I’ve been writing about this topic, so I appreciate your balanced perspective.
I do think I come from the “left” of Heather Mac Donald, but was surprised to find that my arguments over the past couple years are closely aligned with hers.
I do question statements like these, which are founded on “feeling” more than fact. Police have not “tripled” their presence, and taken in conjunction with Mac Donald’s facts (all accurate), and common sense, it is nothing if not blatantly false:
“Bahhs says that she has noticed the police presence in Chicago triple since Ferguson, and that any claim that the Chicago Police Department is not racist is unfounded. Indeed, a Police Accountability Task Force appointed by the Mayor found systemic racism in Chicago Police Department.”
I hear that a lot based on anecdote. But I never find it substantiated by evidence. If I tell people Chicago police kill NO more or NO less than the national average, would they believe me? All I can say is: It’s a fact, and the evidence is below.
I could say much more — like how that Task Force was highly flawed by never mentioning crime rates by race, and purely comparing “use of force” or shootings with Chicago’s racial demographics. I critiqued the Task Force as political and inaccurate, and I’ll probably critique the upcoming Justice Department report. But I simply want to say this, based on data found in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Spring 1982 Issue: From 1974–79, an average of 101 Chicago civilians were shot by police per year. In 2015 that number was 25, and so far this year it’s 18. So four times less people are being shot by police today than in the 1970s! I found that fact after Marie Cole, president of the East Garfield Park Consolidated Block Club, said on NPR’s WBEZ that there’s more shootings of black people now “than what I remember growing up.” Not true: there were more black people shot in 1978 (32) than TOTAL in 2015 (25). She also said her community is policed by “more than 70% white cops.” Interesting, as it’s 55% white cops across the city, and certainly minority parts of the city would be staffed appropriately.
My point is, people are getting their facts wrong. And it’s costing lives when there’s more than 200+ more murders in 2016 than 2015. Much of that could be argued because police are acting like activists want them: Subdued. Or as Mayor Rahm Emmanuel says, “Fetal.”
Does anyone talk about that? And a bonus OPINION: The idea that over-militarization and attitudes worsening in police may have more to do with optics, media, and perception than reality. Especially when there’s also 3400+ citizens shot by fellow citizens in Chicago as of Oct 12, 2016, but only 18 by cops.
Also, in 2015–16:
* CPD police kill an average of 1 person per 300,000 in Chicago annually. (Overall homicide is 17.5 per 100,000.)
* USA police kill an average of 1 person per 300,000 across this country annually. (Overall homicide is 4.5 per 100,000.)
Thus, I wrote the following two months ago:
“Shocking & Disturbing” Police Shooting Video Released in Chicago in Context: Chicago Police Actually Kill 4x Less Than National Average
Go to my Medium post here for more of the following facts:
Fact: Police shootings are well under 1% of total shootings in this city. And killing 4x less than the national police average, when compared against citizen homicides.
Fact: Around 70% of people in contact by police are black (Contact Cards*)
Fact: Around 70% of people shot or killed by police are black (Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Report)
Question: Are the police shooting like it’s the “Wild West” in an unjustified manner? Are the police shootings showing racial bias, despite what several studies and articles lead you to believe?