Chicago Police Department statistics released last year reveal that the system for investigating police abuse is especially ineffective in protecting low-come, black residents from abusive officers.

From 2002-2004, citizens filed 10,149 complaints alleging police abuse. Only 124 of those complaints were investigated, according to CPD statistics- that’s less than 2 percent.

The national rate for investigating allegations of excessive force was 8 percent in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

By contrast, Chicago’s rate for investigating allegations of excessive force was less than half of 1 percent during 2004.

These statistics, which were recently released at a conference at the University of Chicago Law School, trouble advocates and victims.

Diane Bond, a resident of Stateway Gardens housing development, alleged that from April 2003 to March 2004 she was subjected to physical violence, threats of sexual abuse. She also claimed that her teenage son was beaten and that her apartment was repeatedly trashed by five tactical CPD officers who were infamous in the Stateway area for brutality against black residents.

According to Dr. Steven Whitman, the director at Sinai Urban Health Institute who helped analyze the CPD data, the five cops accused of beating Bond had 104 official complaints among them.

Take into consideration, he added, the trend that only 1 in 10 cases of police abuse are actually reported.

Another statistic in the date revealed a decline in police brutality investigations in Chicago from 1999-2004.

During that time, the investigations for excessive force decreased from 4.84 percent to .48 percent – a decline of 90 percent, according to the police department.

House bill would scrap
HIV-testing consent

The Illinois House has passed a bill that will no longer require written consent for HIV tests.

Currently health centers are required to offer pre-test counseling, which informs the patient about the testing process, including the meaning of positive and negative results. Doctors are required to receive written consent prior to conducting the tests and inform patients of their right to decline the test.

However, if the bill becomes law, counseling no longer will be required and doctors will no longer be required to get written permission to test for HIV. It will be considered a routine test requiring no patient action beyond the general consent forms that patients sign at the start of most visits.

Rep. LaShawn Ford (8th), the bill’s sponsor, said that under no circumstance will an individual be tested without his or her verbal consent.

Supporters of the bill say it could expand the number of people getting tested and would help the estimated 10,000 Illinoisans who are unaware that they are HIV-positive to learn their status and receive access to treatment.

The bill is currently in the Senate.


-Terry Dean