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The [Thursday] Papers

"Months after revealing the Chicago Police Department set up sobriety checkpoints almost exclusively in African-American and Latino communities, the Tribune has found that the pattern continues," the paper reports.

"Between March and August, Chicago police scheduled 14 roadside checks, pulling over drivers randomly to check for drunken driving and other violations. Nine of the checks were in majority black police districts. Four checkpoints occurred in a predominantly Latino districts. There was one in a majority white area. That's despite the fact that the Tribune has in the past shown some predominantly white districts in Chicago had more alcohol-related crashes than many minority districts."

Consider:

No corner of the city had more checkpoints than the Harrison District on the city's West Side, where police have scheduled three of the random stops since March. An earlier Tribune analysis of state traffic data found that the majority black district ranked 10th out of the city's 22 districts for the number of alcohol-related crashes in recent years.

The Englewood District followed closely behind in crashes, yet police scheduled two roadside checks in the predominantly African-American South Side district in recent months. On March 20, police scheduled a checkpoint in the majority black Grand Crossing District even though the area has had the fewest alcohol-related crashes in the city.

Meanwhile, no checkpoints were scheduled in the majority white Jefferson Park District despite ranking third citywide for the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Police officials have maintained the lack of checkpoints there has nothing to do with the fact that roughly one-fifth of the city's police officers and their families live there.

Rahm?

"[We] respect the hard work of the men and women who protect us every day and do it in a way that's also consistent with our values of being fair and progressive."

Oh wait, that's him defending his proposed $500 million property tax increase.

"I want to be clear as mayor what our values are. And there is no place for discrimination. No place for racism. And no place for expressing discriminatory or racist views. You represent the city of Chicago and all of the people that pay your salary."

Oh wait, that's him commenting on a cop who said Michael Brown deserved to be killed.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office declined requests for comment."

There it is. Good job, Rahmie.

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From the Trib in May:

"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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FYI, from a Trib editorial in May:

"The Chicago Police Department has good reason to use checkpoints. But it should review how they are assigned. Targeting minority motorists, even unintentionally, can produce needless resentment and distrust of law enforcement. If there's unfair enforcement - really, no checkpoints in Jefferson Park? - it could have significant consequences, letting impaired drivers operate more freely in some areas than others."

So funny - the editorial board's concern is that drunk drivers are operating more freely in some areas than others, which misses nearly the entire point of the paper's investigation, which found yet another bracing example of how the criminal justice system is tilted against people of color. For all they care, the disparity could have found that police districts with fewer trees are targeted more than districts like leafy Jefferson Park - if even unintentionally! Equal up those checkpoints!

Guess what: I'm 99.99999 percent sure no member of the editorial board is black and lives in one of the targeted districts. But then, you shouldn't have to be to see the disgrace of this situation - even more so to see that Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy haven't done jack shit to remedy it. It's about values.

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P.S.: Maybe the objective of the checkpoints isn't really to catch drunk drivers, but to have an excuse to pull over people of color.

Me, in May:

"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.

My guess is that this is part of the police department's crime-fighting strategy far more than an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Me, again, from May:

"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.

I strongly advise you read the Trib's stories and the rest of my May column.

Con College
A faithful member of Beachwood Nation writes:

We call this oddly appropriate public service programming, though it comes just a smidge too late to save College of DuPage from its leadership flimflams.

Maybe it's just a profound lack of self-awareness.

In what seems a variant on bordellos running abstinence seminars, COD actually is hosting lecturer Frank Abagnale, the world-known con man (Catch Me If You Can) on Sept. 22.

This appears to be a totally accidental and unrelated collision of cosmic hilarities. He teaches everyone how not to get conned financially, though it's a little late for all the suited skunks taking fat paychecks from COD.

Maybe someone in the crowd will ask how to prevent terrible university presidents from ripping off taxpayers as they pull the ripcord on golden parachutes.

Well done, my friend.

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The Andy Kaufman Award
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European Luxury In Oak Brook
At the Drake.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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It's learning.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Here to save the day.



Permalink

Posted on September 10, 2015


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock Including Riot Fest Highlights.
TV - The Digital Divide.
POLITICS - Rhymefest vs. Obama.
SPORTS - Tales Of The Turtles.

BOOKS - How Comics Captured Vietnam.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - 100-Year-Old Petrified Uniformities Of The Modern Art World vs. The Moral Grandeur Of Majestic Impressionism.


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