Thursday, September 20, 2018

EXTRA: Has the FOP made Burge & Van Dyke into the cop Odd Couple

It has been a full day since Fraternal Order of Police officials chose to make a spectacle out of the death of one-time Chicago Police Cmdr., and I’m still trying to figure out what they think they’ve accomplished.
Why would Jason Van Dyke want his name … 

Because if I were connected to the criminal defense of Jason Van Dyke, a police officer currently on trial for murder involving the shooting death of a teenage criminal suspect, the last thing I’d want anyone doing is bringing up the name of Burge in any sort of pairing.

YET THAT IS what was done on Wednesday, when FOP union officials showed up at the Criminal Courts Building (where they knew a slew of reporter-type people would be present to cover Van Dyke) and let it be known that Burge – who retired to Florida with his full police pension benefits – is dead. He was 70.

Dean Angelo, the one-time FOP president, said (amongst other things), “I don’t know that Jon Burge got a fair shake based on the years and years and years of service that he gave to the city.”

As though we’re supposed to think Burge was the ultimate victim because he wound up serving prison time for perjury committed while testifying in lawsuits filed due to his actions as a police officer.

He never was convicted for those acts, which consisted of countless incidents of brutality by he and the officers under his command. One could joke that Burge is just like Al Capone, the ‘20s era gangster whose tax evasion conviction seemed downright petty compared to the bloodshed that occurred in Chicago during his lifetime.

OF COURSE, IT was the people of Chicago who ultimately paid for Burge’s behavior. The city had to pay more than $100 million in legal settlements and reparations to those men who wound up doing prison time because of the confessions that Burge is said to have beaten out of them.
… tied to that of Jon Burge?

I’m sure Angelo wants to believe Burge was a decent cop who got criminalized by people who were “human vermin” themselves. Perhaps he thinks we’re on the verge of doing something similar to Van Dyke – whose offense was the repeated shooting of a teenager with a knife who could have become a threat to the public.

I’ll be the first to admit that Van Dyke may have a legitimate claim to self-defense in his case. That's what his ongoing trial is all about. Which is why I find it odd that anyone acting in his defense would want to bring up Burge.

Just hearing the name will bring up bad memories from Chicago’s past and create an association by guilt for Van Dyke. Something I’d think they’d want to avoid. Instead of putting our collective Burge memories into the city’s past.


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