By State Representative, Leon D. Young
The body count in Chicago is national disgrace: Laquan McDonald, 17, killed by police in Chicago, Calvin Cross, 19, killed by police in Chicago, Cedric Chatman, 17, killed by police in Chicago, Joshua Madison, 21, killed by police in Chicago, Quintonio LeGrier, 19, killed by cops in Chicago, Betty R. Jones, 55, killed by police in Chicago.
In Chicago, the nation’s the third-largest city, police officers have shot and killed 70 people, mostly African- Americans, in a five year span ending in 2014. That was the most among the nation’s 10 largest cities during the same period of time, according to the Better Government Association, a non-profit watchdog organization.
Interestingly enough, the Chicago Police Department has also been known for issuing little or no punishment to its own after a 2007 overhaul of its discipline system that was portrayed as creating a tough, autonomous authority.
However, under the new system, the vast majority of complaints against the police still do not result in discipline.
Of more than 400 police shootings since the Independent Police Review Authority was created in 2007, the agency has found claims of wrongdoing against police officers valid in only two cases.
The new system is being accused of being no better than the old (Office of Professional Standards, an internal unit that was widely criticized for its lack of independence).
From 2011 to 2015, 97 percent of more than 28,500 citizen complaints resulted in no officer being punished, according to data recently released by the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit journalism organization, and the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School.
With this being the case, the City of Chicago and its taxpayers have had to fork over millions of dollars in response to wrongful death lawsuits.
To illustrate the point, Joshua Madison, 21, an unarmed African-American killed by Chicago police in 2010, received a $1 million settlement in June. City officials also paid Laquan McDonald’s family $5 million, months before the officer who shot him was charged with murder.
Not surprisingly, Chicago has repeatedly tried to block incriminating video footage of these police shootings from coming to light, citing ongoing legal investigations in the cases.
Truth be told, if this police killing scourge was impacting the white community in Chicago, rest assured, this situation would never be tolerated.
And, what’s even more galling, these same officers are subsequently allowed to return to active duty and continue their villainous rampage in the black community, with near impunity.