Police in North Chicago are being criticized over the decision to use stereotypical images of Black men in their training brochure. The images include Chappelle’s Show crackhead, Tyrone Biggums, a “bug-eyed” man, and a suspect smiling in handcuffs and an orange prison jumpsuit with the word “guilty” written above him.
The brochure was handed out last week, to officers in the North Chicago Citizen Police Academy, as a teaching tool for the 10-week program. According to the department a Black officer created the brochure, but it wasn’t approved by the entire department, before being dispersed.
Jennifer Witherspoon, president of the NAACP in Lake County said that the booklet reinforced “every negative stereotype blacks as a people have been fighting against.” Sharing similar sentiments, Lake County State Attorney Mike Nerheim criticized the work as being “incredibly disturbing.”
Nerheim is featured on the cover of the handout opposite an image of Tom Cruise taken from the film, A Few Good Men.
“Unprofessional is probably the nicest way to put it,” Nerheim said. “It was obviously done without my knowledge and consent. I definitely see how it could be offensive to people. It’s not something that should be coming out of the Police Department.”
Members of the community feel that the incident is a small part of a large problem, exposing how residents in the predominately Black community are seen by police. As pointed out by the Huffington Post, between 2005-2011 North Chicago was the focus of 10 excessive-force lawsuits, including that of Darrin Hanna. In 2011, 45-year-old Hanna was brutally beaten to death by a Chicago police officer. His passing was just recently classified as a homicide.
Officials have removed the brochure and the officer involved has apologized. View images of the brochure below.
Photos: North Chicago PD/Comedy Central