Florian Sohnke & The World: How It’s All About Politics
I’m guessing Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan did this by simply filing a lawsuit with the full weight of her office behind her. She also had Mayor Rahm Emanuel behind her. This has everything to do with Democratic politics. Black Lives Matter was heating up to nearly win “Person of the Year” for Time Magazine, and years of stories of police misconduct — which certainly happens — led to the Laquan McDonald video and the aftermath. Politically, they have to do something, and they don’t care if they “cook” the data to make the police look terrible.
Or, if I’m being charitable, one could say they’re hoodwinked like almost everyone else who’s not Jeff Sessions to believe the DOJ Report was accurate and fair. As the Chicago Tribune wrote:
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Tuesday sued the city of Chicago, contending Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reforms are not sufficient to prevent the Chicago Police Department from continuing a pattern of deadly and excessive force that disproportionately hurts African-Americans and Latinos.
Despite the sharp criticism in the lawsuit, Madigan and Emanuel appeared together at a news conference where they called the effort moving forward “a partnership.”
Still, Madigan’s move effectively pushes Emanuel toward acknowledging he will have to accept a federal judge’s oversight of the Police Department, a still-to-be-negotiated agreement that likely will cost the city millions of dollars in reforms and run for several years.
The lawsuit also means Emanuel likely will have to agree to pursue reforms above and beyond what his administration already has put in place, at a time when the city continues to deal with surging homicide and shooting numbers. Complicating that effort are ongoing contract negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police, which blasted Tuesday’s announcement as “a potential catastrophe for Chicago.”
However, as I’ve written about to the tune of 35,000 words, these DOJ Reports are largely not accurate — and they are void of context — like how use of force incidents match stop and arrest percentages. No wonder police are furious about them; because it’s not even remotely fair. They’re certainly some “smoking guns” like how police misconduct complaints for whites are more often sustained than for blacks in Chicago, but at the same time, the % of complaints for blacks (61%) is far lower than the use of force % (76%), which also sounds fishy. But maybe whites are more apt to “complain” and blacks are more apt to say “Nah, forget about it — it’s not worth it.” Or it’s something else. But the data tells us populations don’t all act in the same way.
But the ACLU and Lisa Madigan keep believing that’s the way the world works. It would be nice and Utopian, but it’s not currently reality. Nor will it likely ever be — and you don’t see them complaining that women aren’t 50% of those on the receiving end of use-of-force incidents.
Once I bring up Baltimore’s and Ferguson’s DOJ Reports in my analysis. I’ve continually heard from critics that much of what goes into each report is “boiler plate” content from previous reports. At least I find Obama’s U.S. Justice Department’s methods the same:
Thus, this report, as well as others such as the 163-page damning DOJ report on Baltimore policing and Ferguson’s, contain a significant and fundamental error: Sidelining context of verifiable criminal activity. They simply don’t include it.
Here’s a longer excerpt from my magnum opus critique of Chicago’s DOJ Report (the bullet points are the end are particularly telling):
The #1 question for me: Why didn’t the U.S. Department of Justice show the RATE of black and white Chicagoans arrested with use of force? They simply show two sharply contrasting numbers — 19,374 for blacks and 2,007 for whites. Perhaps they DID know the rates were similar, but it didn’t drive home the point that there’s “systemic deficiencies” in Chicago — just like how stats on police arrests and third-party case reports were omitted, as well as contextualizing with the rest of the United States. They needed the statistical narrative to match the anecdotal narrative. That’s just a theory — or conspiracy — but it would also be an obvious argument of Obama-era liberal bias because even progressive police monitoring groups focus on the rate, like the Center for Policing Equity. This allows apples to apples comparisons as opposed to apples and oranges comparisons, which is this DOJ report.
Side note: I ran the numbers and found the rate difference between blacks (3.97%) and whites (3.29%) is quite small (see chart at bottom of this post). Even changing a few variables make rates lower than that, which are far lower than national averages. I argue that small 18% difference can be understood due to blacks being more likely to be arrested for violent causes, with data showing they injure police at higher rates. But the DOJ simply wrote this misleading line: “Black individuals were subject to approximately 76% (19,374) of the uses of force, as compared to whites, who represented only 8% (2,007) of the force incident.”
Imagine for a second if they would have wrote these alternate numbers, slightly tweaked: “Black individuals were subject to approximately 17,000 of the force incidents, as compared to whites, who represented only 2,200 of the force incidents.” People would still act appalled, even if contextualizing arrest and criminal suspect patterns against these totals it would have been whites who would be MORE likely than blacks to be on the receiving end of the police officers’ handcuffs, pepper spray, or tasers. Yet you would still have these sizable “bulk sum” number differences of 17,000 (black) and 2,200 (white), which in terms of optics isn’t much different than 19,374 and 2,007. This is a glaring example of government malpractice and deception. Flatly: The Obama’s DOJ is not being straight-up with the American people when they don’t include arrest totals to provide necessary context.
But I continue with my own excerpt:
Simply, the DOJ report says on page 22, “We found reasonable cause to believe that CPD has engaged in a pattern or practice of unreasonable force in violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the deficiencies in CPD’s training, supervision, accountability, and other systems have contributed to that pattern or practice.” I have no doubt there are some deficiencies, but if their very own data police shows police use force in around 3.3–4.0% of arrests — white, black or Latino — and the national average is 3.6–4.6%, then wouldn’t the entire country’s police force be acting in an “unconstitutional” manner? And how do they define “unreasonable”? (They don’t.)
The DOJ report also doesn’t provide whole numbers of Chicago Police department complaints or percentage breakdowns by race. However, a 2015 new database made available after a FOIA request showed how there’s a disparity in sustained complaints, as well as total issued. I won’t get into the reasons on the sustained gap — and nearly half the complaints are issued by women, which is interesting given their low levels of criminality — but I wish to simply point out that there’s more than TWICE the rate of interactions with police (stops, arrests) as there are complaints when it comes to blacks and whites. Of these four bullet points below indicating police/citizen interaction, the latter two have nothing to do with police discretion or activity, as they are initiated by citizens themselves. And the last bullet is based on the Citizens Police Data Project of allegations of police misconduct.
72% of total CPD arrests are black, 9% are white (8x)
72% of total CPD contact cards (stops) are black, 9% are white (8x)
73% of total CPD case reports (crime reports) are black, 9% are white (8x)
61% of total complaints of CPD misconduct are black, 20% are white (3x)