An American shipping giant is defending a sting operation in Chicago after accusations it targeted young black people in the city with a so-called "bait truck" full of Nikes.
The Norfolk Southern Railway Company is denying it targeted young people in Englewood with the tractor trailers and it claims it has video to prove it. They say it's all part of a regular sting operation and Chicago police say they were only assisting.
Two amateur videos have exploded on social media, showing unmarked semi-trailers parked on the south side of Chicago. At least one person said a trailer was unlocked and filled with Nike shoes to tempt residents to steal the product, like bait.
In one video, you see officers pretend to arrest the driver and leave the truck unattended, but police are watching from a distance.
A Norfolk Southern Police spokesperson confirms they held a joint operation with Chicago police last week using the trailers, hoping to "target individuals who have been breaking into freight containers at ns rail yards and nearby areas in south side Chicago."
Chicago police made it clear they were only assisting in the operation.
Railroad police released videos showing a man taking the so-called bait and using a box cutter to break into the trailer, going through unmarked brown boxes that *were filled with Nikes and removing them from the trailer.
Some in the community say this type of sting operation is simply not fair.
"It’s definitely racial profiling,” said resident Kenyon Washington. "They know we are going to get at it because we are struggling, but we kind of realize what they are trying to do."
Some in the community said they were targeting the youth, but Norfolk Southern says the three people arrested range in age from 21 to 59.
The contents inside were also not visible to neighbors and the truck was locked.
The railroad company says freight theft has recently been on the rise on the south side, with people stealing consumer goods and guns and ammunition.