Chicago Police Accountability Task Force Report: racism, corruption, and a "broken system"

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Chicago's Police Department are notorious: the force maintains a "black site" where prisoners are secretly held under fake names and tortured, uses political shenanigans to suppress information about corruption, sabotages their own dashcams, secretly operates illegal mass-surveillance equipment (bought with asset forfeiture money, natch), forces out internal investigators who do their jobs conscientiously, and don't get me started on the evils of the Illinois prison system! Read the rest

Photo of Bernie Sanders being arrested in 1963 Chicago protest

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Some of Sanders' Democratic Party adversaries have claimed that the Senator's history of principled stands has been short on racial equality, a charge that has required those opponents to claim that photos of Sanders being arrested at civil rights demonstrations are actually photos of someone else. Read the rest

Report: Chicago PD dashcams sabotaged by officers

Police body cameras are seen on a mannequin at an exhibit booth by manufacturer Wolfcom at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago

80 percent of Chicago PD dashcam videos have been tampered with or otherwise damaged, according to technicians' reports, with audio missing due to 'intentional destruction' in many cases.

Radley Balko:

At minimum, intentionally destroying dash-cam equipment is destruction of public property. You could argue that it’s also tampering with or destroying evidence, particularly if there’s proof that it was done after a shooting or other major incident. [state’s attorney Anita] Alvarez tried to imprison a woman for recording the alleged harassment she received from police while attempting to file a report alleging sexual assault by another police officer. But when cops tamper with evidence of a police shooting of an unarmed man, all she can say is that it’s “frustrating” and that she’d “prefer to have the audio”?

The lack of consequences is the thing. This goes for everything from internet comment trolls right up to killer cops. Read the rest

In the data, Chicago's crooked cops are so obvious they practically glow

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As Chicago's mayor/kingmaker/kingpin Rahm Emanuel grins at the chorus demanding his resignation for his role in covering up video showing that Chicago PD officers shot a man 16 times, lied about it, and confiscated and destroyed all the evidence they could find, the Five Thirty-Eight blog looks at the data on Chicago's dirtiest cops. Read the rest

Survivor-count for the Chicago PD's black-site/torture camp climbs to 7,000+

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In February, the Guardian reported stories about the Homan Square, the Chicago Police Department's off-the-books black-site, where (mostly black and brown) suspects are denied counsel while being brutalized into forced confessions. Read the rest

Hands-free, self-saranwrapping toilet at O'Hare Airport

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Amir captured this video of O'Hare Airport's hygiene-freakout toilets that automatically and in a hands-free fashion wrap the seat in fresh, germ- and piss-free plastic film between each user. Read the rest

LAPD & Chicago bought "Stingrays on steroids" with asset-forfeiture & DHS money

The military surveillance devices known as "Dirtboxes" have been in secret operation for more than a decade, tracking citizens' locations and intercepting their calls, breaking the encryption on hundreds of calls at once. Read the rest

Chicagoans: EFF fundraiser at Cards Against Humanity's club!

EFF's executive director, the wonderful Cindy Cohn, will host a Q&A before a night of outstanding comedy and improv. Read the rest

50th Nebula Awards Weekend coming to Chicago

Jun 4-7, join science fiction writers from around the world for events including a banquet, a self-publishing workshop, and a tour of Fermilab. Read the rest

First-hand reports of torture from Homan Square, Chicago PD's "black site"

In the wake of last week's revelations about Homan Square, the off-the-books "black site" where Chicago PD disappear prisoners for violent, aggressive interrogation, four of the site's victims have come forward to describe the highly racialized human rights abuses at the secret site. Read the rest

Chicago Police Department maintains "black site" for illegal detention and torture

Homan Square is the Chicago Police Department's "secure site" where people as young as 15 are detained without charge and without access to counsel, subject to beatings that result in head wounds, and, in one case, death. Read the rest

Chicago schools lost $100M by letting Wall Street engineer their finances

In 2007, the school raised $1B, and instead of issuing bonds, it let the bankers who'd been courting it talk it into issuing a floating-rate bond that it swapped into a fixed-rate issue. Read the rest

Brian Ewing show at Chicago's Galerie F

Brian Ewing's delightful, monstrous art has been a regular feature on Boing Boing, and there's a ton of new work to be seen at Galerie F in Chicago this month. Read the rest

Lessig's U Chicago lectures on corruption this fall

Levi says, "Lawrence Lessig will be lecturing at the University of Chicago in October, launching a new series with a series of talks on institutional corruption, with separate talks on the problem in Congress, finance, the media, and the academy, then wrapping up with a lecture that covers possible remedies." Read the rest

Chicago PD's Big Data: using pseudoscience to justify racial profiling

The Chicago Police Department has ramped up the use of its "predictive analysis" system to identify people it believes are likely to commit crimes. These people, who are placed on a "heat list," are visited by police officers who tell them that they are considered pre-criminals by CPD, and are warned that if they do commit any crimes, they are likely to be caught.

The CPD defends the practice, and its technical champion, Miles Wernick from the Illinois Institute of Technology, characterizes it as a neutral, data-driven system for preventing crime in a city that has struggled with street violence and other forms of crime. Wernick's approach involves seeking through the data for "abnormal" patterns that correlate with crime. He compares it with epidemiological approaches, stating that people whose social networks have violence within them are also likely to commit violence.

The CPD refuses to share the names of the people on its secret watchlist, nor will it disclose the algorithm that put it there.

This is a terrible way of running a criminal justice system. Read the rest

City of Chicago and public-spirited hackers unveil the Chicago City Code

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Something pretty rare happened last week. City officials of Chicago got together with hackers from around the country to unveil a vastly better new online version of the Chicago City Code. Public.Resource.Org worked with the City to make bulk data available, the folks at the OpenGov Foundation turned that into the popular States Decoded format that folks are using in DC, Virginia, San Francisco, and other locations around the country. The code, the data, and the formats are all open source and we were there to celebrate the unveiling and encourage volunteers in Chicago to take it even further." Read the rest

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel apologizes for decades of police torture

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has apologized for twenty years' worth of police torture under the stewardship of former Chicago PD Commander Jon Burge, and set aside $85M to compensate victims -- mostly black people from Chicago's South Side. At least two of Burge's victims spent 21 years in jail before being released and paid off. In a City Council meeting, Emmanuel called the torture "a stain on the city’s reputation." His predecessor, former Mayor Daley, refused to apologize for -- or admit -- torture, and used out-of-court settlements to avoid testifying in court about his administration's complicity in the torture. Read the rest

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