Criticism by association and more apples

When will people get over the organization they are involved in being criticized? When I talk about the patterns and practices of an organization, namely the Chicago Police Department, being bad it does not mean that everyone involved in the Department is bad, corrupt, brutal, or vicious. Recently, I have had heard about negative reactions to my blog. I am not sure of the exact reasons at this point, but I am sure it has something to do with my criticisms of Chicago’s Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS).

This was a policy shift when the Chicago Police moved towards community policing. I say towards community policing because not everyone is so sure there was any real commitment on the behalf of the true power holders in Chicago to implementing true community policing. Let me say here that I believe community policing to be the only true path to effective police and community relations in this city, or any other. Community policing involves the community in a partnership with the police in securing their community.

The problem with Chicago’s version is that Mayor Daley never wanted the various communities to partner with the police. He really only wanted a portion of each community to be involved. What Daley did want was a program that he could add to the long list of programs he has abused and corrupted to enlarge and further empower his political machine. There is little doubt that the CAPS program has been abused to the Mayor’s benefit. Certain communities would receive greater CAPS programming in line with the redevelopment wishes of the Mayor’s large campaign contributors. This criticism of the program does not reflect on those that attempted to create community policing in Chicago.

The problem is that when you enter into a partnership with a corrupt and power hungry politician there is no way this program could ever reach its potential. The main problem for the Mayor was that CAPS could lead to empowered minority communities that would not like the corrupt aldermen representing their non-interests in the City Council. Empowered communities might lead to larger minority voter registration and voter turnout. That would not be good. The Mayor prefers minorities either in line with his interests or moved out to the suburbs.

More Apples

The Chicago Justice Project has learned from a source that the Chicago Police and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office are looking at an additional nine officers from the Special Operations Section. You can read my post about this issue from last week here. One has to wonder what has gotten into the minds of both Mayor Daley and Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine. They have made their careers ignoring evidence of torture and beatings at the hands of police officers. Why would they now turn around and pursue officers that have robbed “bad people.” Might it be election time?

In July, the Special Prosecutor’s Report of about twenty years worth of torture allegations was released. This report was a complete whitewash; however, many columnists in the City pounced on the report for being too soft on Daley and Devine. Basically, the report clears both Daley and Devine from wrong doing even though they were ethically, morally, and legally responsible for over two decades to investigate but never did. The inaction by both Daley and Devine led to dozens if not hundreds of individuals being tortured into confessions. Daley and Devine did not care because the perpetrators of the violence were white cops and the suspects were black people who did “bad things.”

Race is a touchy issue, but it plays a huge part into why the allegations were not investigated earlier and why Daley was never going to allow CAPS to succeed. Had CAPS succeeded in revitalizing communities of impoverished minorities, they might have taken a second thought into allowing the torture of their community members at the hands of Chicago Police to continue. This Mayoral election period, Daley has his two strongest minority challengers ever, one being Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, the other being United States Congressmen Jessie Jackson Jr. Both of these candidates were sure to publicize the inaction by the Mayor on the allegations of torture of black men.

It seems like Daley and Devine conjured up a way to deflect the criticism by sacrificing four white officers, possibly nine more, so that they can be used as election propaganda in the current race. This does not mean they probably are not guilty, it just means had the allegations surfaced to Daley and Devine twelve months in either direction from this time period they might have been ignored. Nobody, including most Chicago Police Officers, can tell me exactly what the Special Operations Section officers due on a daily basis. We get the sound-bite saying they are combating gangs, guns, and drugs; but, what does that really mean and exactly how are they doing that? If we did not have such a compliant media we might have answers to those questions, but we don’t.

Even after this latest scandal broke we still do not have any idea exactly what these officers do, what their tactics are, or how much oversight they receive. Once again, we are left to trust that Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline and Mayor Daley have things under control. Well I do not, and neither should you. Check back soon as you might just find a pool started picking the date of the next round of indictments of SOS officers, the next bunch of “just a few bad apples.”

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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