Local residents criticized the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for a sting operation that set people up to be arrested.
A viral Facebook video shows officers from the CPD hanging around a bait truck they set up to help Norfolk Southern Railroad Police in an operation on Aug. 2.
The truck was filled with Nike shoes meant to bait the thieves who had broken into freight containers located at Norfolk Southern rail. The surveillance operation was named “Operation Trailer Trap.”
A Chicago Police report said that the CPD was working with Norfolk Southern Railroad Police on “Operation Trailer Trap” near 59th Place and Princeton Avenue, the Chicago Tribune reported.
When the railroad police experienced a high amount of firearm theft from freight containers, they asked the CPD to assist them in a sting operation to get those thieves off the street.
The sting operation resulted in the arrest of three men. They were seen on surveillance cameras cutting open the trailer safety seals and running off with the shoes, CBS News reported.
David C King was one of the thieves arrested. When officers saw him enter the trailer, they described his appearance through the radio, chased him down, and arrested him on Aug. 2. King is also deaf and told an officer who understood sign language that he entered the trailer to take food.
Charles McKenzie, the uploader of the viral video, accuses law enforcement of setting up people to be arrested by leaving a trailer full of Nikes in the ghetto.
According to Illinois law, Section 7-12 of the Criminal Code of 1961, a person is not guilty if their conduct was induced or incited by a public officer or employee for the purpose of obtaining evidence to prosecute that person. This is illegal.
This entrapment defense cannot be applied if the person is predisposed to commit the offense and the public officer or employee only provides the opportunity or facility to commit the crime.
If the defendant uses the entrapment defense, they must prove with evidence that the public officer or employee forced, harassed, or encouraged the defendant to commit the crime. Furthermore, they must also prove that they would not have committed the crime had the public officer or employee left them alone.
Although what the CPD did was technically legal and McKenzie himself agrees that theft is wrong, he also included another perspective, “but if you put something in a community where no one have nothing to do or no money… what do you expect?” said McKenzie, CBS News reported.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson reminded people at a news conference on the importance of individual responsibility, while also taking the method of operation into consideration.
“At the end of the day, just because it’s out there and it’s not yours, that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to take it,” said Johnson. “But as Chicago Police Department, we’re going to take a hard look and see if there’s something we can do better,” CNN reported.