Policing, Violence, and (In)justice

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Perhaps more than any other large city in the nation, Chicago is defined by vastly uneven levels of exposure to aggressive policing and violence. These two issues disproportionately affect the lives of African Americans in the city. For example, although African Americans constitute roughly 30% of the population of Chicago, over 70% of the individuals stopped by Chicago police in 2016 were African American. This is a far greater proportion of African Americans being stopped by the police than in New York City, which recently made national news for its discriminatory stop-and-frisk practices. In their investigation of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the U.S. Department of Justice suggests that the CPD’s practice of disproportionately stopping black people is related to its tactical approach to proactive policing, which prizes “aggression, hustle, and effort” yet leads to the unfair pursuit and criminalization of black and brown young people. According to the Justice Department, these disparate interactions and systemic deficiencies lead to the harms of unreasonable and excessive force. Thus, where Chicagoans live and their racial and/or ethnic identity significantly determines if and how they will interact with the police.