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Occupied TerritoryPolicing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power$
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Simon Balto

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649597

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649597.001.0001

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The Law Has a Bad Opinion of Me

The Law Has a Bad Opinion of Me

Chicago’s Punitive Turn

(p.123) Chapter 4 The Law Has a Bad Opinion of Me
Occupied Territory

Simon Balto

University of North Carolina Press

Overlapping chronologically with the preceding chapter, chapter 4 explores a localized “punitive turn” in Chicago’s policing arrangement during the late 1940s and especially in the 1950s. Driven by grassroots pressure from white citizens, the exposure of corruption both politically and within the police department, and the rise of the famed Daley machine, police power and the size of the police department itself both expanded dramatically during this period. Once elected, Daley radically expanded the number of police officers employed by the city. Those officers were also invested with increasing amounts of discretion, leading to the expanded use of stop and frisk and other tools that disproportionately were used against Black citizens. In a department lacking meaningful accountability mechanisms, this increased discretion also led to widespread accusations against police that they were engaged in the illegal detention of citizens and also of torture. The chapter also details the early onset of the urban crisis, especially on the West Side as neighborhoods there transitioned from white to Black, and an early-1950s “war on drugs” that police waged on the Black South Side.

Keywords:   Urban crisis, Police power, Corruption, The Daley machine, War on drugs, Punitive turn, Police discretion, Stop and frisk, Illegal detention, Torture

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