Are Champaign police targeting black youths on bogus charges?

I didn’t even realize that you could be arrested for jaywalking. Yes, it’s technically a crime. But do police even bother with such petty little things?

It seems they do in Champaign.

Chicago Reporter alum Jeff Kelly Lowenstein has been doing some great reporting on demographic changes in our state–communities where minority populations are on the rise and how those communities have responded. His latest piece on police interaction with Champaign’s black community found that while black people make up only 10 percent of the city’s population, they represent 40 percent of arrests.

One noteable charge? Jaywalking. In both Champaign and Urbana, around 90 percent of those arrested for jaywalking were black, and most were black youths. Jeff  visited a street in Champaign that’s the site of dozens of jaywalking arrests in the last year and found, like many streets in the neighborhood, it has no sidewalk. Take a look:

You can read his entire investigation and even download the data. It’s definitely worth a read.

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