The following piece is from the Huffington Post. It was written by Joseph Erbentraut.
By: Joseph Erbentraut
A report to be presented to the United Nations next month alleges the Chicago Police Department has engaged in “ongoing, pervasive” violence targeting the city’s youth of color in a way perpetuated by its “culture of impunity.”
Alarming statistics are presented alongside youth testimony, collected at an August 2014 community hearing and via a confidential “police encounter line,” in the report released Wednesday by the We Charge Genocide coalition.
The group of activists, which will present to United Nations Committee Against Torture in Switzerland, is calling for a response from CPD, identification of the department’s treatment of colored youth as torture, and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Behind these stories and numbers are real people—real people’s severe pain, humiliation, suffering, and death at the hands of those charged with the duty to ‘protect and serve’ Chicago,” the report reads.
Though about 33 percent of Chicago’s population is African-American, the city’s arrest rate of black youth is disproportionately high, according to the report. In 2011, 77 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s youth arrests were of black youth. In 2012, that percentage increased to 79 percent.
The report also notes that black and Latino targets were involved in 92 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s uses of stun guns from 2009 to 2011. Throughout the first half of 2014, black targets have been involved in 78 percent of the department’s stun gun uses, the report notes.
The use of stun guns has also failed to significantly reduce the number of police-involved shootings since they were implemented by the department in 2010, the report notes. Black Chicagoans are, again, drastically overrepresented among those who are shot by police. As the Chicago Reporter previously observed, black Chicagoans are 10 times more likely than their white peers to be shot by a police officer.
The report notes it’s also rare for a Chicago police officer to be held accountable for misconduct allegations. Among 10,149 complaints of excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse or false arrest filed by residents between 2002 and 2004, only 124 — 1.2 percent — were sustained, and only 19 cases led to a penalty of suspension of at least a week or worse, according to the document.
Citing a 2007 report by a University of Chicago Law School professor, the report notes that a brutality complaint filed against police in Chicago is 94 percent less likely to be sustained than elsewhere. In the city, only 0.48 percent of brutality complaints are sustained, compared to 8 percent nationally.
Specifically, the group is calling for the United Nations Committee Against Torture to demand a response from the CPD “regarding the steps it will take both to end this treatment and to fully compensate the individuals, families, and communities impacted by this violence.” It further calls on the committee to identify the CPD’s treatment of youth of color as torture and for the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into the department.
Click here to read the rest.