Misconduct allegation dogs Chicago Police Department, but will it change it?

Our partners over at NBC 5 revisit a history of misconduct allegations against a high-ranking Chicago police officer who was charged with official misconduct on Thursday. Chicago news organizations are all over a story about police Cmdr. Glenn Evans who was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct on Thursday. Evans allegedly stuffed a gun deep into the throat of a suspect while holding a Taser to his groin last year. Similar allegations against the officer have been an open secret in Chicago for years, yet Evans continued to rise through the ranks of the police department.  He was promoted to head the South Side district just months after The Chicago Reporter first identified him as part of a small group of officers who were named in an unusual number of lawsuits settled by the city.

‘Just because we’re black, they automatically assume we’re criminals’

Two years ago this month, Chicago jumped on the bandwagon to decriminalize pot—sort of. That’s when the City Council gave police the green light to issue tickets rather than arresting people for having a relatively small stash of marijuana—15 grams, which amounts to roughly 25 joints. Police could still opt to make arrests, though. And they have—particularly among African Americans. Black males accounted for the vast majority of the roughly 16,000 marijuana-related arrests last year, making pot the No. 1 reason that Chicagoans have been thrown into the misdemeanor courts.

Ferguson police stand down amid uneasiness over military-style patrols

Word out of Ferguson, Mo., this morning is that state and federal authorities are bringing a “softer” law enforcement approach, replacing local police officers who looked more like soldiers than cops over the past seven days. The military-style tanks, assault weapons and body armor used to intimidate demonstrators struck a nerve as the nation looked on at the equipment, which has been creeping into local police departments for decades. Chicago police didn’t use any of the military-grade tanks or assault weapons as hundreds gathered downtown yesterday to bring attention to overaggressive policing after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb. But according to an ABC I-Team investigation that aired last night, some of that equipment is within reach.

More access to more money means more park improvements

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been hitting the public recreation scene hard, visiting more than a dozen parks across the city during the past month. Last week, he was at Bronzeville’s Anderson Park to unveil a new playground. The week before, he picked up a shovel in Morgan Park and broke ground on the $16 million Morgan Park, Beverly Sports Center. That was on the heels of a visit to Kelly Park in Brighton Park, where he unveiled plans to overhaul a 7-acre patch of green space. “It’s the type of investment to Brighton Park as Millennium Park is to downtown,” Emanuel told reporters while pointing to a rendering of a new turf field and playground.

Leveling the playing field

More than 30 years ago, the federal government sued the Chicago Park District for showering money on parks in predominantly white areas. Today, which area has more money often determines who gets park upgrades.

Struggle for equity

In 1975, The Chicago Reporter sent Stephan Garnett, an African-American reporter, to Marquette Park to see what the baseball diamonds and swimming pool looked like. At the time, it wasn’t a safe park for black people. Marquette Park became famous in 1966 when a rock-throwing mob met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there as he protested segregated housing in the surrounding neighborhood. Less than a decade later, animosity was as strong as ever. Seven white men jumped Garnett as he walked back to his car after photographing the park.