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Mayor Sexton Says Police Racial Profiling Stories are Bunk

The mayor defends the Evergreen Park Police Department from recent media reports.

Stung by recent claims that Evergreen Park Police traffic stops may be guided by racial profiling, Mayor James Sexton came out swinging at Monday night’s village board meeting.

With the words “…and justice for all” still echoing in council chambers after the Pledge of Allegiance, Sexton immediately began counter-punching, defending his administration and accusing the downtown news media of being interested more in fantasy than fact.

“I’m not going to let a couple of reporters tarnish the reputation of our police,” Sexton said, referring to a recent analysis of traffic-stop data conducted by the Better Government Association FOX 32 News.

Read Full Story: Over 70 Percent of Evergreen Park Traffic Stops Involve Minorities

Sexton ripped the BGA/FOX 32 News analysis as severely flawed. “There’s an old saying: ‘Figures lie and liars figure.’ You can get statistics to say anything you want,” he said.

“Our police do a great job 24 hours a day,” the mayor added. “You know, two weeks ago we had our firefighters in here to show our appreciation. Looking directly at Police Chief Michael Saunders, he added, “Mike, maybe we ought to have a ‘police night’ (at an upcoming village board meeting),” with several trustees nodding their heads in agreement.

“Every week I see the commendations our officers receive for the good work they do,” Sexton continued as he waved a sheaf of commendation papers at the audience of several dozen. “We help the police in Chicago, in Oak Lawn and elsewhere. I would read these to you at the village board meetings, but there are so many that I can’t, in the interest of time.”

Police Chief Adds His Thoughts

After the meeting, Saunders offered several simple points to back the mayor’s statements and refute the BGA/FOX 32 News analysis.

He questioned whether the estimate of minority drivers in the village is accurate, implying it may be higher than estimated.

Saunders added that the village is surrounded on three sides by Chicago neighborhoods with a similar share of non-white motorists. Yet the racial/ethnic gap that the BGA and FOX 32 News found so troubling in Evergreen Park (63 percent minority drivers versus 72 percent tickets to minority drivers) is equivalent to the gap found in an analysis of Chicago’s traffic-stop data, but nothing was said about the city.

The chief observed anecdotally that Chicago residents may be less inclined to be aware of and obey traffic laws, since Chicago Police make so many fewer traffic stops.

According to the Illinois Traffic Stop Study, in 2011 Chicago Police made seven times more traffic stops than their counterparts in Evergreen Park; yet Chicago’s population is roughly 100 times larger.

Saunders chided the individuals making the accusations of racial profiling for complaining to the BGA and FOX 32, but not to the village police department. He said those uncomfortable making a complaint with the Evergreen Park Police could make a complaint with the Public Integrity Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney's Office. “I can’t and won’t interrogate my officers based upon a news media story.”

“I’ve got officers on the street and they make a difference,” Saunders concluded.

Kay February 21, 2013 at 01:42 PM
EP Concerned you sound a little obsessed with the Mayor. I have known him for years and don't know who his relatives are or about his car or when he's at work. Maybe the police will have a staking suspect to deal with. You know to much about him. But off course sit behind your computer anonymously. A really man or woman would come forward and speak as themselves.
tim collins February 21, 2013 at 03:09 PM
EPPD has minority police officers do you really think the Chief, watch commander , or any superior officer is telling the department to pull over "people of color"? Quit breaking the law and you won't have a problem its not about race when you do something wrong. Keep up the great work EPPD! Fyi I have been ticked in EP and i am white!
ep concerned February 21, 2013 at 05:03 PM
@ Omar.....you bet they are. @ Kay......you first! Ha
ep concerned February 21, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Small towm Kay. You heaar a lot around here.
Casey Hockee February 21, 2013 at 05:09 PM
This is frustrating as numerous studies have been done over the years and its the same result decade after decade. More drivers from Chicago travel through EP on 95th Street and disobey the traffic laws. There are more grocery stores in the suburbs and the taxes are less than Chicago's so EP sees a tremendous influx of Chicago traffic. Radar doesn't see race or gender, radar catches the driver well before the driver passes the squad, you are locked on blocks before. The officer and police dept. are not responsible for a drivers ignorance as to how radar works, the officer and police dept. are not responsible for a driver who can't obey the 30 MPH speed limit. Decades ago the speed limit was higher but due to reckless driving, more businesses opening up and more traffic it was determined lowering the speed limit was needed. When any police dept. stops a driver for expired plates, who's fault is that? When after the car is stopped for expired plates and the driver is also found to be driving on a suspended license who's fault is that. Stop blaming the police for ignorance and stupidity of the drivers who commit the offense.
Aj February 21, 2013 at 05:18 PM
^^^^This guy got it! I think the lawsuit would come when your boss tells you to pull over black people...AND YOUR A BLACK POLICE OFFICER! Im white and have been pulled over multiple times...was breaking the law each time. I don't care what color, race, nationality, religion you are...if your breaking the law, your gonna get pulled over!
ep concerned February 21, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Speeding and turning on red are one thing. I would be curious as to other stop statistics. Like minor stuff.
Ant February 21, 2013 at 05:42 PM
True the radar does not see color I turned right from 95th onto western just a couple weeks ago speeding at about 40mph cop was sitting in front of Carson's as I drove toward him he turned the lights on well before he could see my color I stopped showed license and insurance and was let go with a verbal warning sooo again not all blacks that are pulled over receive tickets
ChiDriver February 21, 2013 at 06:29 PM
It's funny because so many people on this board are asking us to believe "Up is Down, and Right is Left". EPPD doesn't want blacks driving through "their" suburb -- they wanna keep 'em out. It's not a big secret. In order to keep it this way, EPPD pulls over black drivers over small stuff (like going 3-4 miles over the limit, for example), then harasses them. It's been this way since we moved here in the '80s, and probably long before then. What *will* happen over the upcoming weeks is that EP will start pulling over EVERYBODY for minor infractions that they typically used only on blacks. Then Sexton will say "See? We're tough on speeders, regardless of color!" I'll be avoiding 95th until the end of May.
Casey Hockee February 21, 2013 at 06:41 PM
If a driver commits a minor offense then expect a ticket, commit any offense and expect a ticket or arrest. Commit any crime above a class B misdemeanor expect to be caught and jailed; stop whining when caught as there is an easy fix to the problem-obey the law.
ChiDriver February 21, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Really? Then why the "EP" stickers on the rear bumper? You're delusional if you think EPPD is color-blind. They target black drivers, most likely because they want to keep 'em out of EP. I'm white, typically drive 35 mph on 95th St. and have never gotten a ticket in EP, and that's since I got my license in the 1980s.
RLM February 21, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Instead of DWB it should read DWBTL (driving while breaking the law) Every day I see people speeding by me on 95th and 99th streets. By far, the majority of those drivers are minorities. It is a fact, plain and simple!
Dame February 21, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Chidriver the EP bumper sticker is optional. Also, you answered you own questions, if the posted speed limit is 30mph and your doing 31mph, your breaking the law. Simple.. And im black, never gotten a ticket here.
RLM February 21, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Try 10 or 20 mph over the limit.
Casey Hockee February 21, 2013 at 07:41 PM
EP has stickers on their cars so the police know who is parking on the streets during the day and at night. Example: To Brother Rice, Mother McAuley or Evergreen Park Highs school students. You have parking lots on the school's property yet the cars are parked blocking taxpayers homes and driveways. The reason you park in front of those homes is to avoid the fee associated with buying a drivers parking permit. Drivers who work at businesses on 95th Street or shop there, again you have parking spaces available yet you park blocking the parking space in front of homeowners houses. If you are blocking that spot it could be an elderly homeowner who must now park several house down instead of in front of their own home-think about that elderly person next time. At night the stickers make it easier to see if a car is a resident's vehicle in front of a home or a car that has been abandoned after a car theft. It can also aid the officer in remembering a car better that didn't have a sticker should an incident be reported later on. Yes, it also is another way to get a few extra bucks and not call it a tax, but overall it does aid officers in cases where there is higher crime rates.
Casey Hockee February 21, 2013 at 08:07 PM
No kidding you've got that right. My youngest rocket scientist was stopped and ticketed two months ago, now she is white and the officer wasn't-was that racism? Should I have said to her the officer is a racist and hates women or should I have said "what the hell were you thinking driving 45 in a 30mph zone-did you fall and hit your little head?" You can be assured it was the later comment about hitting her little head. The officer did his job-end of story
Susie February 21, 2013 at 08:57 PM
What do you consider minor? I have absolutely NO problem with the police pulling people over for cracked windshields or having a headlight out especially since they get them on possession of crack, cocaine, heroin, illegal transportation of alcohol, no insurance, warrant out for their arrest, suspended license, etc.. Keep that crap out of EP!
John L. February 22, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Hate to call it like it is but look at all the city neighborhoods & south suburbs that were all white 40, 50 years ago. Many of them have turned into crime ridden cesspools once the blacks moved in. Pullman, Roseland, Ashburn, Gage Park, Marquette Park area, the list goes on.
2Honest February 22, 2013 at 08:15 AM
I absolutely agree with Casey. With 95th Street being a major thoroughfare and 2 hospitals that serve nearly all of the South Side, what do you expect? The problem is that no one wants to take responsibility for their actions these days! People use any and all excuses they can to get out of trouble. No one is above the law! In response to PJ : Anyone of any color is welcome to attend The Village meetings if they have concerns. Maybe instead of harping on Mayor Sexton, you should harp on those people of color you mentioned to attend such meetings and voice their own opinions. Please obey all traffic laws on the way there!
ep concerned February 22, 2013 at 01:15 PM
So John what exactly is your point?
Bill February 22, 2013 at 02:30 PM
I think John is saying if pulling over drivers of color helps in any way to discourage the criminal element that has been crossing our borders to rob, burglarize and otherwise give a "black" eye to this town, then we stand behind the PD.
AaronK February 22, 2013 at 03:53 PM
Great idea. Let's take it one step further: If the majority of crimes are committed by men, have the EPPD pull over men for going 1 mph over the limit. Sounds like a brilliant idea.
AaronK February 22, 2013 at 03:56 PM
Yeah, right. Look, it's okay to admit that the "EP" stickers are used by residents to avoid getting pulled over by the EPPD; That's the reason why most people who put them on do it. Just don't try to come up with hard-to-believe reasons for having them.
mike February 22, 2013 at 07:06 PM
The numbers dont lie. EPPD are corrupt against minorities. I myself am a victim of this police misconduct and yes im black. Ofcourse the mayor and chief are going to stick up for these goons(cops) becuase their at the top and when the truth is out they will be the first ones to fall.
Thomas Kelley February 22, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Maybe the police should let the reporters ride with them for a shift or 2 and see for themselves who is breaking the law? Then let them report their findings.
Kay February 22, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Thomas that's a wonderful idea. Any takers?
Sandstone February 23, 2013 at 05:12 AM
I have lived in evergreen park all my life. Racial profiling has been going on for years. What planet are people living on? Once again overlooking the guilt. I can't stand it.
Walt Schilling March 02, 2013 at 08:05 PM
I dont have one and have never been pulled over. My mother has always had one and has gotten a ticket.
Walt Schilling March 02, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Wonder what people are going to say as the new cars are outfitted with license plate scanners. I for one wish all their cars had them.
Bernard March 09, 2013 at 04:26 AM
I grew up in evergreen park lived there for 17 years, had an African American family that lived on our corner, guess what they were very nice and had one of the best kept homes on the block. I've also been pulled over and ticketed numerous times and guess what I was speeding, had tinted windows, and loud exhaust...and I'm white. I broke the law, got caught, paid my fines, did my traffic school and went on my way. A white woman EP police officer pulled over my white 8 month pregnant girl friend...why she was speeding. If you get pulled over there's reason and its not your color! Quit pulling that card! You broke the law and got caught! Grow up n deal with it! Treat the Police officers with respect and they will respect you!

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