A major topic in the city of Chicago recently has been the Chicago PD. More specifically, the corruption, brutality, and racist tendencies frequently exhibited by its police officers. The conversations came to a head this past year when Mayor Rahm Emanuel hid the video footage of the death of Laquan McDonald, and then kept the cop who shot him on the payroll for the following year. Even without Emanuel’s misstep, however, the police department has been facing scrutiny for their overall policies, practices, and mistakes. The community has lost its faith in the Chicago PD, and it is clear that changes need to be made.
The reputation of the police department has been called into question consistently over the past few years, as Chicago has seen a rise in crime and, in response, gotten more media attention. The death of McDonald on October 20, 2014 brought these issues to light again, as the officer charged with first-degree murder denied what had happened. Additionally, the other officers on the scene were accused of lying about the incident, and Mayor Emanuel hid the video for over a year. These facts did not surprise many Chicagoans, as such behavior has occurred in the past.
This particular shooting death comes on the heels of many other police shootings across the country, and perhaps this is why the PD has come under such intense scrutiny. The country is on alert for corrupt cops who are trigger-happy and don’t face consequences for their actions. There is now a call for police departments to be reorganized in a way that will help the officers better protect us while following the law. For example, some believe the officers should be retrained in all areas, such as search and seizure, how to properly frisk, and the use of force and what is considered excessive. This would be a good place to start to build the PD’s reputation back up; at the very least, it would help for Chicagoans to see its officers trying a new tactic and attempting to make amends.
Is Race An Issue?
While the police department itself is quick to deny that race is a factor in the performance of their jobs, the numbers say otherwise. Black citizens in Chicago make up 72 percent of the street stops, and 74 percent of those shot over the past 7 years were black. Even Mayor Emanuel admitted to this fact after McDonald’s death, but quickly turned the focus on what they were going to do about it. Some suggestions included adding a Deputy Chief of Diversity to the department, releasing videos of incidents with 60 days, and generally being more transparent. The inclusion of these could help bolster their reputation, as citizens will be better able to understand what goes on and trust that the officers are doing their best.
Need Legal Help?
Cases involving police brutality or misconduct are becoming all too common. Each case is different, though, and often the facts can get confusing or overwhelming. Contact Barney & Hourihane today to discuss your case with a dedicated Chicago civil rights attorney. For more information, see related blogs posts.