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Erickson & Oppenheimer: Illinois Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Attorneys

Free Consultation: 877-505-1924

Erickson & Oppenheimer: Illinois Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Attorneys

Free Consultation: 877-505-1924

Do Chicago police engage in a pattern of racism?

Do Chicago police engage in a pattern of racism?

Weeks after the release of a detailed report finding that the Minneapolis police department engaged in a pattern of racism, we have to ask a similar question in Chicago? Do Chicago police also routinely engage in a pattern of racist conduct?

In 2020, four Minneapolis police officers set off a global reckoning when Derek Chauvin strangled George Floyd, causing his death as three other officers stood by. The graphic video of the incident went viral, setting off riots and protests. Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights agency investigated the Minneapolis Police Department officers’ actions during the Floyd murder, the MPD’s response after the death, and other patterns.

The investigation’s 72-page report found that the MPD exhibited wide disparities between officers’ treatment of minorities and white residents. The investigators spent nearly two years examining police reports, interviews and body camera footage. The findings included evidence of a pattern and practice of racial discrimination. It included:

  • Minneapolis is 19% Black, but they make up 54% of all traffic stops between 2017-2020.
  • Black people accounted for 63% of MPD’s use of force from 2010 to 2020.

The use of paramilitary policing and “warrior” training methods created a consistently racist and misogynist culture, and it used disrespectful language. Moreover, officers engaging in this behavior were rarely held accountable for their actions. Officers also created fake social media accounts to monitor black people when they had no public safety objective.

Other deaths caused by police

George Floyd’s death was a tipping point locally and internationally, but officers consistently engaged in deadly behavior. Since Floyd’s death, one notable incident involved a white female officer in a nearby suburb mistakenly using her service weapon instead of her taser, killing a Black man during a traffic stop.

Repeating the circumstances of Breonna Taylor’s death in Louisville, another incident involved a no-knock warrant in nearby St. Paul, Minnesota, where a Swat Team stormed into an apartment, waking up an innocent 22-year-old not listed on the warrant. The man was shot by officers when he reached for a gun, which he had a permit for, likely in self-defense. Officials cleared the Swat team of wrongdoing, and the female officer who resigned is serving a manslaughter charge.

Chicago is facing similar problems

Minneapolis instituted a no-knock warrant ban in 2022, but calls for one in Chicago have hit walls. This is the case even after multiple city departments and the mayor’s office paid $2.9 million for responding poorly to a botched home search – officers had a no-knock warrant for an individual who did not live in the residents and was unknown to the female occupant, who lived there alone for four years.

The Office of Inspector General determined that 72% of all residential warrants issued between 2017 and 2020 were for Black men. Theoretically, citizens are protected against police misconduct and violations of their civil rights, but the innocent must speak up and get legal help to prevent police departments and related city and state agencies from running roughshod over individuals’ rights.

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