Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Scathing Report

A scathing 183 page report by a Chicago task force investigation the culture and practices of America's second largest police department revealed that the Chicago Police Department'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."
Between 2008 and 2015, of the 404 people shot or killed by police officers, 74 percent were African-American, that makes up about a third of the city's 2.7 million people.  Other shootings included whites, who account for nearly 32 percent of the city's population were shot 8 percent of the time, and Hispanics, who make up about 29 percent of the population account for 14 percent the shootings.

This comes at a time when large swaths of Chicago are devastated by abject poverty and soaring homicide numbers.  According to data provided by Chicago police, the number of shootings jumped from 359 in 2015 to 677 in 2016.

Chicago has a sad history of false arrests and wrongful convictions.  Hostile police encounters have left an indelible mark on the psyche of the populace.  The Police Accountability Task Force reported, that the residents remain: "affected and if the encounter involved physical or verbal aggression, even if there was no arrest, there is a lasting, negative effect.“

The task force called the October 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white officer and the long delay in releasing police dashboard camera footage "the tipping point for long-simmering community anger.  The videotape was painful, horrific and illuminating in ways that irrefutably exemplified what those in communities of color have long said, and shocked and stirred the conscience of those in other neighborhoods.

The community has good reason not to trust the 12,000 Chicago Police Department.  Racism has fueled longstanding institutional failures in a department where rogue officers often act with impunity.

The Chicago task force reported black and Hispanic drivers were searched about four times as often as white drivers.  However, the department's own data revealed that contraband was found on white drivers twice as often as on black and Hispanic drivers.

Children in some areas of the city are not only being raised in high crime environments, but they’re also being mistreated by those who have sworn to protect and serve them."

*** My posts of 11/25/15 and 11/3o/15 provide more specific information regarding the killing of Laquan McDonald.

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