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Chicago police criticised over ‘bait truck’

QUESTIONABLE METHODS: Chicago police force

LAST WEEK, Chicago Police and Norfolk Southern Railway parked a ‘bait truck’ filled with high-end footwear in a predominantly black, low-income neighbourhood. The van contained boxes of Nike Air Force 1’s as well as Christian Louboutin shoes in the southwest town, Englewood.

The stunt, which was recorded and uploaded to social media, prompted a backlash from its 600,000 viewers. In the video, one resident can be heard calling out the officers who intentionally parked the truck in “the ghetto” around “kids playing basketball”.

Activist and local resident Charles McKenzie said that he was “hurt” by the events that had unfolded and felt it weakens community faith in the police. He said: “It hurts me because I try to help these guys get jobs.”

The American Civil Liberties Union also slammed the force with one spokesperson commenting: “Police in Chicago must focus on building trust and better relationships within the communities they serve, not engage in stunts like bait trucks.

"The Chicago Police Department admits that it can’t solve murders and violent crimes because communities of colour don’t trust the Chicago police. These stunts won’t help.”

The practise seems to have worsened an already divided community as a wave of gun violence has swept the area. Lori Lightfoot, a Chicago mayoral candidate and former head of the Chicago Police Board, argued: “news of this bait truck operation is an appalling display of misplaced priorities and a step backwards on the path to trust and legitimacy.”

According to Vox.com, the Norfolk Southern have promised to put an end to the method. Spokesperson Susan Terpay said: “Norfolk Southern recognises that, despite the need to safeguard freight in the area, this operation eroded trust between law enforcement and the community.”

We sincerely regret that our actions caused further unease, and we don’t plan to use this method in the future.”

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