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The [Friday] Papers

Whoomp, there it is.

My early read is that the Illinois Supreme Court basically said that state government can't violate the state Constitution just by declaring an emergency demanding fiscal martial law - especially when state government created the emergency and has a raft of other remedies that leaves the Constitution intact.

But that's just my early read. I'll have to study the coverage over the weekend.

Now, to another story demanding your attention.

"Chicago's Jefferson Park police district is drawn around a leafy residential area on the Northwest Side, home to about one-fifth of the city's police officers and their families. The district, which is predominantly white, also has one of the highest rates of drunken driving accidents and fatalities, but police haven't set up a sobriety checkpoint there in more than five years," Angela Caputo reports for the Tribune, where she recently took a job after a terrific run at the Chicago Reporter.

"Seven miles due south, Chicago police have announced 10 roadside checks over the same period in the Austin district, a hardscrabble stretch along the city's West Side that is predominantly black and where there were four times fewer alcohol-related crashes than in Jefferson Park."

Now, bear in mind, it's quite possible that not a single cop involved is a bigot. Yet, the actions of their department are clearly racist. Imagine that!

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"A Tribune investigation found that in Chicago, 84 percent of the roadside checks were scheduled in areas populated mostly by minorities while roadways in areas with more DUI-related crashes that are predominantly white are checked less often, or not at all."

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Living while black. It starts early.

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"Of Chicago's 22 police districts, nine are majority-black, five white, four Latino and four have no racial majority. From February 2010 through June 2014, the most recent period with complete data available, Chicago police scheduled 152 roadside sobriety checks. Of those, 127 were in black or Latino police districts.

"Only six roadside checks were in the majority-white police districts. That's less than 4 percent of the DUI checkpoints conducted citywide, even though those districts included 25 percent of the city's alcohol-related accidents from 2010 through 2012, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation's most recent records."

Geez, maybe black people should just stick to pot.

Oh.

*

"Chicago Police Department officials say they use traffic accident data to determine where they'll set up the stops but declined multiple opportunities to explain why so many roadside checks occurred in neighborhoods where the number of alcohol-related crashes was relatively low."

Maybe they were too busy gathering red-light camera data.

*

"Like other municipalities across the six-county area, Chicago police conducting roadside sobriety checks have written far more tickets for minor offenses than they have made drunken driving arrests."

Given that, it's not even accurate to call them roadside sobriety checks anymore. They are simply harassment stops.

*

"The results provide fodder to critics who have long questioned whether the stops are effective - or justify the infringement on thousands of drivers who are stopped by police each year only because they are in a checkpoint zone. They also wonder whether the primary motivation for the checks is to rack up violations and revenue or to find other criminal activity."

Look, if the goal was to crack down on drunk driving, you'd go to where the drunk drivers are.

Now, if the goal is to raise revenue, you'd go to where the drunk drivers not likely to challenge the charges in court are.

If the goal is to use drunk driving as a pretext to, say, take guns off the street by stopping "suspicious" drivers, you'd go to where the guns are.

If the goal is to harass black people, you'd go to where the black people are.

If the goal is to police high-crime areas tightly by essentially creating police states where vehicles can be stopped at all times and citizens questioned, which I suspect is really going on, you're probably violating the Constitution - and giving white drunk drivers more leeway to harm others while instilling more fear and distrust into black drivers, who disproportionately live where the crime is, for some strange reason.

*

And then there's court.

And jail.

It's almost like the whole system is rigged!

*

"The Tribune found that nearly 270,000 citations were issued through roadside checks and special DUI patrols across Illinois during the state's fiscal years 2008 to 2013, the most current span for which Illinois records are available. Of those citations, 93 percent were for relatively minor traffic infractions or non-moving violations.

"Nationally, the stops have never proved all that effective in leading to alcohol-related arrests, said Sam Canzoneri, executive director of the Illinois chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which for decades has lobbied for the extra patrols. But the checks weren't designed to be just about arrests, he said.

"'They're a deterrent,' said Canzoneri, a former Lake Bluff police officer, who points out that drunken driving deaths have been cut nearly in half since the roadside checks began expanding across the nation in the early 1990s. 'It works. You're taking drunk drivers off the road.'"

So Canzoneri says the stops are not effective in leading to arrests, but he claims the stops take drunk drivers off the road because, knowing about the sobriety checks, drunk drivers take cabs or something.

His evidence? A classic case of correlation not equaling causation. Teenage pregnancy has declined since the early 1990s, too, but I doubt it's because of roadside sobriety checks.

*

"Chicago police - like some other Illinois agencies - issue news releases or public service announcements with details about where they'll set up checkpoints. Officers stop every third or fifth car, depending on local protocol. Typically, they first check for a valid driver's license and insurance card. Vehicles are also inspected for equipment violations. Some drivers are pulled into a secondary screening area and their names are run through the secretary of state's records."

I've never understood why police agencies announce where their checkpoints will be. Isn't that like telling the batter what the next pitch will be?

(I know; Canzoneri will stay it's a deterrent. I'd say if it's a deterrent at all it's simply a deterrent to take another route home.)

*

When I was a police reporter in Florida, I know law enforcement agencies would often announce increased patrols on holiday weekends as a deterrent, even though patrols weren't always actually increased. This might be the most effective strategy of all because you don't have to expend any resources on real checkpoints.

*

Finally, "Grand Crossing [is] tied for No. 1 among police districts for DUI checkpoints. Grand Crossing also ranks No. 1 in fewest drunken driving incidents in Chicago."

Grand Crossing is 96.9% black.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat
Two ways.

Fantasy Fix: Run, Rizzo, Run
Not so much Chris Sale.

NSA Phone Program Illegal
Snowden vs. Obama.

Workmans' Comp Warning
Bruce Rauner doesn't care about your limbs.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #50
Is in post-production!

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Dragonforce, Fidlar, Pet Vices, Smif-n-Wessun, Frank Turner, Faith No More, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Author and Punisher, Dance Gavin Dance, Ciara, Kamelot, and Copeland.

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I was a guest on Ken Davis's Chicago Newsroom on Thursday with Flint Taylor. We discussed the city's torture reparations ordinance and Homan Square. You can watch here on Saturday at 7 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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BeachBook
* The Hamburglar Grew Up To Be An EDM-Loving Asshole Dad.

* Woman Files Class-Action Against United Airlines For Lying About Wi-Fi.

* Tom Thibodeau Is Even More Intense Than You Thought.

* The Cavaliers Should Have Thought A Little Harder About This Promo.

* Starlin Castro Mimics Kris Bryant's Throw, Confuses Anthony Rizzo.

* Edgewater Lounge On The Market.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Tipping point.



Permalink

Posted on May 8, 2015


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
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POLITICS - Filing: Walmart CEO Made $22.4 Million Last Year.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Pace Pantsed.

BOOKS - America, We Need To Talk.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Bus Stop.


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