Chicago police officers are the subject of more brutality complaints per officer than the national average, and the city’s police department is far less likely to pursue abuse cases seriously than the national norm, said a Universiity of Chicago study reported by the New York Times. The report, “The Chicago Police Department's Broken System,” comes amid troubled times for the the nation's second largest police force, which is mired in accusations of misconduct and is the subject of open feuding among elected officials who disagree on aspects of its management.
Chicago needs a new superintendent since Philip Cline resigned in April after an outcry over the lack of swift discipline against officers accused of involvement in two beatings of civilians captured on videotape. The new report says rogue police officers abuse victims without fear of punishment, and the lack of accountability has tainted the entire department, resulting in a loss of public confidence. Patterns of abuse and disciplinary neglect were worst in low-income minority neighborhoods, said authors, Craig Futterman, H. Melissa Mather, and Melanie Miles. The national average among large police departments for excessive-force complaints is 9.5 per 100 full-time officers. For a department of Chicago's size (13,500, second only to New York), that would correspond to 1,283 complaints a year. From 1999 to 2004, however, citizens filed about 1,774 brutality complaints a year against Chicago officers.