+
More

Chicago's police missed the mark with their safety tips. Here's what they could have done.

Crawling back from a generation of corruption needs to be handled with care.

On Aug. 7, 2015, the Chicago Police Department offered some "tips" on how to stay safe in any neighborhood.

On Twitter, the department shared a list of 14 suggestions for people to follow. While it's framed as general "how to stay safe" advice, when you start reading the list, it seems — weirdly — more like a guide on how to stay safe from the police.


Image from Chicago Police Department/Twitter.

Some Twitter users took the department to task for the list, accusing the department of blaming victims of police brutality.

Some pointed out that this list comes off a bit like the types of victim-blaming tips you see advising women on how not to get raped.

  • "Be smart about with whom, when, and where you hang out?"
  • "Avoid playing the music loudly?"
  • "Confrontation leads to confrontation?"

Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images.

Isn't it supposed to be the police's job to de-escalate situations? Maybe the police should spend put together "tips" for how officers can avoid shooting unarmed people?

And Twitter user @NovaTess made a few "edits" to the list of tips:

  1. Cops, remember that your actions and attitude can impact the situation positively or negatively.
  2. Remember that every person, and every black man in particular, is not a criminal.
  3. Be smart — don't lie. For whom, when, and where is irrelevant.
  4. Do not shoot when dealing with unarmed people.
  5. Cops, do not curse or raise your voices — stay calm. Remember — confrontation leads to confrontations ... especially when you whip out your guns.
  6. Keep your hands off your gun unless confronted with deadly imminent force.
  7. If you pull someone over, don't shoot them because they don't have a license.
  8. Before shooting someone, ask if they have any illegal weapons that they plan on shooting you with in the next few seconds. If they don't, don't shoot.

Of the 10 largest cities in the country, Chicago has had more police-involved shootings than any other.

A report by the Better Government Association uncovered some concerning pieces of data. For example, nearly 60% of all shootings occurred in the police districts located in Calumet, Deering, Englewood, Grand Crossing, Gresham, and Morgan Park. For areas that account for just a small fraction of the city's population, 41 people have been killed by police in the past five years.


Data source: Better Government Association. BGA notes that New York did not provide 2014 data.

The Chicago Police Department has a gruesome past when it comes to excessive force, brutality, and shootings.

Between 1972 and 1991 under former detective Jon Burge's command, more than 100 suspects were tortured into providing coerced confessions. Burge's crimes are often credited for being what led Illinois to put an end to the state death penalty, after former Gov. George Ryan emptied death row and pardoned four of Burge's torture victims in 2003.

In April 2015, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city would be creating a $5.5 million reparations fund for Burge's living survivors.

In February 2015, The Guardian ran a report about a "black site" located in a warehouse at Homan Square. The paper describes it as "an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site."

The Homan Square "black site." Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

And cover-ups within oversight departments don't particularly help matters.

The Independent Police Review Authority, the group that the Chicago Police Department's "tips" advise the public take their complaints to, has investigated hundreds of police shootings since 2007 (this figure includes non-fatal shootings), with only a few found as "not justified" and just one where they recommended an officer be fired for a shooting.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

In July 2015, IPRA Supervising Investigator Lorenzo Davis was fired from the department after he refused to clear six officers he found had been involved in unjustified shootings. Despite the fact that Davis had been working with the police department for more than two decades, he received a performance evaluation that said he "displays a complete lack of objectivity combined with a clear bias against the police."

Instead of offering "tips" on how not to become a victim of police brutality, perhaps the Chicago PD should follow the lead of Austin, Texas.

While Chicago's police have a document outlining the "rights" of anyone stopped by police ("You will be treated with dignity and respect," forbidding of racial profiling or physical violence, and so on), they could do a lot of good by instead putting together a comprehensive list of expectations their officers should be held to. A great example is the easily accessible document used by the Austin, Texas, police force.

Austin's Law Enforcement Code of Ethics document provides a solid outline for how to interact with the public and, more importantly, puts the onus on maintaining a peaceful situation on the officer.

What should the list sent out by Chicago's police have looked like? Maybe a bit like this:

"As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve the community; to safeguard lives and property. ... I will maintain courageous calm in the face of danger, scorn or ridicule; develop self-­restraint; and be constantly mindful of the welfare of others. ... I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence. ... I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of police service. ... I know that I alone am responsible for my own standard of professional performance. ... I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals."

Sadly, Austin has its own issues involving shootings and brutality claims. But the messaging in on point.

It's an officer's responsibility to control any situation that gets thrown their way. While many do a great job of keeping the peace, others seem not to have gotten that memo.

If instead of tweeting out a list of rules for the public to follow, the department tweeted out a list of standards to which their officers should be held, the police might begin regain the public's trust and put to rest its controversial past.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via YouTube

This article originally appeared on 02.15.22


These days, we could all use something to smile about, and few things do a better job at it than watching actor Christopher Walken dance.

A few years back, some genius at HuffPo Entertainment put together a clip featuring Walken dancing in 50 of his films, and it was taken down. But it re-emerged in 2014 and the world has been a better place for it.

Walken became famous as a serious actor after his breakout roles in "Annie Hall" (1977) and "The Deer Hunter" (1978) so people were pretty shocked in 1981 when he tap-danced in Steve Martin's "Pennies from Heaven."

Keep ReadingShow less
via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

Keep ReadingShow less