Wednesday, August 26, 2015

EXTRA: Cop quips – view really puts them in their own little world at times

I can claim a “credential” that a lot of city residents like to cite as evidence of their authenticity as native Chicagoans – I had two uncles (one retired, the other deceased) who were officers within the Chicago Police Department.

Yet I’m not about to claim to have any unique comprehension of what goes through the minds of those people who take the oath to “serve and protect” the people of their community, yet often have the knack of being out-of-touch with certain segments of society.

I DON’T DOUBT they’re in touch with the way certain people feel; and that those people LIKE the idea that the police are on their side protecting them from everybody else.

But it’s not exactly a universal concept that everybody feels safe when they see the flashing lights of a “Mars bar” atop a squad car.

So it shouldn’t be a shock that a pair of stories turned up Wednesday involving the Chicago police that would make it seem that certain officers do their jobs to reinforce their own racial hang-ups.

If anything, these stories become so prevalent that we almost become immune to them – as though we’re not sure we should have ever thought the police were protecting “us” on a daily basis.

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported that the police department’s Internal Affairs began an investigation into an officer who got caught on video making a disparaging remark about Michael Brown – remember him?

Supposedly, the officer made a traffic stop and wound up arguing with a man, who said he didn’t trust the police. That man then mentioned by name the individual who was killed by police last year in Ferguson, Mo.

To which the officer supposedly said, “he got what he had coming” and that Brown’s death was “deserved.”

Whether expressing that opinion violates the professional standards we expect of a law enforcement officer is what the department’s investigators will have to determine.

ALTHOUGH I ALREADY can envision the people who will come to the officer’s defense – he merely said something, He didn’t act in a harmful way.

For all I know, many of these people probably agree with a thought that people in confrontations with police are worthy of force – because they wouldn’t be in a confrontation if they weren’t doing something wrong!

We’ll have to see how harsh, if at all, the Chicago police wind up handling this incident. Let’s not forget that the officer who killed Brown was ultimately found by St. Louis-area prosecutors to have done nothing that would warrant criminal charges. This is much less.

This incident isn’t alone in the news on Wednesday. For the Chicago Sun-Times reported its own story about a police officer potentially being too open in expressing his thoughts.

IN THAT CASE, the officer supposedly threatened a colleague and made racial remarks. But as the newspaper reported, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office dropped the charges that officer faced.

It seems that a third officer to who the officer actually expressed the threats has died. There goes the witness whose credibility would have been put on the stand in any trial that might have someday taken place.

So now, there’s a police officer who has been cleared – although it seems he was on disability leave back in 2011 when the original “threat” was made.

Although the idea that an officer is off-the-hook for “racially derogatory” comments is bound to offend many of the same people who think that the other officer should be punished severely for opening up his mouth about Brown.


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