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Ah, another day, another act of stupidity by the Chicago Police Department. Despite repeated pleas from Superintendent Eddie Johnson and Mayor Rahm Emanuel about not having enough officers, not being able to do their job effectively due to being filmed and a litany of other lies, excuses and half-truths, this week several videos emerged on the internet of CPD using semi-trucks as a way to entrap those living in certain neighborhoods. The so-called “bait-trucks” were documented across several neighborhoods on the south and west sides.

Alongside the fact that there were over 70 people shot last weekend while the police force focused their energy on protecting the bag at Lollapalooza, this is an egregious move by even this group’s standards. Videos posted on YouTube and Facebook allegedly show police leaving an unmarked semi truck in Englewood near a basketball court with the back door open. Inside were Nikes and Loboutin shoes. Despite the setup, those in the neighborhood are seen disparaging the officers, who admit to using ‘bait trucks’ across the city.

This is the first time this practice has come about in my reporting, but doesn’t fall outside the realm of possibility for CPD in any sense. The case of entrapment though, is an interesting one and one that similarly falls within the purview of what we’ve come to expect from CPD. Essentially, by dropping the trucks in high-crime areas, they can attest that those who take from them would have done so anyway.

Talking to a local attorney about the case, he asserted that the facts of particular cases could change the outcome, but shared what could be the best course of defense.

“If I was defending these kids I’d argue: ‘On its face, its obvious that the CPD made the conscious decision to bait these kids and likely had the go-ahead from high ranking shot callers.  This plan doesn’t develop on a whim overnight. This isn’t a patrolman’s typical stop and frisk, this was a calculated effort in which the CPD was encouraging the commission of a crime that would not and could not have occurred otherwise, and it worked. Therefore the defense of entrapment should be allowed.'”

The careful wording of the above statement should underline the grey area police are operating in here. What’s almost guaranteed is that any kid picked up in this manner is likely to not have an attorney that would care enough to play with the intricacies of such a situation. And the police know that too. We need a lot of things in Chicago, but more people behind bars for petty theft is certainly not one of them. The sheer fact that this police force, which was reprimanded by none other than the U.S. Justice Department last year, would choose this method to “reduce crime” would be laughable if it didn’t result in ruining people’s lives for profit. Instead, they should focus on hiring officers from the neighborhoods they patrol, practice better policing techniques and actually serve the areas they are charged to do so in, rather than continually undercutting them.

So, if you see an open truck around town that seems to good to be true, be sure it is. Careful out there folks.

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