Historically the Chicago police force, the third largest in the country, has alienated Blacks and Hispanics for decades through excessive force and has created a code of silence among police to not report misconduct of other officers.
Following the death of Pierre Loury, a young Black teen, a report showed how the Chicago Police Department has a “sad history” of targeting Blacks and Hispanics.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel established a task force late last year to work towards reform of the city’s police department after residents complained about the number of police shootings, which often begin with routine encounters that unnecessarily turn deadly.
The task force released a report Wednesday showing the Chicago PD has “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”
The report cited data showing how despite Blacks accounting for 33 percent of the city’s population, 74 percent of hundreds of people shot by officers in recent years were African-American.
Loury, 16, was fatally shot Monday night while reportedly jumping a fence after fleeing from a vehicle police pulled over due to it matching the description of a car involved in a shooting earlier that day.
“They shot him in the air,” one witness reported. “His pants leg got caught on the fence and he hit the ground. If he hadn’t gotten shot, he would have cleared the fence.”
The fatal shooting of Loury marked the fifth police-involved shooting so far this year and the third fatal one.
The witness commenting on the shooting of Loury asked to remain anonymous out of fear of police retaliation.
The task force report also showed the department has a long history of not holding its officers accountable. Citizens Police Data Project showed that fewer than 2 percent of the 28,567 complaints filed against the department from March 2011 to September 2015 resulted in discipline. Most officers who do face discipline are suspended for a week or less.
The police officer who shot Loury after claiming the teen turned and pointed a gun at him, was placed on paid desk duty for at least 30 days. The police department has yet to release the name of the officer.
Deshawn Nelson, a friend of Loury’s, said, “Stop the violence, we’re too young.”
Chicago police fatally shot 70 people between 2010 and 2014, more than any other police department in a major U.S. city.
One of those deaths was 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, a young Black man shot 16 times in October 2014 as he was walking away from officer Jason Van Dyke.
Van Dyke was recently employed by the Fraternal Order of Police as a janitor because, they said, it was hard for him to find work elsewhere, putting him and his family in a “very difficult situation, financially.”
“We would do it for anybody that works as a Chicago police officer,” said Dean Angelo Sr., the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago.
The report released Wednesday by the task force stated, “Reform is possible if there is a will and a commitment.”
(Photos from left: Courtesy of the Laquan Mcdonald Family, Pierre Loury via Facebook)