Police reform advocates react to CPD’s use of force analysis | Black Voices | Chicago News
Chicago police were more likely to arrest and use force against black Chicagoans than other groups, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General.
The watchdog agency examined the department’s stops and use-of-force incidents between 2017 and 2020. It found that black people were disproportionately arrested by the CPD, regardless of demographic composition and level of crime in the area. Blacks were disproportionately subjected to force, and the CPD was more likely to use higher level force options against blacks than against non-blacks.
According to the results, when a police stop led to the use of force, more than 83% of these incidents involved a black person. In the Near North police district, where blacks make up 7.9% of residents, they accounted for 73.5% of police stops. In Auburn-Gresham, where blacks are the majority, at 95.9%, they accounted for 97.2% of police stops.
“These numbers back up what I’ve said my whole life is that there’s a disproportionate number of black people who are arrested, who are harassed, who often face disproportionate outcomes in this city, so this It’s great that the general public is getting a sense of this, but as a black man who grew up in South Chicago, these are numbers I’ve known for quite a while now,” said Anthony Driver, Member of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.
The Office of the Inspector General says this report does not draw conclusions about whether the police made the stops or used force because of racial or ethnic bias. The data simply captures the disparities.
In a statement, Acting Inspector General William Marback said, “Analysis of OIG data presents evidence of racial and ethnic disparities that exist in the Chicago Police Department’s use of force. While the OIG does not offer recommendations, the data itself provides insight into areas where the CPD could focus efforts to reduce disparate outcomes in its application of force, raises questions about key areas of policing strategy and practice that deserves closer examination, and presents the public with a better understanding of patterns of racial disparities in CPD stops and use of force.
The CPD also issued a statement to the Office of the Inspector General as part of the analysis highlighting the progress made since the audit was completed in 2020. Police Superintendent David Brown reiterated this point during a press conference Wednesday on public safety.
“What he (the OIG report) pointed out is important, I think that’s number one, we’re on the right track in terms of the progress we’ve made in the consent decree since February 2020. We have made significant progress through policy improvements, training at this time in February 2020 was zero for officers,” Brown said. “Mandatory training since then, each officer is required to complete 40 hours of training annually. Additionally, at this point in this analysis from 2017 to 2020, we were not in compliance with our use of force policies. Today, we are in compliance with the consent decree regarding our use of force policies.
The consent decree is a federal court order requiring Chicago police to reform training, policies and practices in a number of areas, including the use of force. It went into effect in 2019. Police reform advocates we spoke to say they can credit the police department with making changes, but they’re not enough.
“We have been talking about this problem for centuries. We’ve been talking specifically about my life for decades. Throughout the history of the Chicago Police Department, superintendents have always told us we’re doing more, we’re doing better, we’re getting better, we’re increasing reform,” said Xavier Ramey, CEO of Justice Informed. “We’ve heard this from as far back as Jody Weis, we’ve heard this from superintendents for years and years and years and we’re still here and saying reform isn’t quite what we’re looking for. What we are talking about is a revolutionary change in the way we think about the administration of public safety. We’re not just talking about changing policies, although policies are important things to change, what we’re talking about is changing the strategy for public safety. Policies are just reforms. The change in strategy is truly revolutionary, and it means we are moving away from policing as the primary source of public safety.
As police reform activists push for greater public safety reform, the city has begun the process of creating a civilian-led police oversight board. The city is currently considering applications for the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. The group is intended to give civilians some control over policing and misconduct. The driver says it’s a step in the right direction.
“Specifically, we have always called for community control of the police. This oversight board is not community policing oversight, but it is a step in the right direction,” Driver said. “We are looking to have a directly elected board that is elected by the citizens of Chicago that will oversee this, similar to how the school board is. It gives a voice to the inhabitants, and above all, it decentralizes power.