Chicago police shot a robbery suspect in the Back of the Yards neighborhood earlier this month, killing the man after what Chicago police called a “very violent encounter.”
After Jamaal Moore, 23, was shot, his relatives and neighbors “accosted police officers and threw bottles, bricks and rocks,” according to police superintendent Garry McCarthy, as quoted in the Tribune.
A video of the melee posted to YouTube adds a different perspective to the incident: the community’s. And it reveals the deep divide between law enforcement and many African Americans in this city.
Titled “CPD VS THE STREETS,” the video begins with a young man, possibly a witness, claiming that police shot Moore in the back. He then issues a death threat in the form of a “thirty clip” to any cop who catches him in traffic.
Be advised: strong language is used throughout the video. Some residents endorse cop-killing.
“Just like they killin’ us, that’s why they die,” one woman said, off-camera.
The city is in the midst of its most violent year in a decade. And as my colleague Jeff Kelly Lowenstein recently pointed out, 270 children have been shot to death in Chicago since 2007. Of the shooting victims for whom the race is known, 70 percent were black even though Chicago is only 33 percent black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Black people throughout the country have been overrepresented among the ranks of police shooting victims in major cities throughout the country, according to a 2007 opinion piece by then-Editor and Publisher of The Chicago Reporter Alysia Tate and Colorlines Publisher Rinku Sen.
To be clear, we aren’t posting this video to suggest that police are targeting African Americans for execution, or to endorse any of the views expressed in the clip.
But we do believe the video and the accompanying discussions reveal how deeply broken the relationship is between law enforcement and many African Americans in Chicago.
Near the end of the video, at the 10:32 mark, a black man articulates the view of many in the crowd.
“I’m not with the police and I’m not with any of us who are doing wrong,” the man said. “But for justice and righteous, that’s what I’m for.”
“I don’t know what happened but they didn’t have to kill him,” he added.
A woman, off-camera, shouted “My point exactly! And they kicked him while he was down, I heard. That’s wrong. That’s wrong!”
The man then turns his attention toward President Barack Obama and asks him questions.
“Why do we have to live like this? Why do all of our kids, you run from the police, you ask the police a question, you get killed,” the man answered. “Why is this? Only in Chicago.”
Watch the video here.