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Monday, December 10, 2007
Sharpton Threatens Chicago's Olympic Bid if Demands Not Met

Today, the Chicago Tribune reported an interesting news item out of the newly established Chicago branch of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN), which could present a challenge to Chicago's bid to host the summer Olympics. Chicago, the USOC's choice to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, has recently had a number of controversies surrounding its police department involving both on-duty and off-duty (here and here) actions of its officers. Sharpton now seeks to link the Department's troubles with the Games.

NAN's Chicago branch has focused on addressing the relationship between Chicago citizens and the police department, and with the Tribune's special report addressing the justification rate of police shootings that hit newsstands on December 5th ("Shielded from the Truth"), Sharpton is seizing the opportunity. The following is an excerpt from the Tribune piece:

"Chicago police shoot a civilian on average once every 10 days. More than 100 people have been killed in the last decade; 250 others have been injured. But only a tiny fraction of shootings are ruled unjustified -- less than 1 percent, police records and court testimony indicate. Despite these rulings, police shootings have led to $59 million in settlements and civil judgments against the city in the last decade, including nearly $8 million from just two jury verdicts in recent months."
I do not claim to have any expertise in the area of police conduct. In fact, these statistics may be on par with police departments nationally (any input is welcome here), and the relationship between the civil judgments and settlements may correspond with the justification statistics. As such, I am not attempting to open up a debate on this issue. My concern for purposes of this post is that to get the attention of Chicagoans, and Mayor Daley, Rev. Sharpton has targeted Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games as a way to draw attention to the issue of police misconduct.

Sharpton threatens that if his group's demands are not met, namely reform of the system by which allegations of police misconduct are dealt with, he will lobby the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to not consider Chicago's bid.

Sharpton's initial, specific demands are supposed to be announced later today, but his main focus appears to be the establishment of a civilian review board and to address police misconduct and the City's response to the same.

"Chicago 2016" is regarded by many to be Mayor Daley's lasting legacy if Chicago won the bid. To say nothing of the strength and worth of Sharpton's cause, he is attacking something very dear to the Mayor, many Chicagoans, and Olympic supporters.


In my personal opinion, Al Sharpton is a racial racketeer.

Blogger Lou Pickney -- 12/10/2007 10:38 PM  

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