Task force tells Chicago police to acknowledge racism: report

Chicago’s police department must acknowledge its racist past and change its handling of excessive force allegations to pave the way for wider reform, a task force set up by mayor Rahm Emanuel has urged, the Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday.

High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officers in U.S. cities have fueled demonstrations and stoked a national debate on race relations and police tactics.

The relationship between Chicago’s police department and its oversight body is “broken,” and mired in racial bias and indifference, the panel says in a draft of the executive summary of its report, the paper said.

The report recommended abolishing the oversight agency, the Independent Police Review Authority, and starting the process of citywide reconciliation through the acknowledgment of “hard truths” by the department’s top leaders, it added.

“The Task Force spent more than four months developing recommendations, and those recommendations deserve more than a cursory review of a draft summary,” Emanuel’s spokeswoman, Kelley Quinn, said in a statement.

The mayor’s office has not yet seen the draft, but expects the full report to be presented this week, she added.

The panel was set up last year, after days of unrest over the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white policeman, and tasked to look into the police department’s system of accountability, oversight and training.

The protests followed officer Jason Van Dyke’s shooting of Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014 and the delayed release of the video of the incident. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder late in November.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in New York; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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