This has been a very bad week for the Chicago Police Department. Among the headaches was a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois on "unsettling" reports of Chicago police monitoring peaceful protest groups, and is calling for City Council hearings on the claims. The statement came in response to a Chicago Sun-Times report finding that the department opened seven investigations since 2009 to monitor activist groups. Emails released by the city under public pressure after the 2014 fatal police shooting of African American teen Laquan McDonald revealed that cops kept close tabs on protesters. Undercover officers were sent to monitor meetings of Black Lives Matter and other groups.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has faced growing protests over the city’s handling of police shootings, These continued April 12 as protesters blocked a lane of traffic on the Eisenhower Expressway after a vigil for a youth fatally shot by police. Cops said 16-year-old Pierre Loury was shot during an "armed confrontation."
All this comes just as an official report charges the Police Department with a long pattern of racism and abuse. The Chicago Police Accountability Task Force appointed by Emanuel found: "CPD's own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color. Stopped without justification, verbally and physically abused, and in some instances arrested, and then detained without counsel—that is what we heard about over and over again." Data crunched by the task force shows that in a city where whites, Blacks and Hispanics each make up about a third of the population, 74 percent of the 404 residents shot by the police between 2008 and 2015 were Black. The figures are similarly disproportionate for Blacks targeted in street stops, traffic stops and Taser use.
Finally, The Guardian released its latest report this week on the CPD's Homan Square "black site" where police apparently used extrajudicial tactics on predominantly Black suspects without oversight. After suing under the Freedom of Information Act, the newspaper reported claimed documentation that at least 14 men were beaten while in custody there. The most serious case is the contested death of Jaime Galvan—apparently beaten to death at the site after being arrested on a cocaine charge in 2006. The Guardian claims documents reveal the cops covered up the location and circumstance of his death. Initial reports said he died in his sleep in a cell at a station house.
The CPD contests The Guardian's claim that he actually was killed at the "unofficial" site. The claim is based in a police hospitalization case report.
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