Chicago Inspector General: Police Use ShotSpotter to Justify Illegal Stop-and-Frisks | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Chicago Inspector General: Police Use ShotSpotter to Justify Illegal Stop-and-Frisks

By Matthew Guariglia and Adam Schwartz

The Chicago Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has released a highly critical report on the Chicago Police Department’s use of ShotSpotter, a surveillance technology that relies on a combination of artificial intelligence and human “acoustic experts” to purportedly identify and locate gunshots based on a network of high-powered microphones located on some of the city’s streets. The OIG report finds that “police responses to ShotSpotter alerts rarely produce evidence of a gun-related crime, rarely give rise to investigatory stops, and even less frequently lead to the recovery of gun crime-related evidence during an investigatory stop.” This indicates that the technology is ineffective at fighting gun crime and inaccurate. This finding is based on the OIG’s quantitative analysis of more than 50,000 records over a 17-month period from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the city’s 911 dispatch center.

Even worse, the OIG report finds a pattern of CPD officers detaining and frisking civilians—a dangerous and humiliating intrusion on bodily autonomy and freedom of movement—based at least in part on “aggregate results of the ShotSpotter system.” This is police harassment of Chicago’s already over-policed Black community, and the erosion of the presumption of innocence for people who live in areas where ShotSpotter sensors are active. This finding is based on the OIG’s qualitative analysis of a random sample of officer-written investigatory stop reports (ISRs).

The scathing report comes just days after the AP reported that a 65-year-old Chicago man named Michael Williams was held for 11 months in pre-trial detention based on scant evidence produced by ShotSpotter...

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