There have been several incidents recently where a Chicago Police Officer has been involved in conduct that was either illegal or borderline illegal. This should not reflect on the hundreds of officers that are outstanding in the performance of their duties, but unfortunately, it does. The responsibility should be laid at the feet of the administrators that turn a blind eye to problem officers who create an atmosphere of mistrust in their communities.
The Chicago Police Department recently came under fire over the perceived “code of silence” with respect to giving any evidence of potential police corruption within a precinct. A federal court judge has given a green light for Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel to be called before the court to give testimony regarding this practice. This court ruling may have significant ramifications for the way the police department will be required to conduct their investigations into internal affairs going forward.
The actions of police departments across the nation have been placed under microscopic scrutiny due to several highly politicized incidents involving law enforcement and the neighborhoods that they patrol. In several incidents, the police have been exonerated. Even so, some believe that cover ups do occur. In such a climate, any possibility that evidence of true police misconduct is being covered up by a “code of silence” will lead to mistrust, especially in those communities that need the police the most.
The McDonald Shooting and CPD’s Code of Silence
There are several cases under investigation that do not bode well for the Chicago Police Department. One is the case of Laquan McDonald. There is an ongoing investigation as to whether there was police misconduct in the death of McDonald by the police officer who shot him 16 times. Whistleblowers have now come forward indicating that the shooting death of McDonald was not a justified shooting in the line of duty.
Chicago Death Rate Involving Police Shootings the Highest in the Nation
The Chicago death rate for individuals shot and killed by the police is one of the highest in the nation. Over a five year period, 70 individuals have been killed during police confrontations. BetterGov.org. Most of these deaths occurred in sections of Chicago that are inherently plagued by corruption and violence. Perhaps the mutual mistrust between the police and the communities involved is the catalyst for such an increase in deaths. Whatever is the reason for these occurrences, it is hard to see any curbing of this phenomenon in the near future. Police behavior and that of law abiding residents in the crime-infested neighborhoods seem to be at a crossroads. At some point, the law-abiding residents are going to have to work with the police if they want their neighborhoods to recover from the rampant lawlessness they are confronted with on a daily basis.
An Alliance Between Law Enforcement and the Community is Necessary
There should be an alliance between law enforcement officers and the communities that they patrol. Without it, violent crime becomes a way of life. Unfortunately, when a police officer is fearful for his or her own life when enforcing the law in some of these communities, he or she will often overreact to situations. When that happens, it usually results in a death. Sometimes it ends with the police officer losing his or her life and sometimes with an alleged perpetrator or even an innocent bystander losing his or her life.
When stopped by the police for whatever reason, the time to challenge your rights is not during the police stop. Quiet compliance is your best resolve. If there has been any violation of your rights, the court of law is where such violations should be addressed.
If you or a loved one are having an issue with what you feel may be a law enforcement intrusion into what may be your legal right, call the Law Offices of David Freidberg, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a free no-obligation consultation.