*A supervisor in Chicago’s scandal-plagued water department used his city email account to mock deadly Fourth of July violence in black neighborhoods by offering “Chicago Safari” tours, a new watchdog report revealed Monday.
All of this came to light during an ongoing investigation about how Paul Hansen, a now-fired, $122,280-a-year district superintendent in the Department of Water Management, used his city email account to sell guns. He was alleged to have emailed individuals over personal purchases or sales of at least four firearms and five cars.
While investigating his use of a government account for personal business, which is against city rules, other emails sent by Hansen (who is white and the son of a former alderman) were discovered to have been sent to other water department bosses, according to City Hall sources.
Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton wrote of the emails:
During one previous Fourth of July holiday, a period when dozens of African-Americans in Chicago are either injured or killed in shootings, Hansen sent an email to multiple high-ranking officials in the department titled, “Chicago Safari Tickets.”
The email included an image of four white people in safari gear taking pictures of black people trying to break into a car, according to the report.
“If you didn’t book a Chicago Safari adventure with us this 4th of July weekend this is what you missed,” the report quoted the email as saying.
“Remember all Chicago Safari packages include 3 deluxe ‘Harold’s Chicken’ meals a day,” the report quoted Hansen’s email.
“We guarantee that you will see at least one kill and five crime scenes per three day tour. You’ll also see lots and lots of animals in their natural habitat. Call and book your Chicago Safari today.”
Hansen also emailed a picture depicting a “black swimming pool” as a small African-American boy sitting in a bucket of water while holding a slice of watermelon.
His racially charged emails included messages to fellow workers purported to be in “Ebonics.” Hansen also sent a “Watermelon Protection” email that featured a picture depicting a Ku Klux Klan scarecrow guarding a field of watermelons.
Glanton continued in her column: “We can imagine what kinds of decisions were being made about black people who came into contact with Hansen and others responsible for the emails. But what were the high-ranking officials who received the emails thinking?
“All we know is that their silence made them complicit. Those are the type of people who are just as dangerous — the ones who sit back and allow racism to flourish.”