Derrion Albert & broken police surveillance camera

Police Camera Broken Before Derrion Albert Beaten to Death
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Read it and believe, more evidence the Chicago police doesn't care (or worse) about the poor black high school students of the South Side. They just couldn't be bothered to fix the surveillance camera that would've spotted Derrion Albert's killers and would have had sharp photographic images of their faces, so the authorities could really tell who they are (at least one of the five arrested has multiple witnesses saying he was somewhere else) and prosecute them, rather than just picking up 'likely suspects', some of whom will be innocent. Here's most of the news report (style corrections added):

Police Camera Broken When Student Was Beaten to Death
October 15, 2009, 9:37 PM
By Darlene Hill

Chicago - Chicago's Blue Light Cameras are supposed to catch criminals in the act, but one of them on the south side was broken when the neighborhood needed it most. . . .

"I had hoped that it had been repaired," said Alderman Carrie Austin, about the mounted camera at the corner of 111th and Normal, a police camera that three weeks ago was broken. The camera is also less than a block away from where honor roll student Derrion Albert was beaten to death. . . .

[Police Superintendent Jody] Weis says other cameras in the area captured images but not faces like the video [FoxNews Chicago] shared. What he didn't say is that the police camera with the blue lights wasn't rolling when Albert was being stomped and punched.

Alderman Austin had notified the police at least a week before the death of Derrion Albert that the camera was not working:

"There was an incident maybe a week and a half before [the Derrion Albert beating, when] I made a complaint, that maybe they would be able to see the suspects of the fight then and they could not get any data from it. So I knew it wasn't working."

And here's another example of the relationship between Chicago's poorer public school students and the Chicago police. Listen to Chicago Public Radio reporter/producer Linda Lutton:

A year ago this week I was at [Chicago's] Robeson High School reporting another story. . . . It was October 16, about 3 PM, sunny...Students were leaving school. I was driving out of the parking lot when I saw one of Robeson's assigned police officers grab a boy and slam him against a police car.

The officer raised his arm and hammered the side of the boy's head, smashing it into the car. Another officer held the boy, even though he wasn't putting up a fight. The first officer punched him in the face again.

I stopped my car and scrambled to turn on my tape recorder...This is all I got--the police sending away the crowd of kids who??d gathered.

POLICE: Get the f** away now! Get this motherf** in the back of your car!

I headed for a group of kids who saw the beating.

LUTTON: Did you see it?

GIRL: Yes I did. OK. The little boy was walking he looked like he was on his way home. The police just ran up on him, grabbed him from behind, boom boom boom--started punching him all in his face.

All this only amplifies what I've been saying, that the Chicago police are uncaring, belligerent, alien, no-hope occupiers of the impoverished South Side, and that that police attitude has to change. Specifically:

The disturbance you see on the video [the beating of Derrion Albert] or similar was a near-daily event, to be anticipated and prevented (see Fenger beating death: Violence, tension had been building over years). Get it, cops? Crime prevention. Where were you?

In other Chicago police closing the barn door after the cows leave news (emphasis added):

[Police superintendent] Weis said there'll be a new emphasis on intelligence-gathering and information-sharing between police and schools on a daily basis to respond to trouble spots.

Of course, since the beating death of Derrion Albert (and many or most similar incidents) took place several blocks from school, Weis might want to consider what I've pushed, 'a new emphasis on intelligence-gathering and information-sharing between police and the neighborhood.' School management are also largely outsiders, what the police and the poor urban communities need are neighborhood watch capabilities. Are the police willing to work closely with the people actually living in the poor black neighborhood or aren't they? So far, "aren't they."

One reason we should focus at least some blame on the police, besides the fact that public safety and security is their responsibility, is that the conflict among rival groups of Fenger High School students was entirely predictable. The city closed some students' neighborhood high school (rampant school closings in poor neighborhoods a phenomenon fully backed by President Obama and Chicago Mayor Daley; see Safety at Fenger yields to 'reform' and Teachers talk: `Reform' and student murder in Chicago) this summer and transferred its students , many from the Altgeld Garden projects, many miles away to Fenger High School. And, uh, like the following subtitle says: Fighting between teens in public housing, neighborhoods not new. Aren't the police supposed to be prepared, as in prepared, for such dead obvious stuff?

So, is it gonna be the same old, same old, brief spotlight and then ignore for another few years? I tend to believe what Fenger parent Marquita McAlister has to say:

"This isn't the first time a child has gotten killed around here, but this is the first time all of these people have come out," said Marquita McAlister, who said she was a parent of a Fenger student.

"My daughter was cut from one end of her face to the other and no one did anything," she said.

McAlister claimed that the mother of the young woman who cut her daughter was a security guard at the school.

"They left my daughter outside to bleed to death," she said.

"It was kids with cell phones who called an ambulance. This violence hasn't just started," she said.

Ronika Black, who lives in Roseland, was outraged over how the school was being run.

"My children have to go to this school. I don't have car fare to send them anywhere else," Black said.

"They opened this school up and said everything has changed. Nothing has changed," she said.

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South side high schooler Bruce McFall, 17, crosses Halsted Street at 123rd Street to catch a bus to Corliss High School. "I don't think too much about it," McFall says of the area's violence. "Because who's gonna change it?"

Tags: Chicago, Derrion Albert, police, Poverty, Teenagers, Violence (all tags)

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