Racism plagues Chicago police, task force says

A demonstrator protesting the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald holds up a sign on December 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois

Washington (AFP) – Chicago’s police department is plagued by racism and riven by institutional failures and must work to restore trust among the African-American community, a scathing official report out Wednesday said.

The police force of America’s third-largest city is also under a federal investigation launched in December following the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer, prompting protests and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to appoint a police task force.

“The community’s lack of trust in CPD (Chicago Police Department) is justified,” the study by the task force said, making more than 100 recommendations.

“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.”

“There is also substantial evidence that these experiences continue today through significant disparate impacts associated with the use of force, foot and traffic stops and bias in the police oversight system itself,” the report added.

“CPD is not doing enough to combat racial bias,” concluded the report, whose release coincidentally fell on the same day authorities approved a new police chief for Chicago.

The study confirms the magnitude of the task ahead for Eddie Johnson, an African-American veteran of the Chicago police who faces curbing a surge in gun-related deaths in addition to restoring trust among the African-American community.

The belated release of a video showing teenager Laquan McDonald’s death triggered the previous police superintendent’s dismissal and protests, just the latest in the US against perceived police brutality, particularly in dealing with black men and youths.


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