shooting. (In 2014, McDonald was shot and killed by Officer Jason Van Dyke; the city only released dash cam footage of the incident at the end of 2015 at the legal instruction of a judge. That same month, Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder and misconduct by outgoing Cook County State’s prosecutor Alvarez; to say it’s a shit show in Chicago politics right now would be an understatement.)
Instead of resigning, Emanuel fired the city police superintendent, began the search for a new (black) one and promised to fix police-community relations following an investigation by an independent task force. On Wednesday, along with the report, a new (black) police superintendent named Eddie Johnson was sworn in.
As for Emanuel’s response to the findings, he’s not saying anything new. He’s “open to look at everything they say.”
“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.’”
A Justice Department investigation of Chicago police practices, which Emanuel initially resisted but later acquiesced to, is still ongoing.
Image via Getty.