An analysis of Chicago Police Department data shows that African-American males comprise the vast majority of those shot by the police, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Chicago police officers killed 92 people in 435 shootings, in which they fired 2,623 bullets from 2010 to 2015. Most of the shootings happened in gang infested areas on the city’s South and West Side neighborhoods, and about half the officers involved in the shootings were Black or Hispanic.
“While a few of those incidents captured widespread attention, they occurred with such brutal regularity — and with scant information provided by police — that most have escaped public scrutiny,” The Tribune said.
The newspaper said it had to threaten a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department to obtain the data.
Chicago Police Union President Dean Angelo told the newspaper that racial bias is not a factor when police officers must make a split second decision on whether to fire their weapon:
“When you look at the map, 80 percent of narcotics arrests, gun arrests and gang arrests happen in these poor areas. Where you’ve got dope, you’ve got guns. It’s not about ethnicity — it’s about criminal involvement.”
Community activist Charles Jenkins disagreed. He insisted to The Tribune that race is a factor:
“It’s easier to believe, because they’re Black, that an officer was in fear of their life and get(s) off.”
Indeed, officers typically claimed that they feared for their lives in these shootings—a factor required to justify lethal force.
The Tribune discovered that 60 percent of officers claimed that a suspect pointed a weapon at them or made a sudden move that lead them to believe that lethal force was necessary.
This analysis comes in the aftermath of the Laquan McDonald shooting, in which public pressure lead to the release of a police dash-cam video. Prosecutors charged Officer Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old African-American.
SOURCE: Chicago Tribune | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty