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April 9 speaker to explore racial profiling, community policing

April 8, 2015

Photo of a squad carDoes racial profiling exist? Why did the Chicago Police Department stop and frisk people more than 250,000 times yet that quarter of a million stops led to no arrests?

How do everyday encounters with the police affect community members’ attitudes toward police officers? Did underlying systemic issues exist in Ferguson, Mo., before the shooting of Michael Brown and the demonstrations by activists and angry protests?

Do police need military-style equipment and body cameras? Do citizens have a say in how they are policed?

Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, will explore these thought-provoking issues during a presentation at NIU on racial profiling and community policing.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 9, in the Lincoln Room in the Holmes Student Center. Free parking in the Visitors Lot is available beginning at 7 p.m.

Yohnka, who participated in a panel discussion at NIU last semester, is knowledgeable about the pros and cons of body cameras, a growing trend in police departments.

His return to NIU comes on the heels of a report released by the ACLU which found that Chicago surpassed New York City in the number of people stopped and frisked, with practices that often failed to meet constitutional standards. The new report also suggests that the police subject blacks in Chicago to stops at disproportional rates yet they are less likely to be carrying illegal items.

This free presentation is sponsored by the NIU Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities and the League of Women Voters of DeKalb County.

For more information, call (815) 753-1527 or email [email protected].