An intense independent investigation by the Department of Justice into the practices of the Chicago Police Department has found that officers routinely coerce information out of local gang members by taking them to their rival’s territory.
Officers will either leave the person there or show the gang member to rival members, immediately putting the life of that person in jeopardy by suggesting he has provided information to the police, according to the report.
Chicago officers have a practice of “trying to get individuals to provide information about crime or guns by picking them up and driving them around while asking for information about gangs or guns,” according to the report. If the people who police are questioning refuse to answer, officers will drop them off in dangerous areas or gang territory, according to the report.
Violence in the streets of certain areas of Chicago is a problem that has continued to escalate. The city had its highest murder rate in two decades last year. Among factors like poverty, lack of gun control in neighboring areas, and lack of social safety net, the absence of trust in the police force has only exacerbated the problems. But the DOJ’s findings are a bombshell that reveals much deeper problems. This kind of activity shows that police are intentionally encouraging violence if they don’t get their way.
The report offered as one example a video that “shows CPD officers standing around a marked CPD vehicle with the back doors wide open and a young male detained in the rear.” It goes on to say, “Officers permit a crowd of male youths to surround the car and shout at the adolescent. The crowd can be seen flashing hand gestures that look like gang signs and threatening the cowering teenager in the backseat.”
Citizens interviewed by the Justice department confirmed the practice according to the report, “Another black teen told us that his brother was picked up in one location, dropped off in another location known for rival gangs, and told: ‘Better get to running.'”
On Friday, Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, agreed to negotiate a legally binding set of reforms to be overseen by a federal judge.