Chicago’s Black Officers Step Gingerly Amid Racial Minefields

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Many black officers in Chicago say they understand the conditions that brought young people to the streets to protest harsh treatment by police, white and black, according to the Los Angeles Times. But they bristle at attacks on cops at a time when violent crime in their city is a national topic. “There are good and bad in every profession, any profession, and I don’t deny we have bad cops,” said a black veteran patrol officer on the South Side. “But what offends me the most is the protests like they’re doing now. A possibly bad shooting happens somewhere else in the country — where is your protest over the 4-year-old who was just shot?”

Chris Fletcher, a 30-year veteran with the Chicago police before taking the police chief’s job in suburban Calumet City, knows all too well the duality of the job. “I’m on both sides of the fence depending on what day it is,” he said. Black officers say they’re as concerned as anyone about the callousness displayed toward African-Americans by some of their white counterparts. They’ve faced it. Their family, friends and neighbors have complained about it. But the officers say they don’t have the political muscle to make changes. And they’re preoccupied with a skyrocketing shooting and homicide rate.

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