By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – Criticism mounted Friday as the Chicago Police Department said it is taking a "hard look" at its use of a truck filled with high-end shoes to lure prospective thieves in an impoverished neighborhood.
The "bait truck" was placed in the south side neighborhood of Englewood, which is poor and predominantly black, as part of what police call "Operation Trailer Trap."
The neighborhood, police say, had been the target of several efforts to steal guns stowed away in containers at rail yards.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the department is taking a "hard look" at the operation, but cited "a lot of theft of firearms over there, so we have a responsibility to keep these firearms off the street and out of the hands of the wrong people."
Chicago is in the midst of a gun violence epidemic, but critics have said the operation police carried out is an ineffective and possible discriminatory attempt to fight the tide.
Englewood residents filmed what appears to be the arrest of an individual who broke into a truck parked on the road after police pulled over and arrested the driver who was actually part of the sting operation.
Roderick Sawyer, the chair of the Chicago City Council's Black Caucus, called the operation "unacceptable and inappropriate," and said it is the "last thing" police should be devoting already strained resources on.
Community activist Charles McKenzie told CBS News the operation, which was conducted jointly with Norfolk Southern Railroad Police, is damaging the community's trust in police.
"They want us to build a relationship with them, but when they start pulling tricks up their sleeve like this, you can't trust them," McKenzie said.