Chicago Protest: Mayoral Task Force Takes Latest Teen’s Death As Motive For Epic Changes In Chicago Police Department

A Chicago protest is on the rise once more after the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a police officer. CNN reports that the death of 16-year-old Pierre Loury prompted hundreds to hit the streets Tuesday night to protest against law enforcement.

According to the report, the Police Accountability Task Force said police “have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” The task force added that the police have a broken relationship with blacks and Hispanics in the community due to force.

Task force chairwoman Lori Lightfoot explained that “not an indictment of the entire police department” but did emphasize that “a culture of accountability… is fundamentally lacking.”

As the New York Daily News reports, Pierre Loury was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer on Monday night after he jumped over a fence and fled from cops. Police say the officer shot at the 16-year-old suspected gang member because he pulled out a gun. The teen’s family insists that he was unarmed.

“Everything they said on the news is not the truth,” his mother, Tambrasha Hudson, told the Chicago Tribune. “It is not the truth. It’s not the truth.”

According to reports, patrolling officers stopped the teen when he was spotted near a car they believed was used in a previous shooting.

Witnesses say that Pierre Loury was shot as he was hopping the fence. Police say that Loury pulled out a gun and pointed it at the officer in pursuit of him. When he allegedly did so, the officer opened fire. A weapon was recovered at the scene, but it’s unclear if it belonged to Loury.

Loury was rushed to the hospital but died from a bullet wound to the chest.

A Chicago protest soon followed, with over 100 people gathering for a vigil and demonstrations on Tuesday. CNN reports that two protesters were taken into custody for blocking traffic. An estimated 200 to 300 protesters eventually converged at the site.

According to the report, a “comprehensive use of force investigation” is being conducted and that the officer involved in the shooting is placed on administrative duty.

The department is suspected of systematic racism and is accused of not taking accountability of mistrust. A report that was released by the Police Accountability Task Force on Wednesday skewered the Chicago Police Department.

“The community’s lack of trust in CPD is justified,” reads the report. “There is substantial evidence that people of color — particularly African-Americans — have had disproportionately negative experiences with the police over an extended period of time.
“There is also substantial evidence that these experiences continue today through enforcement and other practices that disproportionately affect and often show little respect for people of color.”

The report cited eight years of deaths and injuries of African Americans by Chicago police officers amounting to 74 percent. The task force found that 72 percent of people stopped by the CPD in 2014 were African Americans, while 17 percent were Hispanic.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel created the task force in December. He went on to add that his task force has “heard over and over again from a range of voices, particularly from African-Americans, that some CPD officers are racist, have no respect for the lives and experiences of people of color and approach every encounter with people of color as if the person, regardless of age, gender or circumstance, is a criminal.”

Emanuel has made some major changes. The mayor also put together a task force to review how the city trains and oversees its police officers. The mayoral task force included five Chicago residents who’ve been leaders in the justice system.

Emanuel also put in a request for the resignation of Garry McCarthy as police superintendent and hired police veteran Eddie Johnson as the interim police superintendent.

McCarthy was let go after a prolonged wait to release footage from a dashboard camera that showed the shooting death of another black teen, Laquan McDonald, in October 2014 by a white police officer. The boy’s death fueled a Chicago protest then as well.

“McDonald’s shooting became the tipping point for long-simmering community anger,” the task force report said. “The videotape was painful, horrific and illuminating in ways that irrefutably exemplified what those in communities of color have long said, and shocked and stirred the conscience of those in other neighborhoods.”

The mayoral task force said police reform is possible with a strong commitment to first acknowledge that there’s a damaged history between police and the citizens of Chicago. People are left “alienated from the police, and afraid for their physical and emotional safety.”

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]