The Chicago Police which came about as a result

The world over law enforcement
agents have been in the spotlight for excessive use of force and not following
outlined police procedures. Chicago is a classic example of how bad policing
has far reaching consequences. The degree of how things took a turn for the
worst is clearly highlighted by the Department of Justice report on the Chicago
Police which came about as a result of investigations carried out after the
fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald which sent shockwaves throughout the United
States. The issues that arise in this report are analogous to those highlighted
by American poet and author Claudia Rankine in her 2014 book titled ‘Citizen:
An American Lyric’. This critically acclaimed book tackles very difficult but
extremely relevant societal issues that have become extremely important now
more than ever. In this essay I aim to analyze this report while drawing a
parallel with the work of Claudia Rankine.

One of the first issues that
stand out when reading the report is the inclination of law enforcement
officers to use excessive force which sometimes is deadly especially towards
the African American people; this is in violation of the fourth amendment of
the United States’ constitution. The use of deadly force such as shooting of
suspects and vehicles without proper cause or without the ascertaining the
presence of a threat was common place in Chicago; deadly force was also used as
a form of retaliation or punishment (“Investigation of the Chicago Police
Department.” P. 32). Some of the causes of these actions was found to be officers
lacking the necessary training to deescalate a situation which made the police
officers place themselves in unnecessary danger as a result, moreover, there
was systemic lack of accountability from various departments which was coupled
with shoddy investigations into the use of excessive force by police officers (“Investigation
of the Chicago Police Department.” P.  56).

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This is in tandem with chapter six of the book Citizen whereby Claudia reflects
on some of the tragedies experienced worldwide in terms of aggression towards
the African American people. Through several poems in this chapter she
highlights some of the issues on segregation, poverty and the indiscriminate
killing of African American people (Claudia p. 84).

Another aspect of the rot in
the Chicago Police Department that the investigation revealed was the racial
imbalance that occurred when dealing the police; this also included racial and
ethnic profiling by the police. This is clearly seen by the handling of
misconduct complains that have been filed, it was discovered during the
investigations that for African American individuals their complaints were two
and a half times less likely to be sustained than those filed by white
individuals; this was even lower than those for Latinos whose complaints were
approximately two times less likely to be sustained than those of white
individuals (“Investigation of the Chicago Police Department.” P. 68). Such
disparity in treatment can be extended in how an individual is treated when
interacting with law enforcement agents. This theme of racial and ethnic
discrimination has been extensively described in the book, Citizen. The author,
Claudia Rankine, first introduces the topic of racial bias in the first chapter
when she gives an example of an employer who boasts of having employed a person
of color albeit the fact that there are several other talented writers (Claudia
p.15). She dives into more details in chapter two whereby she highlights the
incident at the 2009 US Women’s Open Final that involved Serena Williams
momentarily display anger. In chapter six she provides a unique perspective to
ethnic profiling by giving an example of someone being stopped, frisked and
intimidated by police officers not because he or she is a criminal but because
they fit a certain description of a criminal. She also talks about the death of
Mark Duggan in the United Kingdom killed by the London police to show that racial
biased is a global (Claudia p. 104).

Claudia Rankine in her book
Citizen: An American Lyric excels at tackling several societal injustice from
the perspective of an African American. She dives deep into several key
incidents that bring to light her views on racial bias and discrimination not
only from citizens around the world but also from the very officers who swore
to protect and uphold the law. With the release of the findings from the
investigations of the Chicago Police Department conducted by the justice
department Rankine’s words could not be truer. The social disparity experienced
by so many in society comes to light as a result of systemic failure from an
institution in conjunction with people determined to look the other way so that
the status quo is never disturbed. Rankine paints such a grim picture (with
skill and finesse) which is the reality on the ground, that is, the African
American (and ‘Blacks’ in general) are short-changed by society and
institutions; case in point the Chicago Police Department. The results of this
is however very devastating and retrogressive to societal change and
improvement (Eduardo p. 122). In the last chapter of her book Rankine talks
about some of these issues such as the constant self-consciousness, lack of a
sense of belonging and feelings of worthlessness experienced as a result of
such societal structures (Claudia p. 125).

To conclude, Rankine highlights
one of the most prevailing societal issue which is racial bias and inequality. The
report of the justice department is a textbook example of some of the issues
that Rankine addresses as part of the ill in society. She provides numerous
examples of other cases and finally concludes with some of the effects from
those at the other end of the divide. After all is said and done it is worth
noting that progress is being made to ensure these issues are addressed and now
more than ever people are informed and willing to stand up for what is right.

With the onset of such investigations like the one conducted by the justice department
the future looks bright.