Chicago leads NYC, LA in police shootings
June 12, 2006 (WLS) -- Officers from the Chicago Police Department have been involved in 20 shootings since January 1, 2006. While CPD officials caution comparing numbers, the rate is higher than that of the nation's two biggest cities.
In June, there have been two shootings involving Chicago police officers. The first occurred on June 3 at a South Side Dominick's store, 2100 West 71st Street, when officers confronted an alleged shoplifter with a handgun.
"The argument broke out between one of the customers in the store and the police, and then the action started, bullets started flying," said Eric Clark, witness.
Three days later, a man with knife allegedly lunged at an officer called to the scene of a domestic disturbance in the 5500-block of South Washtenaw.
"The offender ran at an officer with the knife in his hand, preparing to stab the officer at that point. Several officers opened fire. The offender is dead on the scene," said Pat Camden, Chicago Police spokesman, on June 6.
Since January 1, 2006, Chicago police have shot 20 suspects. Nine of them were fatally wounded. In Los Angeles, which has an estimated one million more residents, police have shot only 17 suspects during the same period. Five of them have died. In New York City, with a population two and a half times larger than Chicago, police have shot only 15 suspects. Five were fatally wounded.
A Chicago spokeswoman cautioned against comparing numbers from different cities. "In every one of the cases, a weapon was recovered and the offender attempted to use that weapon against the officer."
The Reverend Paul Jakes, anti-police brutality activist, is outraged by Chicago's numbers and the police department's explanation for them:
" I just can't buy every time that an individual has a gun or knife -- I just don't believe Chicago is as crazy as they say," said Rev. Paul Jakes, Anti-Police Brutality Activist.
Other activists blame racism and a Chicago law enforcement culture that promotes "shoot first and ask questions later" when dealing with black and Latino males. African-Americans and Latinos make up the vast majority of police shooting victims. Attorney Standish Willis blames local and federal prosecutors for allowing that culture to fester.
"When they start prosecuting police for violence against black people and Latino people, they will stop being violent or they will decrease being violent," said Willis.
The 20 Chicago police shootings so far in 2006 is an improvement over 2005. During the first five months of last year, Chicago police shot 29 people. That number was also higher than either New York or Los Angeles.
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