Have a reaction. Write, mope, or construct an argument here at the consent decree portal before the end of the day Friday, August 17. A longer version of this shortened draft available here. Data to support this at bottom of post and tabulated on my own spreadsheet based on these sources, which anyone is welcome to comment on or question. Occasionally, I’ll make small updates for greater accuracy. ARTICLE LAST UPDATED Aug 20, 2018 (Tweaked image above & two paragraphs below: “The Death Count” and “CPD are Average”) and Aug 22 (new graphics for “Odds of Being Killed Per Arrest: Chicago vs. Nationally).

Stripping Context from Media & Government Reports on Police Abuse a Likely Cause of More American and Chicago Bloodshed

Statistical-Based Evidence Undermines Consent Decree Logic that Throws Chicago Police Under the Bus

  1. The city of Chicago uses force against its citizens at a lower rate than nationally.
  2. The small differences in the rates of use of force rate between blacks and whites is more equitable in Chicago than the national average.
  3. Use of force does not occur in 96% of white arrests and 96.7% of black arrests according the same data used in the Obama-era U.S. Department of Justice Report to condemn CPD for using “excessive force.” Police shootings represent less than 1% of total shootings in the city, and police homicides less than 2% of the total.
  4. Citizens of Chicago were not any more likely to be killed per arrest from 2009–2016 compared to American citizens on average the last couple years. Chicagoans the past three years were far less likely to be shot by police than the first half of the decade.
  5. The odds of being shot as a Chicago citizen are almost the same, around 1 in 300,000, as citizens nationwide for the years 2015–2016. This indicates a disconnect from reality and the perceptions echoed throughout the city, fueled by the misleading claims of the Police Accountability Task Force Executive Summary: “CPD’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” Lethal force against blacks nearly matches CPD’s arrest data (which, incomprehensibly, is not shown in these government reports), which matches stop data (shown), which absolutely matches crime report data by victims of crime (not shown). Thus, with essential context and non-cherry picked data, those beliefs are not as valid.
  1. Wouldn’t you want to know the likelihood of being shot or having force used against you by police, no matter what you look like?
  2. What if there’s a direct connection behind the incorrect perception that police are racially biased with their use of force (anything from putting hands on suspects to pulling their guns and shooting citizens) and spikes in civilian shootings and homicides?
  • 3.3 out of 100 arrests for white Chicagoans result in use of force
  • 4.0 out of 100 arrests for black Chicagoans result in use of force
  • The rate difference between white and black Chicagoans per arrest is only 18%
  • Nationally, the rate difference between white and black Americans per arrest is GREATER at 24.4%, 3.6 per 100 (white) vs. 4.6 per 100 (black), according to a widely lauded 2016 report by the Center for Policing Equity
  • Thus, Chicago police are treating citizens MORE equitably than nationwide
  • Those small rate differences can be explained away with the fact blacks as a group are more often arrested for violent crime and are more likely to injure police, justifying slightly more use of force.

How Does That Work? Just Check These Charts:

Go to page 19 of the PDF for the Center for Policing Equity’s conclusions on use of force disparities. Blacks receive slightly more use of force in all but one category: Lethal force.
Combined, the rate of all force (lethal and non-lethal) per arrest in 12 major municipalities is 3.6 per 100 (white) vs. 4.6 per 100 (black).
Full math at the bottom of this posting. But here are the basics. For Chicago, I divided the average annual instances of use of force over a 5-year period (3,662 for blacks, 379 for whites) with the arrests for the same period (92,328 for blacks, 11,541 for whites). The arrest percentage in 2009 and 2010 for blacks and whites are the same, 9% and 72% respectively. With those computations, the rate of all force (lethal and non-lethal) per arrest in Chicago is 3.3 per 100 (white) vs. 4.0 per 100 (black).

What Can Explain That Difference?

Chicago source data & national source data.

CPD Are “Average”

  • Odds of being shot and killed per arrest in Chicago (2009–2016): 1 in 9,900.
  • These are nearly the same odds I calculated for being shot and killed per arrest for all Americans in 2017 (The Washington Post): 1 in 10,920
  • For all homicides by police in 2016 (The Guardian, who count fatal shootings plus other deaths): 1 in 9,900
  • The odds of being shot and killed while black in America in 2017 was slightly more favorable than past years (The Washington Post): 1 in 11,900
  • The odds of being shot and killed per arrest for whites & Latinos in 2017 were nearly 10% higher than African Americans (and not reported by major media, especially not by The Post): 1 in 10,940
Source data (USA is average of Washington Post and Guardian data).
Accurate Chicago police and crime data, with healthy dose of cynicism, here on HeyJackass.com

The Death Count

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan at a news conference July 27, 2018, announcing the release of the draft consent decree.

Why Bring This Up Now? The Consent Decree is Upon Us

7 out of 10: Key Alignment of Chicago Police and Crime Data

  1. Demographics of the city are shown, which are almost one-third white, black and Hispanic/Latino.
  2. Chicago police are then cast as racially biased — in need of a consent decree that would cost Chicago $10 million a year in tax dollars — by highlighting that 7 out of 10 of their contact points and use of force are directed at marginalized black citizens. Rarely, but occasionally, critical words spew forth about blacks disproportionately being about 7 out of 10 arrests — but usually around the topic of the the war on drugs, even when marijuana arrests have dropped to less than one a day. This is between 8–10 times more than non-Hispanic whites, which is a shocking disparity, except for these facts completely omitted from the record: Blacks are 8 times more likely to be suspects in crime reports, which are mostly initiated by citizens, not police.
Scrubbed from Web, but The Wayback Machine archive has it here. I always find it funny they misspelled “Latino” as if they whipped this table up in a rush. Source: Chicago Police Department
What’s not shown in the media or government reports on Chicago policing: Crime victims by race, which are 71% non-white minority. (Source: CPD 2010 Annual Report)

Two Reports That Got Some Things Right, But The Big Picture Wrong

In Conclusion: Lives Are on the Line

The numbers here explain it all. Anyone is welcome to comment or add feedback.

How to Do the Math on Use of Force for Whites and Black Chicagoans (And How You Can Trust the Data)

  • Total Arrests (2009): 16,141 (white) vs. 130,082 (black) = 8.1 times difference
  • Total Arrests (2011–2016): 11,541 (white) vs. 92,328 (black) = 8.0 times difference
  • Ratio of black-white difference for each crime category arrest: Murder (27 times), Robbery (24 times), Sexual Assault (12 times), Aggravated Assault (10 times)
  • Average use of force instances (2011–2016): 380 (white) vs. 3700 (black) = 9.7 times difference

Read Longer Version of This Essay Here




Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes for all. Empiricism, relevant facts, and logical arguments > simple narratives.

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David Shuey

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes for all. Empiricism, relevant facts, and logical arguments > simple narratives.