Nearly 33,000 juveniles arrested over about the last two decades have been labeled by Chicago police as gang members, according to police data. […]
At the time of their arrest, 13 of the juveniles were just 10 years old. About 60 were 11. And more than 300 were 12, a Tribune analysis of the records showed.
Experts cautioned that labeling juveniles as gang members can create a stigma that causes lifelong problems for them yet serves little purpose for police.
The Police Department defends its gang databases, saying they remain an important tool in fighting what drives much of Chicago’s violence. However, the department has promised reforms in how people end up listed as gang members and in how they can remove their names.
Um, based on available evidence, that crime prevention “tool” isn’t working so well. It’s also allegedly unreliable…
Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that the Chicago Police Department relies on an error-plagued database that names up to 195,000 people as gang members, including many who have never been in a gang.
Many people were erroneously listed in the database simply because of a tattoo, social media post or address, according to the federal lawsuit from Northwestern University’s MacArthur Justice Center and other groups. Those listed as gang members have a harder time landing jobs, are more likely to be denied bond after arrests and are often targets of harassment by police or immigration officers, it contends.
The way police manage the database is “arbitrary, discriminatory” and “over-inclusive,” and it gives beat officers “unlimited discretion” to falsely label people gang members “based solely on their race and neighborhood,” the lawsuit states. In some cases, license-reading devices flag cars registered to someone in the gang database, increasing the odds of the car being stopped.
* And then there’s this…
A joint investigation by Chicago police and the Norfolk Southern Railroad that used a truck loaded with goods and left parked in Englewood as a lure for potential thieves has come under fire after video of the operation went viral.
“This bait truck operation is an unacceptable and inappropriate use of police resources,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, chair of the City Council’s Black Caucus. “In a moment where police capacity is clearly under extreme strain, these sort of tactics are the last thing we should be spending manpower and energy on.”
A video shot earlier this month that was posted on the Facebook page of community activist Charles Mckenzie appears to show officers arresting a man after he allegedly broke into a “bait truck” in the Englewood neighborhood. People on the video argue that community members are being set up for arrest.
Police have often used bait vehicles to catch people in the act of committing a robbery or a theft. Susan Terpay, a spokeswoman for the Norfolk Southern Railroad police, which worked with Chicago police on the investigation, defended the Englewood investigation, noting these sting operations are tactics used by law enforcement to crack down on patterns of thefts in certain areas.
In a statement, Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay said the trucks were part of a “joint surveillance operation to apprehend the individuals who have been breaking into freight containers at NS railyards in Southside Chicago.”
However, the railyards are more than a mile away from where the trucks were parked on city streets.
A mile away? Sheesh.
*** UPDATE *** Paul Vallas…
I’m for law and order, but the the time and resources used for a theft sting in Englewood is a misappropriation of limited police resources. Those resources should be focused on catching shooters and killers! How can a community engage with police if they feel their kids are being tricked by police? We need to build and earn trust with the community if we are to make headway in reducing the unacceptable levels of violence.
Agreed on all counts.