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Task force finds Chicago Police Department plagued by racism

| Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 10:12 p.m.

CHICAGO — The city's police department is beset by racism and needs sweeping reforms to help it win back trust in the community, according to a report released Wednesday by a panel tasked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Chicago Police Accountability Task Force called on the department to “acknowledge its racist history and overhaul its handling of excessive force allegations.”

The report contains over 100 recommendations for reform and is replete with statistics that suggest African-Americans in the city are disproportionately targeted by Chicago officers.

The task force found 74 percent of people killed or injured by Chicago police officers over the past eight years were African-American. In 2014, 72 percent of people stopped by Chicago police were black and 17 percent were Hispanic, according to the report. About 76 percent of the time that a Taser was deployed between 2012 and 2015, it was used on a black suspect, the task force found. About 33 percent of the city's population is black.

The data, the task force asserts, “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

The report was released on the same day the city council voted to make Eddie Johnson, an African-American and 27-year veteran of the department, Chicago's top cop.

Emanuel created the task force in the aftermath of the court-ordered release of police video in November that showed a white police officer pumping 16 shots into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was black, on a city street.

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