Chicago Police

Activists Criticize Hiring of Chicago Police Interim Superintendent

Black Lives Matter of Los Angeles sent Chicago residents a "warning letter" about Charlie Beck

Activists in Chicago and Los Angeles have criticized the Chicago Police Department's decision to hire former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as interim superintendent, citing a controversial policing program and his handling of issues involving minorities. 

Beck, who will take over when CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson retires at the beginning of 2020, toured the 7th District Police Headquarters on Saturday along with Johnson and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. 

In an open letter to Chicago residents, Black Lives Matter of Los Angeles condemned Beck for "rolling out a predictive policing program" that the organization claimed "enabled the heightened surveillance and criminalization of black and brown communities."

The activist group also contended LAPD became the "most murderous police department in the nation" with 45 officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths in 2017.

Johnson and Lightfoot painted a much different picture, calling Beck a "man of integrity," and pointed out that strategies used by the former LAPD chief are also responsible for a 52% crime drop in Chicago's 7th District. 

"I think he’s got, again, a record and a legacy of bridging a divide between community that’s really admirable," Lightfoot previously said in touting Beck's history as chief in LA. "This is a guy who knows how to get something done."  

Mark Carter, a Chicago activist who previously organized Black Friday protests on Michigan Avenue, promised even more protests after learning about the Black Lives Matter letter concerning Beck.

"He gets the best credit in the world if he would get on a plane, and go back to California," Carter said. 

Despite the criticism, city officials are still standing firm on their decision.

"When you're in a high profile public position, specifically a chief, you're going to get criticism," Mayor Lightfoot said. "It just comes with the territory." 

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