Participants in the North Chicago Citizen Police Academy were recently given a brochure that was allegedly full of African-American stereotypes.
The reading material apparently features a smiling African-American man handcuffed in an orange prison jumpsuit and portrays another man as being bug-eyed and slack-jawed in a mug shot. The brochure even went as far as to include a picture of comedian Dave Chapelle's junkie alter-ego Tyrone Biggums.
Jennifer Witherspoon, the Lake County NAACP president, denounced the handout. According to The Daily Mail, she said that it “[reinforces] every negative stereotype blacks as a people have been fighting against.” Lake County State's Attorney Mike Nerheim said that the brochure was “incredibly disturbing.”
Nerheim is actually featured on the brochure’s cover. “Unprofessional is probably the nicest way to put it,” he 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.”
Paula Carballido, an academy student who was handed the questionable material, said that an officer told the recruits that the images in the brochure were taken from movies and television and that they were not meant to be offensive. She said the course, which offers an in-depth view of law enforcement procedures, was “respectful” as well as informative.
No matter what the intention, the inflammatory handout has gotten the attention of local activist Ralph Peterson. “It's more bad judgment. For officers to pass out a pamphlet like this screams a need for sensitivity and that this department is not capable of policing the black community,” Peterson said.
“We should have caught it,” said North Chicago Police Chief James Jackson. He said the brochure was an attempt at humor, albeit probably not a very intelligent one.
Source: (The Daily Mail)