Sporting a new look minus his trademark toupe, mayoral challenger Robert Shaw demanded Friday that Mayor Rahm Emanuel hire more African-American police detectives.
With fewer than 250 black detectives in a field of 1,200, Shaw said it’s no wonder witnesses are refusing to cooperate with Chicago Police.
“A little more than 80 percent of the crimes are not solved in Chicago. All of these shootings that happen—unless the perpetrator go out and fall up on the squad car, they can’t find `em and they have not solved them. That’s a real problem,” Shaw told a City Hall news conference.
“People in the community want some action. If more vacancies need to be created, then create them. You need more African-American detectives in these neighborhoods [who] can identify with the people in the community to solve these crimes.”
Chicago Police Department spokesman Adam Collins had no immediate comment on Shaw’s demand.
Last year, Emanuel apologized for the police torture of African-American suspects under former Area 2 Commander Jon Burge and his co-horts that has severely undermined the trust between citizens and police in the black community.
On Friday, Shaw was asked what makes him so certain that citizens who don’t trust the police will begin to trust them, simply because the detective happens to be black.
“I don’t think black people distrust the institution to that extent,” Shaw said.
He added, “We’ve tried everything else and it hasn’t worked. You still haven’t solved more than 80 percent of the crime. Why not try something different?”
Last fall, West Side Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) put Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on the hot seat for the paltry number of black sergeants, detectives and captains and for bypassing black candidates for the job of Harrison District commander.
McCarthy countered that he should be judged not by the overall make-up of a department now at 24 percent African-American and 29 percent black in its exempt ranks but on the discretionary promotions in his control. They’re 36 percent black to the rank of detective and 50 percent to the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant.
“I just told you the numbers of who I’m promoting, and they’re disproportionately African-American based on the demographics of this department. So, I’m not gonna sit here and take that, alderman. You’re wrong,” McCarthy, who is recovering this week from heart surgery, said at the time.
Last month, a Chicago Sun-Times poll showed that Emanuel is politically vulnerable with support from just 29 percent of those surveyed. But it also showed that Shaw is not a viable alternative.
Shaw was supported by just 3 percent of registered Chicago voters questioned, virtually all of them African-American.
On Friday, Shaw was asked what makes him think he can win.
“You all didn’t give me a chance when I ran for assessor. But I carried every black ward in the city…and I lost that race by 1.5 [percentage] points. All I need to do is do that,” Shaw said.
He added, “I remember that same question was asked of Harold Washington [in 1983]. Jane Byrne had $10 million. Rich Daley had $10 million. Harold Washington had $80,000. He became the mayor.”
Reminded that he didn’t support Washington and lost his City Council seat because of it, Shaw said, “I supported him the second time. I learned my lesson.”
As for the toupe, Shaw said he got rid of it because it was time for a change and what better time than in the middle of a campaign. He said people have been coming up to him on the street and telling him he looks ten years younger.