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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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Shoot to Kill

Shoot to Kill

Rebellion and Retrenchment in Post–Civil Rights Chicago

(p.190) Chapter 6 Shoot to Kill
Occupied Territory

Simon Balto

University of North Carolina Press

The book’s penultimate chapter focuses on the late 1960s, as whatever tenuous accountability mechanisms Orlando Wilson had implemented were destroyed by his successor. With Black Power and left-wing critiques of the police ascendant, Chicago’s police, like those elsewhere, became increasingly reactionary and flirtatious with right-wing extremism, such as supporting George Wallace’s presidential candidacy and a cell of Ku Klux Klan members operating with the CPD. It also led to an overwhelmingly repressive operating ethos. While public memory canonizes that best in the CPD response to protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the chapter shows that a more representative display of police violence can be found in an urban uprising on Chicago’s West Side that same year, following the assassination of Martin Luther King. During that event, police visited extraordinary and lethal violence on Black citizens, culminating in a rash of police shootings and Mayor Richard Daley’s infamous “shoot-to-kill” order. That sort of violence was part and parcel of a larger culture of harassment and violence that pervaded the police department by that point, and that was made manifest in everything from the “War on Gangs” to the routine killing of unarmed Black people.

Keywords:   Urban rebellion, 1968 Democratic National Convention, Police violence, Police shootings, Shoot-to-kill, Martin Luther King, The War on Gangs, Gangs, Right-wing extremism, Black Power

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