An African-American Chicago police officer contends that a rule barring cops from associating with criminals discriminates against black officers, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The officer argues the rule is more restrictive on black officers because of the disproportionate number of African Americans who have had contact with the criminal justice system. Last month, a supervisor warned Officer Sylvia Broadway she might have violated department rules — asking if she knew that a man driving her car was a convicted felon. Broadway, a 13-year veteran, said she was unaware the man was a felon until she asked him later.
Some 8.4 percent of all black males ages 25 to 29 were in the U.S. prison population, according to a 2004 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, compared with 2.5 percent of Hispanic males that age, and 1.2 percent of white males. Broadway does not want to lose her job or face discipline over police Rule 47, which bars officers from associating with anyone convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor. Rule 47 was designed to break up cozy relationships between cops and the mob. In 1997, police Superintendent Matt Rodriguez retired because of his association with an ex-con, telling reporters: “I didn’t look on him as Frank the felon. He was a friend.”