David Shuey
4 min readAug 19, 2018


These are Chicago’s trends since Laquan Mac Donald’s video release (late Nov 2015) and ACLU reforms. (Jan 1, 2016)
What if everything stayed at the same rates in Chicago as in 2015? Mortal outcomes would be vastly better than what we have: Citizens have killed at least 500 more people in Chicago in 2.5 years compared to essentially 0 more (or less) people killed in police uses of lethal force (around 10 deaths annually). What’s the net gain in this “reform” movement inspired by superstars like Ava DuVarney and Michelle Alexander?

Well Louis Weeks, all I can say to that is I think all people should be immune to marijuana arrests, period. And slavery and racism has a hell of a hangover in this country in terms of societal outcomes. Yet, many social justice narratives just don’t fit. I also added an edit above making that point that drug arrests are around 14% (currently) for the nation and (in 2009) “21% of all arrests in Chicago — well before drug arrests dropped to 1973 levels in Chicago [this past year] because of the decriminalizing of marijuana.” So Chicago could be inching towards, or even dropping below, the national average of 1 in 9 arrests being for drugs (much of those taking place in gang-ridden territory and involving the incarceration of actual gang members).

I also just want to post an international headline and excerpt from The Independent, at one time my favorite UK paper when visiting them in 2003 in my three-month “protest in the EU vacation” (can you have one of those?) because I was very upset with my government and vehemently against the War in Iraq. The Independent was super liberal then. Seems like The Guardian wants that mantle now with their incessant digging on Chicago police and comparing outcomes to city demographics. One hopes the UK’s most powerful newspaper — and many other outlets, too — are OK with the fact, too, that if Chicago had remained at 2015 rates of homicide rates we would have at least 500 more people alive today (95% non-white). And if police killed zero people annually, we’d have 25 more people alive today.

You get the change you ask for. Who knows, maybe if we had the purest, most transparent, accountable, reprimand-or-fire-every-officer-for-pulling-his-gun police department, we would only have 250. Or maybe 750. Who knows? We can’t turn back time.

OK, here’s some recent history:

Over an antipasti salad at an Italian restaurant in Little Italy (he’s trying to eat better), the detective says the current focus on police misconduct has kept police officers in their cars. He even advises officers under his command to make fewer stops to avoid encounters that could result in complaints or lawsuits. The feeling among Chicago police is that when a suspect resists arrest or pulls out a weapon and they respond with force, their commanders and the media won’t believe their account. He says they fear they’ll end up on the news or the target of lawsuits that will upend their lives and derail their careers.

Statistics back up his claim. The number of stops between January and late November dropped from about 560,000 in 2015 to 100,000 this year, a result of chastened police as well as a new agreement between the city and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that changed the requirements and definition of a stop. Gun seizures are up 20 percent over the same period, to over 8,000 this year, though that figure includes firearms handed in at gun buybacks — a program the CPD stepped up in 2016. Chicago once had strict gun laws, but over the past six years, federal courts have struck down its handgun ban, ended Illinois’s concealed carry ban and forced the city to allow gun stores to open. Plus, smugglers bring in firearms from neighbouring states.

Whatever your feelings about the police, the withdrawal of a city’s police force can hurt the fight against violent crime, according to Zachary Fardon, the US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The current violence spike in Chicago followed four events late in 2015 that kneecapped residents’ confidence in police and officer morale, he said in a speech in late September.

And One More Dig at The Guardian

The Guardian’s graphs of those taken to the notorious “black site” Homan Square are indicative of the problem at hand. First, does it really matter if an unmarked police station exists in the middle of a high crime area? Second, from the ACLU to the government, they apply citywide demographics to crime which is disproportionately caused by people of color. I’m sorry, it’s the truth. Also: The West Side is mostly black and Hispanic, so The Guardian is suffering from geographical and intellectual laziness. BTW, I think the CPD is still working there, and The Guardian series lost steam in 2016.



David Shuey

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