Chicago Needs Cops Who Aren't Scared To Do Their Jobs
Racing against the clock before President Obama leaves office, the Justice Department has issued a scathing report charging the Chicago Police Department with engaging in a pattern of illegal “excessive force,” including “deadly force.”
With both statistics and damning anecdotes, the report shows the Chicago PD as running roughshod over the Windy City’s minority citizens.
Yet that’s not Chicago’s only problem: In response to community anger, its cops have backed off from basic proactive policing — leaving the city’s gangs to run wild. The city last year saw 762 homicides and 4,300 shootings — not by cops, but by mostly young black men killing each other.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel endorsed the Justice report — yet he has also rightly complained that his police force has “gone fetal.”
Not that the mayor is blameless. The 13-month Justice probe was prompted by public furor from the belated release of a videotape of the fatal police shooting of a 17-year-old that clearly undercut the cops’ version of events. The tape had been withheld for more than a year to protect Emanuel’s re-election bid.
Notably, the Justice Department report makes no charges of systemic racism — rather, it mainly blames “deficiencies” with the CPD and City Hall.
Which still leave Chicago needing both better policing and an end to inadequate policing. The city’s minority community shouldn’t be stuck with a choice between excessive police force and being victimized by violent thugs and gang members.
For starters, what the Windy City clearly needs is a tough commissioner with a proven record of remaking large urban police departments while dramatically lowering violent crime.
Someone like Bill Bratton, whose record in both New York and Los Angeles is unrivaled. Because the problem goes far beyond insufficient training.
Chicago needs a fair and just police force — and also an effective one that isn’t afraid of doing its job.