‘Y’all Dirty, Man’ Chicago Residents Confront Police Over Nike ‘Bait Truck’ Left In Black Neighborhood

An alleged “bait truck” filled with Nike shoes aimed at luring potential thieves has locals of a Black Chicago neighborhood up in arms.

Video shared to Facebook by 29-year-old Charles McKenzie shows a tense confrontation between residents and police after officers arrested a man they claim broke into a white truck parked nearby. The truck was allegedly filled with Nike Air Force 1 sneakers and left partly open by police, according to McKenzie.

“Y’all dirty, man,” a man shouts at officers in viral video of the Aug. 2 incident. “… Y’all see kids playing ball and you pull a Nike truck with f—–g Nike boxes in the ghetto. Ya’ll wouldn’t have done this in your neighborhood!”


Chicago Bait Truck

Police officials defended the operation, saying bait trucks are often used to crack down on theft in certain areas. (Charles McKenzie / Facebook video screenshot)

In an interview with Vox, McKenzie, an anti-crime activist, said officers parked the truck next to a basketball court frequented by youth from Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, which is predominately Black. The police “bait truck” was spotted in other Black areas of the city, according to a separate video shot by “crime chaser” Martin G. Johnson showing the truck parked in a different location the following day.

Both incidents have drawn the ire of locals who accused police of setting people up to steal.

A spokeswoman for Norfolk Southern Railroad, which worked alongside Chicago police in the joint operation, told the Chicago Tribune that authorities have often used bait trucks to catch would-be criminals in the act. She defended the investigation, saying the tactics are used to crackdown on patterns of theft in certain areas.

Three people were arrested during the Englewood operation that day. One of the suspects, David King, 36, was arrested and charged with burglary.

“The suspects saw a parked, unmarked trailer and then proceeded to cut open the safety seal with box cutters, broke into the back of the trailer and only then did they find retail shoes in unmarked brown boxes, previously secured and hidden inside…,” spokeswoman Susan Terpay told the newspaper.

Authorities’ so-called “crime fighting” tactics haven’ sat well with local residents and leaders, however. 6th District Alderman Roderick Sawyer called last week’s bait operation “unacceptable” and an “inappropriate use of police resources.”

“In a moment where police capacity is clearly under extreme strain, these sort of tactics are the last thing we should be spending manpower and energy on,” said Sawyer, who also heads the Chicago City Council Black Caucus. “This initiative serves only to undermine already fragile efforts to build trust between law enforcement and the community, and to reinforce counterproductive policies that have contributed to the mass incarceration of Black youth in our city.”

McKenzie’s video also caught the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, who decried the operation as yet another “stunt” by Chicago police.

“Police in Chicago must focus on building trust and better relationships within the communities they serve, not engage in stunts like bait trucks,” Karen Sheley, director of the Police Practices Project at the ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement. “The Chicago Police Department admits that it can’t solve murders and violent crimes because communities of color don’t trust the Chicago Police. These stunts won’t help.”


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