If you are not aware, A “bait truck” loaded with Christian Louboutin shoes and Nike sneakers, or “gym shoes” as they are often called in the Chi, was placed in a poor Chicago neighborhood earlier this month, leading to enormous public backlash. Now the transportation company responsible, Norfolk Southern, has apologized and said it will end the practice of using bait devices in the future. The Chicago police were also on standby ready to arrest anyone who would dare to steal the shoes.
The obvious initiative of the bait truck is to lure or entrap thieves in order to arrest them in the process of stealing. Although police argue that they use bait devices to reduce crime, Chicago community members argue that they tempt people in impoverished areas to steal. It’s like putting a sandwich in front of a starving man and telling him not to take a bite.
In a video that went viral, you can see community members confronting the police in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood over the bait truck.
“Y’all dirty, man,” a man tells officers.”Y’all see kids playing ball and you pull a f—– Nike truck into the ghetto.” Norfolk Southern initially defended the use of the truck saying that it wasn’t targeted at kids.
“Watch for the bait truck. They’re getting everybody out here, man,” one person says.
“It’s a setup, man,” someone said. “That’s how they do us.”
Several other Chicago and Illinois officials weighed in as well on the truck.
“Police in Chicago must focus on building trust and better relationships within the communities they serve, not engage in stunts like bait trucks,” said Karen Sheley, director of the ACLU of Illinois’ police practices project. “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.”
“This bait truck operation is an unacceptable and inappropriate use of police resources,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, chair of the City Council’s Black Caucus. “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.”
While many people were disgusted and just talking about it, hip-hop artist, Vic Mensa, who is from Chicago, took matters into his own hands to do something about it. At the same site where the original sting happened, Mensa will host an “anti-bait truck” to give away thousands of free shoes to those in need in the “City of Wind.”
“Chicago Police escorted a ‘bait-truck’ full of shoes through the South Side of Chicago to lure poor people with FREE NIKES. So we’re filling a truck with shoes to give away to those who need it,” Mensa wrote on Twitter.
“We wanted to do something in response, but have a positive response,” added Laundi Keepseagle, the executive director of Mensa’s SaveMoneySaveLife foundation, which is putting together the huge back-to-school charity event.
Vic Mensa also took to instagram to share the news. Fellow Chicago icon, Common also spoke to the matter encouraging Chicago to stand up for the cause while activist/journalist, Shaun King also supported the movement. Check out the posts below.
This Sunday my foundation @savemoneysavelife is giving away THOUSANDS of shoes on the Anti-Bait Truck in Englewood on 2050 W 59th St. Tell everyone you know in Chicago! If you weren’t aware, the police escorted a bait truck full of shoes through the hood on one of the cities most violent weekends, showing just what they think of us. Strength is in numbers and power is to the people; we know our worth, and apparently the world does too. Shout to @shaunking & @anwarhadid for the solidarity
CHICAGO!!! The police tried to set our community up with a bait truck full of shoes only to arrest folk who needed some, so THIS SUNDAY we are giving away thousands and thousands of pairs to any student who needs them!! Let’s GO! Thank each of you who helped us make this possible and thanks to the homie @vicmensa and the beautiful crew of @savemoneysavelife for running the show!