The Crusader Newspaper Group

NAACP moves to retain all police records

By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader

In a unified effort, the Chicago and West Side NAACP Chapters are demanding that all police-involved shootings and other official misconduct records be permanently retained, fearing their destruction would keep federal officials from proving a “pattern and practice” of abuse.

Reminded that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is moving to erase misconduct from the files of Chicago police all except the last five-years, Rose Joshua, president of the Chicago South Side NAACP chapter, said this is unacceptable.

“Futterman suggested we amend a piece of legislation” that if passed would retain all police misconduct records. “The FOP filed a lawsuit complaining and attempted to enjoin the city of Chicago from having access to those records which go back to 1967,” said Joshua on “The Strausberg Report.” The FOP’s contract says those records can be destroyed all except the last five years.

“I think that the issue is contractual, and they may have an argument there,” when Joshua said referring to the FOP. “Because of what has been happening in the city of Chicago, the question is whether or not the judge in this particular case would not accept the contractual argument of the FOP.”

Joshua also said, “Those records need to be preserved because there are activists and organizations working on cases which involve police misconduct that go back to 1967 and probably before that. To destroy those records would somewhat violate the public interests.”

“The NAACP is not directly involved in this case, but we made a petition to the local record commission with our position to preserve those misconduct records.  We are also working with (state) legislators in getting the Local Records Act amended to included the preservation of police misconduct records,” she said.

Asked her opinion of the Laquan McDonald video where officer Jason Van Dyke shot the 17-year-old youth, who was running away from the police, “That was unacceptable because if he were running away from the police officers, I ask why did they have to use that type of deadly force.” She said they could have used a Taser, which none of them allegedly had.

Joshua said these incidents have happened because “our communities don’t understand and sometimes I do not understand the workings and the process of the police department and what they do even though there is about 13 police districts in the city of Chicago. The question is do those police districts on the South and West Side have the resources they need to protect our community.”

“These police officers did not have tasers or so they said,” she said. Joshua is looking at the organizational structural of the police department and “what programs the police have to connect to our community. If your job is to connect and serve, then we should know what programs they have.”

Reminded that is not the problem when white youth are arrested, police, corrections sources say, call the fathers and they are not charged; however, Blacks usually don’t get that courtesy and are arrested. Joshua acknowledges that saying, “The solution is we need to understand and know how the police department works and their programs. What do they, have for our communities to bring them together?”

“Not all of the police districts in the city of Chicago have the station adjustment program,” she said. “If you are going to treat communities fairly, then you should have those types of programs in the communities that need them the most. That is what justice is about …having those programs for the people who actually need that type of assistance and then we won’t have the concept of mass incarceration.

“If we avert and do some things …that is the cause of our ills, then we would not be talking about mass incarceration,” she stated.

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