Chicago police parked a truck filled with Nike sneakers in front of a basketball court where underprivileged kids played, with the goal of entrapping them. When the kids went to take shoes out, the police surprised them and arrested the teens. (🎥: @therealremyredd ) pic.twitter.com/pipSw2AhrC— Atlanta Black Star (@ATLBlackStar) August 7, 2018
You would think that by this time in my life, nothing the CPD did would surprise me. I mean, I came of age politically at the time of the Chicago police murders of Black Panther leaders and my friends, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, shot dead while asleep in their beds on the west side of Chicago. Not to mention the police killings of dozens of other unarmed black men and women since that time.
So I don't know why hearing about CPD and Norfolk Southern Railroad using "bait trucks" filled with Nike shoes to entrap young black kids playing hoops on a playground in Englewood, has pissed me and got my blood boiling. But it did.
Maybe it's because, as a former high school basketball coach, I had to spend time, away from the court, begging for donations and even coming out of pocket so my players wouldn't have to hoop in their street shoes -- an embarrassment, especially when playing against wealthy, over-resourced suburban schools.
Or maybe it's because I just heard about Mayor Rahm Emanuel's obvious election campaign-inspired deployment of 600 more cops to communities being ravaged by gun violence while attacking the morals and values of black parents. If they were so badly needed in west and south-side city neighborhoods, why were these cops out initiating petty crime at playgrounds, rounding up dozens of entrapped kids for incarceration and branding them with an arrest record?
It's the mayor who needs to shape up his own values system.
If he was really interested in reducing youth violence and building better police-community relations, he could start by having these same cops out in the community giving away those same Nike-donated shoes and organizing community basketball leagues for young men and women, rather than having them work for Norfolk Southern to manufacturing crime. .
“This bait truck operation is an unacceptable and inappropriate use of police resources,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, chair of the City Council’s Black Caucus. “In a moment where police capacity is clearly under extreme strain, these sort of tactics are the last thing we should be spending manpower and energy on.” (Tribune)And what's Nike's role in this entrapment scheme? Haven't they been profiteering off of Chicago's young basketball talent for years.
Had to ask.