WBEZ | Police http://www.wbez.org/tags/police Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Burge torture survivor speaks: "I faced my demon" http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/burge-torture-survivor-speaks-i-faced-my-demon-111939 <p><p>Last week Anthony Holmes testified before Chicago&#39;s City Council Finance Committee.</p><p>Holmes spoke in detail about being tortured by Former Police Commander Jon Burge in the 1970s. As part of our StoryCorps series, Holmes sat down with attorney Joey Mogul at the People&#39;s Law Office in Chicago, to relive his experience with Burge.</p><p><em>Andre Perez helped produce this story</em></p><hr /><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7285_StoryCorps%20booth%20%282%29-scr_13.JPG" style="height: 120px; width: 180px; float: left;" title="" /></p><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px;margin-top:23px;"><a href="http://storycorps.org/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px;">StoryCorps</a>&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. This excerpt was edited by WBEZ.</em></p></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/burge-torture-survivor-speaks-i-faced-my-demon-111939 Zion residents want body cameras for police officers http://www.wbez.org/news/zion-residents-want-body-cameras-police-officers-111926 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/policebodycams_ap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>ZION, Ill. &mdash; Residents of the northeastern Illinois city of Zion are calling on all of its officers to be equipped with body cameras following the police-involved shooting death of 17-year-old Justus Howell.</p><p>The Chicago Tribune <a href="http://trib.in/1OFfLCW" target="_blank">reports</a> about 150 people attended a city council meeting Tuesday in Zion, where more than two dozen members of the Zion-Benton Ministerial Association made the plea for body cameras.</p><p>Pastor Robert Williams of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, a member of the association, said the ministers also would like the city to hire a community liaison officer who can assist in communication between the police department and the community.</p><p>Mayor-elect Al Hill and new members of the city council are expected to consider the group&#39;s proposal at the next meeting.</p></p> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 16:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/zion-residents-want-body-cameras-police-officers-111926 WBEZ obtains 911 call from controversial Hammond traffic stop http://www.wbez.org/news/wbez-obtains-911-call-controversial-hammond-traffic-stop-111511 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hammond_1_0.png" alt="" /><p><p><em>This American Life</em> and WBEZ have obtained the first copy of the 911 call from a controversial traffic stop in Hammond, Indiana. You can hear the full audio of the call above.</p><p>The Sept. 24 incident began when <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/disbelief-some-hammond-after-accused-cops-are-reinstated-111159">police in Hammond pulled over an African-American family</a> for a minor seatbelt violation.</p><p>During the stop, passenger Jamal Jones refused to exit the vehicle when ordered to by officers.</p><p>The driver of the car, Lisa Mahone, called 911 for help.</p><p>After several minutes of asking, police drew their weapons as Mahone&rsquo;s two young children watched from the back seat.</p><p>One of the kids recorded the incident on his phone, and the video went viral.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="465" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XsW-QCxXkQA?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" width="620"></iframe></p><p>The video ends with the moment most people remember: the officers smash the window, drag the passenger from the car, and tase him. Police have said that they thought there might have been a gun in the car.</p><p>You can hear some of Mahone&rsquo;s side of the 911 call in the video &mdash; but for the first time the official 911 audio gives us both sides of the conversation that took place when Mahone essentially called the police...on the police.</p><p>Some of the 911 call is difficult to understand, but what&rsquo;s clear is the two women have completely different perceptions of what&rsquo;s happening.</p><p><strong>Raw Audio</strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189826499&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Mahone says she&rsquo;s scared that an officer has drawn his weapon and doesn&rsquo;t want to leave the car.</p><p>The dispatcher repeatedly tries to make the case that Mahone is safe and that she and the passengers should follow the orders of the police officers.</p><p>The tape from the 911 call is about two minutes long, and cuts off when the window is smashed.</p><p>After the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/recent-incidents-cast-doubt-hammond-police-accountability-critics-say-111228">incident originally came to light</a>, Hammond mayor Tom McDermott Jr. defended the actions of his officers.</p><p>Regarding the release of the 911 tape, McDermott responded to WBEZ&rsquo;s request for comment with a text message.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll take a pass on commenting while the criminal case and civil cases are being litigated,&rdquo; McDermott wrote.</p><p>Meanwhile, Mahone and Jones continue to pursue their federal civil rights lawsuit against the Hammond police.</p><p>The FBI is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/disbelief-some-hammond-after-accused-cops-are-reinstated-111159">still looking into</a> the actions of the police on that day.</p><p><em>WBEZ obtained a recording of the 911 call as part of a two episode project from </em>This American Life <em>examining the relationship between police and civilians. The first of those episodes called &ldquo;Cops See it Differently&rdquo; airs Feb. 6 on WBEZ at 7 p.m.</em></p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 13:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/wbez-obtains-911-call-controversial-hammond-traffic-stop-111511 As police get body cameras, what happens to all that video? http://www.wbez.org/news/police-get-body-cameras-what-happens-all-video-111328 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/1204_body-camera-624x415.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One of the ideas catching hold after the non-indictments of police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown is equipping police with body cameras. Advocates of the idea say they increase transparency, and improve trust between communities and the police.</p><p>The Los Angeles Police Department recently bought 860 body cameras, and over the course of this year, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti says he wants all of the department&rsquo;s roughly 7,000 front line officers wearing cameras.</p><p>The L.A.P.D bought its cameras from <a href="http://www.taser.com/" target="_blank">TASER</a>, one of the leading companies in the law enforcement body camera industry.&nbsp;Along with the cameras, TASER also sells subscriptions to a site called <a href="http://www.evidence.com/" target="_blank">evidence.com</a> that police departments can use to store and manage all the video officers record while out on a shift.</p><p><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org">Here &amp; Now&rsquo;</a>s Lisa Mullins spoke with Steve Tuttle,&nbsp;one of the founding members of TASER, and the company&rsquo;s vice president of strategic communications&nbsp;about who the cameras benefit, how the video is stored and managed, and concerns over privacy.</p><p>&ldquo;The privacy concerns are certainly there and that&rsquo;s up to the individual agencies and state laws that deal with that,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So we want to give them the features that can make this shareable in the manner that&rsquo;s necessary for the public, but at the same time manage those expectations for privacy.&rdquo;</p><p>Ultimately, Tuttle says the equipment is beneficial to both police and the public.</p><p>&ldquo;If we were to empower the police with what we call the legal body armor of these on-officer cameras, I think we would give more accountability to the public and provide a lot more transparency of a use-of-force situation in which there&rsquo;s a he-said-she-said,&rdquo; Tuttle said.</p><p><strong>On&nbsp;how&nbsp;TASER&rsquo;s&nbsp;cameras work</strong></p><p>&ldquo;The camera that you put on your body, once you go on patrol is always recording in a video mode. Now what that does is it saves all the most recent video of the previous 30 seconds &hellip;&nbsp;And once it&rsquo;s doing that, what the officer is then waiting for is an event to occur.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;ve got a radio callout, you&rsquo;re going to double-click that button and it will grab the previous 30 seconds of video only and then it begins to add the audio portion. And that officer then goes on to the scene of the crime, maybe interviews a suspect, maybe arrests somebody. Keeps that camera rolling until that person is in jail. And then they press and hold that button for five seconds. You now have an event of that recording. If it were played back, you would hear 30 seconds of silence prior to when that officer pressed that button and you would then capture all that audio visual currents that occurred from pressing the button forward.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>On&nbsp;statistical evidence for body-camera effectiveness</strong></p><p>&ldquo;The evidence shows that it actually keeps the officer safer and the suspect safer. There was a watershed moment for us; it was called the Cambridge University Rialto Police Department Study. Rialto is a suburb of Los Angeles and they looked at the TASER AXON Camera Flex system for one year in a blind study. They found that the complaints were reduced by 88% &mdash; that&rsquo;s a game-changer in and of itself, because you&rsquo;ve now got a witness to certain situations where there&rsquo;s been previously no witness. The bigger game changer was the 59% drop in use of force. That clearly is changing behavior on both sides of the badge.&rdquo;</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/02/police-video-data" target="_blank">via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 14:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/police-get-body-cameras-what-happens-all-video-111328 Report: Number of police officers killed spikes in 2014 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-number-police-officers-killed-spikes-2014-111310 <p><p>The number of police officers killed in the line of duty increased in 2014, a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund finds.</p><p>In total, 126 officers were killed in 2014. That&#39;s a 24 percent increase from 2013, when 102 officers were killed.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/">According to the report</a>, the number of police officers killed by firearms also rose by 56 percent &mdash; from 32 in 2013 to 50 in 2014.</p><p>Here&#39;s a graphic that puts those numbers in historical context:</p><div><a href="http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2014totalfatalities-web_custom-df784be8fe541622a01105419bc5bfbd56a9e39f-s800-c85.png" style="height: 388px; width: 620px;" title="A graph showing officer deaths per year. (NLEOMF)" /></a></div><div><p><a href="http://www.nleomf.org/newsroom/news-releases/eoy-report-2014.html">In a press release</a>, the fund adds:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;Ambush-style attacks, as evidenced earlier this month by the shooting deaths of New York City Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos while sitting in their marked patrol car, were the number one cause of felonious officer deaths for the fifth year in a row. Fifteen officers nationwide were killed in ambush assaults in 2014, matching 2012 for the highest total since 1995.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>One important asterisk to this news: While gun deaths of officers have increased, they still remain 12-percent lower than the decade-long average of 57.</p><p>&quot;Firearms-related fatalities peaked in 1973, when 156 officers were shot and killed. Since then, the average number of officers shot and killed has decreased<br />from 127 per year in the 1970s to 57 per year in the 2000s,&quot; the report notes.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/12/30/373985338/report-number-of-police-officers-killed-spikes-in-2014" target="_blank">via NPR</a></em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/report-number-police-officers-killed-spikes-2014-111310 Improviser finds purpose in Chicago police mental health crisis trainings http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 141219 Clark Weber.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In 2004, the Chicago Police Department implemented a voluntary training program to deal with mental health emergencies.</p><p>Today, Chicago has the <a href="http://www.namichicago.org/documents/cit_advocacy_sheet.pdf" target="_blank">largest crisis intervention training program in the world</a>, according to Alexa James, Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)-Chicago.</p><p>Clark Weber is an essential part of the crisis intervention training. In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps, Weber describes how he found himself in the greatest role of his life.</p><p>After moving to Chicago in the late 1980s, Weber studied improv at Second City. He loves acting, whether it&rsquo;s theater, television or film. But Weber struggled with depression and suicidal tendencies too. He was diagnosed as bipolar and spent four-and-a-half weeks at a state mental hospital before moving into a group home with Thresholds, a non-profit that assists people with mental illness.</p><p>&ldquo;When I came to Thresholds,&rdquo; Weber said, &ldquo;they had a theater arts program &ndash; which now unfortunately is defunct - and I was told that we have this opportunity to role play with Chicago police to make them aware and see what a real mental health crisis is like.&rdquo;</p><p>Weber soon found himself in the middle of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program, roleplaying as a person in distress.</p><p>The role-playing can be intense, Weber said. &ldquo;Officers have play weapons and a real Taser, which is non-functioning. And instead of using force, they try to talk us down. And we have total freedom to insult the police officers. We have total freedom to swear at them, to make it as real as possible.&rdquo;</p><p>If officers feel &ldquo;that the Taser needs to be used, they&rsquo;ll just point it towards us and say, &lsquo;Taser. Taser. Taser.&rsquo; So we&rsquo;re fake-Tased and then we discuss why the officer feels he or she had to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>Pastor Fred Kinsey is a member of ONE Northside, a group that this past year helped get police to increase the number of officers able to go through CIT training. &ldquo;If you have tools to recognize people in crisis, to know what kinds of medications people are on, that helps,&rdquo; Kinsey said. Chicago Police recently doubled the number of officers who are able to receive CIT training each year, Kinsey said. But that doubling of officers - from 200 to 400 officers each year &ndash; is small compared to the number of officers who don&rsquo;t take the training. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to see the majority, if not all, officers trained,&rdquo; Kinsey said. The biggest impediment to expanding the training program, he said, is not so much financial, but the time costs of taking officers off the street.</p><p>For Clark Weber, the experience has been transformative. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not saying every day&rsquo;s gonna be a good day, or every day&rsquo;s gonna be a great day. Being bipolar I do have my ups and downs. But I run into officers that I&rsquo;ve helped train or they&rsquo;ve been in a class and they&rsquo;ve watched the videos. And I&rsquo;ve had officers come up to me and said, &lsquo;Because of you I helped save this person&rsquo;s life. Or I helped this person get the treatment that they needed.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very empowering,&rdquo; Weber says. &ldquo;For the first time in my life, I feel I have a purpose. I have a place in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/6250422&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="888px"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/improviser-finds-purpose-chicago-police-mental-health-crisis-trainings-111274 Recent incidents cast doubt on Hammond police accountability, critics say http://www.wbez.org/news/recent-incidents-cast-doubt-hammond-police-accountability-critics-say-111228 <p><p>Activists will rally in Hammond, Indiana this weekend to highlight concerns about police brutality.</p><p>A controversial traffic stop there led to accusations of excessive force and has become part of a national debate over how to hold police accountable. Critics say that case and another recent incident shows that Hammond&#39;s system for policing the police is broken.</p><p>&ldquo;There needs to be a fair, transparent process in place for citizens to voice their concerns especially when they have a complaint against the police,&rdquo; says attorney Trent McCain, who is based in Merrillville, Indiana.</p><p>McCain is representing Norma Maldonado and her partner Dario Lemus in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Hammond Police Department.</p><p>The family&rsquo;s 2 year old pit-bull dog Lily was shot last June by a responding police officer who was dispatched on reports that a dog was loose.</p><p>Police say the dog lunged at Officer Timothy Kreischer, which justified shooting the animal.</p><p>Maldonado disputes that claim.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NWI%20Cops%203%20Lily%20the%20dog%20.jpg" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Lilly the dog" />&ldquo;Lily was running at me and I can see the blood all over her. That&rsquo;s when he started to lower his gun and I just started screaming &lsquo;why did you shoot my dog? Why did you shoot her?&rsquo; He was frozen for a while and just staring at us, like he didn&rsquo;t know what to say,&rdquo; Maldonado said. &ldquo;I was screaming why did you shoot her? He said because she was loose. I said &lsquo;no she wasn&rsquo;t.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Maldonado says her house was protected by an invisible fence system, which the city says is prohibited in Hammond because they can fail.</p><p>The dog survived after thousands of dollars in veterinary care.</p><p>Maldonado, however, remains upset because she says the officer fired his weapon just a few feet from her young son.</p><p>Maldonado says she showed up at the police department to file a formal complaint against the officer, but was told she couldn&rsquo;t.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t understand why I was denied that right to make the complaint against them. So, I just felt that all doors were closed for me,&rdquo; Maldonado said.</p><p>McCain says he&rsquo;s not sure why Maldonado was turned away from filing a complaint.</p><p>&ldquo;My clients attempted to file a citizen&rsquo;s complaint several times after their dog was shot within a few feet of their 7-year-old son,&rdquo; McCain said. &ldquo;They got the cold shoulder from the City of Hammond and received the runaround each time they tried to lodge a complaint.&rdquo;</p><p>Hammond police declined to comment on the Maldonado case.</p><p>Maldonado went on to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city for the pain inflicted on the family and the officer&rsquo;s alleged reckless action in shooting the dog.</p><p>McCain said all of this could&rsquo;ve been avoided with a proper system for filing complaints to an independent review board.</p><p>&ldquo;The police are there to protect and serve and if they are not performing their duties in the proper fashion and people are getting hurt, and their civil rights are being violated, then they need to have a voice or an opportunity to bring their complaints to the proper bodies,&rdquo; McCain said.</p><p>Hammond police spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda said citizens can lodge complaints in person, on its website or through the city&rsquo;s Human Relations Commission.</p><p>A spokesman for the commission told WBEZ it recorded only two complaints this year against police and none last year.</p><p>The city wouldn&rsquo;t confirm that number, but it says all complaints are investigated.</p><p>Hammond city attorney Kristina Kantar stated in a letter to WBEZ that Indiana law does not require it to release information regarding citizen complaints unless it results in disciplinary action against an officer.</p><p>That means no Hammond police officers have been suspended, demoted or fired in the past two years.</p><p>That includes officers Charles Turner and Patrick Vicari, who are named in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a Hammond couple, Lisa Mahone and Jamal Jones,&nbsp;who were stopped in late September for not wearing their seatbelts.</p><p>The tense, 13 minute traffic stop was captured on a cell phone by Mahone&rsquo;s teenage son sitting in the back seat with his young sister. aAfter Jones repeatedly refused requests to exit the vehicle, the video shows police smashing passenger window, tasing Jones and arresting him.</p><p>Police said the officers feared that Jones might have a weapon.</p><p>The incident sparked a media frenzy, with many comparing Hammond to Ferguson, Missouri. In the weeks after the incident, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said the officers would face a disciplinary hearing.</p><p>&ldquo;The two officers (Vicari and Turner) are going to appear before the Board of Captains meeting. It is a disciplinary hearing, it doesn&rsquo;t mean discipline is sure to follow,&rdquo; McDermott told WBEZ in early November.</p><p>However, that disciplinary hearing never happened. And a few weeks later the officers were back on the street, despite the fact that the FBI still is investigating the incident.</p><p>Critics say this demonstrates the need for stronger oversight to deal with alleged police misconduct.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no infrastructure in place in Northwest Indiana that really addresses that concern,&rdquo; said Dr. Gregory Jones, professor of Theology at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NWI%20Cops%201%20Dr_0.jpg" style="height: 185px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Valparaiso University professor Dr. Gregory Jones" />Dr. Jones also heads the Northwest Indiana African American Alliance. The Alliance tracks possible racial profiling in areas like Valparaiso, Gary and Hammond.</p><p>&ldquo;Poor people of color are often intimidated off of dealing with that issue. If we look at the Hispanic/Latino community, we look at poor African-Americans and poor whites, we need some levels of accountability there,&rdquo; Jones said.</p><p>In Valparaiso, which has struggled with race relations over the years,&nbsp;Dr. Jones says he has a dedicated partner in addressing racial profiling in Mayor Jon Costas.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the Valparaiso Police Department is a great police department. I think we can give leadership to the region in terms of a process of accountability throughout the region in relationship to these kinds of concerns,&rdquo; Jones said.</p><p>Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas admits his city may not face the same the same challenges as other Northwest Indiana in terms of population, crime, diversity and struggling economies.</p><p>&ldquo;Clearly, it&rsquo;s a much different policing environment in more urban cities and in cities the incidents of crime can be higher depending on where you&rsquo;re at,&rdquo; Costas said.</p><p>But regardless of a city&rsquo;s challenges, Costas&rsquo; message to police officers &mdash; especially rookies &mdash; is clear and constant.</p><p>&ldquo;You have a lot of authority and you have an advantage of force over others in a significant way,&rdquo; Costas said. &ldquo;You must carry that with humility and respect for the citizens.&rdquo;</p><p>Attorney Trent McCain says having a better system of accountability in place could save cities and towns money.</p><p>&ldquo;The number of lawsuits against Northwest Indiana cities and towns like Hammond can be reduced if a fair, transparent process existed where citizens can voice their complaints against police,&rdquo; McCain said.</p><p>Maldonado says after her complaint about the dog shooting was dismissed she no longer felt comfortable living in Hammond and moved back to her native Cicero, Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;I loved it in Hammond. I really did,&rdquo; Maldonado said.</p><p>Maldonado said she was left to explain to her children that police are there to protect them, not bring harm.</p><p>&ldquo;Not all cops are bad. There are a bunch of bad apples out there but not all of them are bad and it&rsquo;s sad that to this day we never had an apology from them, and that&rsquo;s all I really asked for in the beginning and they never gave us that,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. declined to comment for this story.</p><p>Sunday&rsquo;s rally to address concerns about police brutality will be held outside McDermott&rsquo;s city hall office.</p></p> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 12:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/recent-incidents-cast-doubt-hammond-police-accountability-critics-say-111228 Chicago protestors focus on the future http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-protestors-focus-future-111201 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/friday protest.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Hundreds of people demonstrated on Chicago&#39;s West Side over the weekend to bring more attention to the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.</p><p>Area pastors encouraged congregants to join a march shutting down the intersection of Madison and Pulaski. Demonstrators say this is only the beginning of a movement that&#39;ll go beyond holding signs in the streets.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194" target="_blank">Who polices the police in Chicago? Mostly ex-cops</a></strong></p></blockquote><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/180564592&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Thousands of church-goers also ditched their traditional services and flooded streets all throughout Chicago&#39;s South Side on Sunday. Their pastors urged them to march in solidarity with protesters who for weeks now have been bringing attention to cases of black men killed by police. Pastors say the marches should have taken place decades ago.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Listen to the Morning Shift conversation</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/180557897&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-protestors-focus-future-111201 The Michael Brown Law: Chicago's reception to cops wearing body cameras http://www.wbez.org/michael-brown-law-chicagos-reception-cops-wearing-body-cameras-111173 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/police_body_cameras.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">The relationship between Chicago police and many residents has been tense and complicated for years. And for some, the events in Ferguson over the last few months have highlighted the tensions. Nineteen-year-old Shea was with other protesters outside Chicago Police Headquarters Monday night, waiting to hear the grand jury&rsquo;s decision. She said she doesn&rsquo;t trust the police, and feels like minorities in Chicago have targets on their backs.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;They put so much fear into people that we can&rsquo;t even trust them to even call them and say, &lsquo;Hey, someone&rsquo;s in my house, stealing something.&rsquo; We can&rsquo;t even trust them to do that,&rdquo; Shea told WBEZ.</p><p dir="ltr">Police are aware of the mistrust&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(84, 84, 84); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 16.5454540252686px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&mdash;&nbsp;</span>they feel it too. When Supt. Garry McCarthy first came to Chicago, he offered WBEZ some historical context. McCarthy said historically, police have been a de facto symbol of racist policies in this country.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Slavery was written into the Constitution, segregation, Jim Crow, you name it. The point is it was the police departments who enforced those laws. That builds natural distrust and a narrative in that community that before we even step on the block, there&rsquo;s a natural distrust,&rdquo; McCarthy explained back in 2012.</p><p dir="ltr">Attitudes like Shea&rsquo;s are omnipresent&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(84, 84, 84); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 16.5454540252686px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&mdash;&nbsp;</span>and that&rsquo;s why many Chicagoans are in favor of body cameras for police.</p><p dir="ltr">For a long time, residents had no way to legally document what the mistrust between citizens and police officers looked and sounded like. Illinois had a strict law against recording conversations without all parties&rsquo; consent. But that law was struck down by the Illinois Supreme Court earlier this year--and now, there&rsquo;s an opportunity to write legislation that includes police body cameras.</p><p dir="ltr">Dean Angelo represents more than 10,000 Chicago police officers as president of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge. Angelo said many of his officers aren&rsquo;t ready to buy into police cameras. After all, Angelo said, the work of police officers makes them suspicious by nature. He was one of several local law enforcement officers who gave testimony before a joint Illinois judiciary committee hearing.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Our members sit in two camps: One is no. And the other one is, it&rsquo;s coming anyway,&rdquo; Angelo said.</p><p dir="ltr">But cops do like the idea of having an official video of record--instead of unofficial cell phone videos that can be manipulated.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I imagine that the people that are the proponents of the gotcha type of mentality with this environment of using body cameras are going to be extremely surprised what an officer confronts on each and every day of their watch,&rdquo; said Angelo.</p><p dir="ltr">Angelo added that &ldquo;a certain segment of the population&rdquo; has no respect for Chicago police officers. The benefit of these body cameras, he said, is revealing officers&rsquo; daily reality.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Eyes will be opened and you&rsquo;ll see what heroes you have on the streets every day. How tolerant they are, how professional they are and how good they are at their jobs,&rdquo; Angelo explained.</p><p dir="ltr">But Sean Smoot with the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association worries that cameras won&rsquo;t capture the complete picture, or the whole experience of the street officer.</p><p dir="ltr">The cameras are about the size of a pager. They&rsquo;re usually worn on an officer&rsquo;s chest. They don&rsquo;t offer a 360-degree view--and there&rsquo;s no real depth perception.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We know from officers who are involved in critical incidents and frankly anyone who has a gun pointed at them, their eye, their brain immediately focuses on the barrel of the gun and what&rsquo;s happening on the sides or in the periphery, the brain doesn&rsquo;t process where a camera might,&rdquo; Smoot said.</p><p dir="ltr">And, Smoot added, a camera can&rsquo;t know when a witness or victim is feeling uncomfortable or overexposed.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think any of us want to see a YouTube video released of a police officer interviewing a rape victim for instance,&rdquo; Smoot said.</p><p dir="ltr">Local law enforcement agencies want officers to decide when cameras should be rolling. But with a history of mistrust and misconduct, that&rsquo;s likely a tough sell in Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">State Rep. Elgie Sims raised questions about the merits of body cameras at the recent judiciary committee hearing. Sims represents Illinois&rsquo; 34th district, which covers the South and Southeast sides of Chicago and some surrounding suburbs. He said the district has some great police in the area--but there are also some bad actors.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had my own personal experiences with police officers where I know that if there were body cameras in play, the conversation and the interaction would&rsquo;ve been a lot different,&rdquo; Sims shared.</p><p dir="ltr">Sims said it&rsquo;s very difficult to have to explain those interactions to your children. He believes body cameras have the ability to curb bad behavior on both sides: Because there are folks, Sims said, who will make false accusations against officers. But he still wouldn&rsquo;t want to give one actor the ability to control the story.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If you have the ability to turn the camera on when it&rsquo;s the most appropriate for you, it puts a different spin on the story,&rdquo; Sims explained.</p><p dir="ltr">Instead, show the whole story, start to finish, he said, and lay out exceptions to the rules--like when it would be unsafe for the officer, a witness or a victim.</p><p dir="ltr">There are other concerns being raised by law enforcement and lawmakers. Questions about privacy protections and data storage. And, of course, the cost.</p><p dir="ltr">The cameras are between $800 and $1,200 each&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(84, 84, 84); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 16.5454540252686px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&mdash;&nbsp;</span>but it&rsquo;s storing what the lens captures that&rsquo;s most costly. The New Orleans Police Department, for example, estimates it will pay $2 million per year to outfit 900 officers with cameras, and most of that goes to data storage.</p><p dir="ltr">When Illinois lawmakers discussed the issue, they&rsquo;d intended to bring up body cameras during the fall veto session. But as the political landscape has gotten more complicated, House Committee Chair Rep. Elaine Nekritz said she&rsquo;d be surprised if it came up in the veto session at all.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez" target="_blank"> @katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 17:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/michael-brown-law-chicagos-reception-cops-wearing-body-cameras-111173 Campus police: real deal or rent-a-cops? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071 <p><p>Say you are driving around Chicago and you happen to run a red light. There are no Chicago police officers around, but there is a university police car right behind you. Could you still get a ticket?</p><p>That&rsquo;s exactly what Jef Johnson was wondering when he started noticing University of Chicago Police Department cars all over his Bronzeville neighborhood.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the question Jef sent our way:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Are police forces at local universities real police or simply security companies? How much policing power do they have?</em></p><p>We found a straightforward legal answer about how this works in Illinois. There is a spectrum of authority that ranges from security guard to all-out cop. At the far end of that spectrum are Jef&rsquo;s own University of Chicago police. He didn&rsquo;t know it at the time but UCPD is almost unique, with a particularly strong hand when it comes to power and jurisdiction. Those officers don&rsquo;t just protect students, staff and campus &mdash; the UCPD serves as the primary police force for 65,000 Chicagoans, and most are not affiliated with the university.</p><p>That prompted a question that should interest anyone, even those who never encounter these officers: How can a private police force get jurisdiction over so much of the public?</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not your father&rsquo;s rent-a-cops</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with that legal distinction we found. If you&rsquo;re anything like Jef, you probably assume that campus police officers aren&rsquo;t real police, and they have little authority other than the power to break up rowdy parties.</p><p>&ldquo;I always thought somehow that they were rent-a-cops,&rdquo; Jef said.</p><p>But that&rsquo;s not always the case, according Cora Beem, who manages mandated training for the<a href="http://www.ptb.state.il.us/aboutus.htm" target="_blank"> Illinois Law Enforcement Standards &amp; Training Board</a>. She said the big distinction to be made is between campus security guards and campus police. The latter undergo the same basic training and certification that state and municipal police officers do. With that certification, they have the same authority as any other police officer in the state, even if they are privately employed.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; public universities employ campus police, but private universities can choose to hire plain old security guards. Those guards might be armed, but they don&rsquo;t have the power to give Jef Johnson a ticket, and they certainly cannot patrol off campus.</p><p>Like many private schools in Illinois, the University of Chicago voluntarily upgraded its security force to a police force 25 years ago. According to Beem, that means they are definitely not rent-a-cops.</p><p>&ldquo;They can write you a ticket. They can arrest you,&rdquo; Beem explained. &ldquo;They can counsel and release you, so yes, they&rsquo;re real cops.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction</span></p><p><iframe height="480" src="https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/embed?mid=zD1cveoHRWh8.kfGTEakNbuXk" width="620"></iframe></p><p>With more than 100 full-time officers, the University of Chicago&rsquo;s police department is one of the largest private police forces anywhere. Not only that, UCPD also has a really big patrol area &mdash; they cover 6.5 square miles, most of which is beyond the core of the University of Chicago&#39;s South Side campus.</p><p>But why can UCPD officers patrol so far from campus in the mid-South Side? According to Craig Futterman, a clinical professor of law at University of Chicago Law School, the department&rsquo;s status is almost unique.</p><p>&ldquo;The deal is that there is a city ordinance in Chicago that grants the police superintendent the power to appoint special policemen for the city of Chicago,&rdquo; he explained.</p><p>This <a href="http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Illinois/chicago_il/title4businessesoccupationsandconsumerpr/chapter4-340specialpolicemenandsecurityg?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_Ch.4-340" target="_blank">ordinance allows private police forces to assume the powers and responsibilities of municipal police</a>, not just on campus but in surrounding neighborhoods. UCPD is only one of two private forces in Chicago with this &ldquo;special police&rdquo; designation. The other force is that of Northwestern University Law School, but its <a href="http://directives.chicagopolice.org/attachments/S12-01_Att2.jpg" target="_blank">patrol area extends just a few blocks beyond its Streeterville campus </a>north of Chicago&rsquo;s Loop.</p><p>Once the ordinance was passed in 1992, UCPD negotiated its extended jurisdiction with Chicago&rsquo;s police superintendent. To the north, University of Chicago&rsquo;s main campus stops at 55th Street. UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction, however, extends all the way to 37th Street, even farther than Jef Johnson&rsquo;s home in Bronzeville.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/u%20of%20c%20charters.png" title="University of Chicago's Woodlawn Charter School, left, and Donoghue Charter School, right, are on the southern and northern ends of UCPD's extended jurisdiction. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ) " /></div><p>Futterman says Chicago&#39;s police superintendent has granted UCPD more independence than it once had. In years&nbsp;past, university police needed administrative assistance to complete arrests.</p><p>&ldquo;The arrest, though, would be formalized and would be processed at a local chicago police department district station, usually whatever district the arrest was because UCPD operated in more than one Chicago police district,&rdquo; Futterman explained. Last year that changed. Now UCPD reports directly to the state and can process arrests independently. According to the university, this arrangement allows both departments to operate more efficiently.</p><p>Maintaining a large police force is expensive, but the university says its worth it. On this, an emailed statement from the UCPD reads: &ldquo;The extended patrol area enhances safety and security through the mid-South Side, which is home to a large number of University of Chicago faculty members, students and staff.&rdquo; The statement mentions the university&rsquo;s interest in protecting its charter schools and other properties within the extended patrol area.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The community speaks</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/meeting%20WEB.jpg" title="University of Chicago students and South Side residents held a forum October 29, 2014, at Hyde Park's Experimental Station to discuss UCPD's presence in their neighborhoods. (WBEZ/Ellen Mayer)" /></p><p>UCPD&rsquo;s jurisdiction doesn&rsquo;t just include university students and employees; again, the department protects approximately 65,000 residents. How do they feel about UCPD&rsquo;s presence in their neighborhoods?</p><p>On Wednesday, October 29, <a href="http://www.experimentalstation.org/" target="_blank">Hyde Park&rsquo;s Experimental Station</a> held a forum for students and South Side residents to discuss exactly that. Organizers also invited former UCPD chief Rudy Nimocks. He was at the helm when UCPD expanded its jurisdiction. As he recalls it, the university received community support as it broadened its jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;We had public hearings,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We were asked to come in. At each one of the sessions I said, &lsquo;We&rsquo;ll stay here as long as you want us.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s how it&rsquo;s been ever since.&rdquo;</p><p>Nimocks has a point. Almost every speaker at the community forum expressed gratitude that UCPD has made their neighborhoods safer. That being said, almost every speaker also had a story to tell about UCPD racially profiling black residents who live within the extended jurisdiction.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/triggs%20FOR%20WEB.jpg" style="float: left; height: 246px; width: 370px;" title="Jamel Triggs, who attended the recent forum on neighborhood UCPD presence, says he's been stopped by UCPD six times since returning from the Marine Corps in May. (Ellen Mayer/WBEZ)" />Jamel Triggs, a young black man who works at the Experimental Station&rsquo;s bike shop, said he had been stopped by UCPD six times since he returned from the Marine Corps in May. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re supposed to be protecting and serving us. That&rsquo;s supposed to be the goal,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.&rdquo;</p><p>According to Triggs, the neighborhood doesn&rsquo;t feel safer if he has to worry about being stopped by UCPD. He said he is also concerned about the safety of the younger kids he mentors at the bike shop. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want these kids walking around being scared of the police and being scared of the gangbangers out in the streets,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;because I was, and it hurts.&rdquo;</p><p>A student group called South Side Solidarity Network has launched a campaign to end perceived racial profiling by UCPD. The trouble is, all their evidence is anecdotal. To firm up accusations of wrongdoing, SSSN has asked UCPD to release records indicating the race of residents the department stops and searches. So far, the department has refused.</p><p>Another emailed statement responds to accusations of racial profiling. &ldquo;The University of Chicago Police Department does not deploy tactics that support racial profiling,&rdquo; it states. &ldquo;As a department, we often and openly discuss our policing strategies to ensure our officers are not engaging deliberately or inadvertently in bias-based policing.&rdquo;</p><p>Without releasing records and data, however, UCPD is asking the public to take them at their word.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Private police and public accountability</span></p><p>This is where Jef Johnson&rsquo;s curiosity about &nbsp;potential traffic stops in Bronzeville morphed into a much bigger question about the transparency and accountability of a private police force. The 1992 Chicago ordinance that allows for the creation of special police includes technical language about certificates and licensing fees, but it doesn&rsquo;t address the public&rsquo;s right to information when a private force takes on the responsibilities of municipal police. UCPD is not a governmental agency, therefore it is not required to release records under Illinois&rsquo; Freedom of Information Act.</p><p>The University of Chicago does have a <a href="http://safety-security.uchicago.edu/police/contact_the_ucpd/complaint_process/" target="_blank">process for investigating complaints against UCPD</a>, but that process will soon get an overhaul. Until now, all investigations were performed in-house, by a fellow UCPD officer. In response to <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140311/hyde-park/university-of-chicago-police-no-longer-accountable-petition-claims" target="_blank">criticism about UCPD&rsquo;s perceived lack of oversight</a>, the university recently announced the hiring of a new director of professional accountability. This new position will not be filled by a uniformed officer.</p><p>So what did Jef think about all this?</p><p>&ldquo;This is much bigger than I thought when I asked the question,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I worry about a private police force. It just sounds like maybe we&rsquo;re handing too much power to them.&rdquo; Jef said he is most concerned that the average Chicagoan might never know that UCPD had such a huge jurisdiction.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s scary in that sense,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just finding this out, and I&rsquo;ve been living in this area ten years.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Now we have an answer. Who asked the question?</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jef.jpg" style="float: right; margin: 5px;" title="Jef Johnson asked our question about university police after noticing UCPD officers far from campus. (Photo courtesy of Jef Johnson)" />Judging by the number of questions Jef Johnson has submitted to our <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/" target="_blank">list of question-based story pitches</a>, he is one very curious guy. (For the record, that would be seven ... and counting!) If you haven&rsquo;t run across any of his questions we haven&rsquo;t answered yet, you might remember Jef as the truck enthusiast who launched <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/question-answered-why-ban-pickups-lake-shore-drive-where-can-they-park-104631" target="_blank">our investigation about pickup truck laws in Chicago</a>.</p><p>It turns out this question about university police was also inspired by Jef&rsquo;s driving habits. He says he first began wondering about UCPD&rsquo;s authority on a day when President Barack Obama was visiting his home in the Kenwood neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;They blocked off a lot of my streets, so I was taking some back streets and I saw University of Chicago Police cars in areas that seem far away from the University of Chicago.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>When Jef isn&rsquo;t thinking up questions for Curious City, he&rsquo;s a wedding minister employed by the city of Chicago.</p><p><em>Ellen Mayer is the Curious City intern. Follow her on Twitter at<a href="http://twitter.com/cementley" target="_blank"> @</a>ellenrebeccam.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/campus-police-real-deal-or-rent-cops-111071