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The Police Are Not Your Friends: Chicago Edition

7 min read

The police are not your friends. They have no obligation to serve and protect, or even to respond to your emergency calls. The police, and the municipality standing behind the police, have a duty to the public at large and not the individual members of the public, as noted in Warren v. District of Columbia in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Civil Division.  Only when there is a special relationship between an individual and the police, such as the relationship between an informant and the police do the police have a duty to provide protection. A mere request for help via a 9-1-1 call does not suffice to create a special relationship between an individual and the police.

Earlier this year, the Chicago Police Department announced that it would not immediately respond to burglary or vehicle theft crimes, because it was trying to free up officers for patrols in order to prevent crime.  Obviously, in a city with the highest murder rate in the country, patrols weren’t getting it done in the first place, so the answer was to add more patrols at the expensive of prompt responses to 9-1-1 emergency calls reporting burglaries and auto thefts.

Chicago has a crime rate of 627 crimes per square mile. The national median is just 39.6.  There are 43.91 property crimes per 100,000 people in Chicago. The national median is 26.89.  The notion that the Chicago Police Department’s patrols are working at all is laughable, as is the contention that the police shouldn’t immediately respond to property crimes.

The Chicago Police Department’s patrol efforts are possibly ineffective due to the fact that its own officers commit crimes while in uniform.  Antonio C. Martinez, Jr. a 40-year-old Chicago police officer, committed a series of robberies from 2004 to 2006 at the behest of the Latin Kings. He was later charged with and pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy, and other related charges.

Martinez became involved with the Latin Kings after he and his fellow officer Alex Guerrero stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a relative of a Latin Kings leader. When the gang stripped Martinez’s anonymity away, he joined forces with the Latin Kings in order to keep his side business of knocking over drug dealers a secret.  Martinez received 19 years for his role in property crimes throughout the city after testifying against Guerrero.

Ray Ramirez, Monroe district patrol sergeant and twenty-seven year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, was caught in an FBI sting for extortion related to his theft of items from a liquor store on his beat, as well as his “borrowing” (he never paid the money back) of employees’ money, plus his auctioning off of police reports for $1,000 a pop.

The department’s recruiting methods for criminal informants came under scrutiny when Angel Perez, a delivery driver, filed a lawsuit alleging that he was sodomized with the barrel of an officer’s gun because he refused to participate in a narcotics sting. When Perez was initially pulled over on October 20, 2012, he was handcuffed and taken into custody for  questioning at the 11th District Station.  He was later released, but the next day he received a phone call asking him to come back and sign papers.

Upon his arrival, Perez was handcuffed and the police put his ankles into bracelets as well.  The police then threatened to take him to the Cook County jail to be raped by gang members, along with threatening to plant evidence on Perez or his family members if he didn’t agree to participate in a drug deal as a confidential informant.  When Perez refused and demanded an attorney, the police ignored his request.  According to his complaint, one of the officers told Perez that “big black nigger dick feels like a gun up your ass.”

The officers, Jorge L. Lopez and his sergeant, then proceeded shove a service revolver into Perez’s rectum, threatening to do it over and over again until Perez agreed to cooperate.  Perez later cooperated in drug deals, but eventually filed a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority.

Lest you think that the story of Jorge Lopez’s sexual assault is an anomaly, consider the case of Lt. Denis P. Walsh, who was promoted to $115,655 a year job supervising detectives after he was arrested and charged with felony sexual assault nine years ago in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Walsh pleaded no contest to a lesser misdemeanor charge of assault and battery for licking and groping a gas-station attendant leaving bruises on her buttocks.

Chicago Police Superintendents have sought to fire 262 officers and other employees since 2004, with approval coming for just 82.  99 of the 262 employees were back on the job after the police board either found them not guilty or issued a suspension in lieu of termination. How does one get fired from the Chicago Police Department? By living outside of the Chicago city limits, as required by city ordinance.

Sgt. Aunzette F. Smith retired when Police Superintendent Phil Cline tried to fire her for living at her second home in Valparaiso, Indiana.  She now collects $76,291 a year in pension benefits, after departing the force for her violation of a city ordinance, while Lt. Denis P. Walsh committed a sexual assault and pleaded no contest to reduced charges, only to be promoted to a $115,655 a year job.

The Chicago Police don’t respond to calls relating to property crime, because their priorities have been oriented towards patrols, and the recruitment of confidential informants through coercive sodomy using service revolvers.  As the University of Chicago at Illinois noted in its report Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Ups in the Chicago Police Department:

Our analysis of police corruption in Chicago yields four major findings.

First, corruption has long persisted within the CPD and continues to be a serious problem. There have been 102 convictions of Chicago police since the beginning of 2000.

Second, police officers often resist reporting crimes and misconduct committed by fellow officers. The “blue code of silence,” while difficult to prove, is an integral part of the department’s culture and it exacerbates the corruption problems. However last November, a federal jury found that the City of Chicago and its police culture were partially responsible for Officer Anthony Abbate’s brutal beating of a female bartender. After the civil trial to assess damages, the victim’s attorney declared, “We proved a code of silence at every level in the  Chicago Police Department.”
Third, over time a large portion of police corruption has shifted from policemen aiding and abetting mobsters and organized crime to officers involved with drugs dealers and street  gangs. Since the year 2000, a total of 47 Chicago law enforcement officers were convicted of  drug and gang related crimes. The department’s war on drugs puts police officers, especially  those working undercover, in dangerous situations where they must cooperate with criminals to  catch criminals. These endeavors require that CPD superiors provide a high degree of leadership  and oversight to keep officers on the straight and narrow.
Fourth, internal and external sources of authority, including police superintendents and Mayors, have up to now failed to provide adequate anti-corruption oversight and leadership.

Just 19 of 10,149 civilian complaints of excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse, sexual abuse, and false arrests between 2002 and 2004 led to police suspensions.  The endemic corruption within the Chicago Police Department costs Chicago taxpayers millions of dollars: $82.5 million since 2003 for misconduct charges, $21 million for compensatory damages in a wrongful conviction case, and $18 million to settle a case where the Chicago police shot an unarmed woman. Of the $82.5 million, a quarter of that amount went to pay damages involving just one Chicago Police Department detective, Jon Burge, who allegedly tortured more than 200 suspects between 1972 and 1991 in order to gain confessions.

Illinois Governor George Ryan would later declare a moratorium on the death penalty due to the Burge scandal and similar reports involving those under Burge’s command. The state of Illinois spent $17 million on a special prosecutor who investigated Burge’s convictions, and four of Burge’s victims later filed a consolidated suit that would be settled for $19.8 million in December 2007.

Time and again, in example after example, the systemic corruption of the Chicago Police Department, along with their utter ineffectiveness in reducing crime, and their brutal methods towards innocent civilians, led to an erosion of the public trust. The police were not friends in the city of Chicago; they were themselves an organized criminal entity with employees who committed acts of torture, sexual assault, theft, armed robbery, extortion, and racketeering.

With the TSA and DHS backing their play, the Chicago Police Department has moved to expand its power with facial recognition software and expanded surveillance capabilities; even as its abysmal record of civil rights violations raises serious questions about the wisdom of investing the department with greater power without first addressing the corruption that is pervasive throughout the department’s ranks.  The people of Chicago have but one unavoidable conclusion: if the armed gangs murdering 500 of their fellow citizens annually aren’t friends, then the police department whose officers work with those gangs aren’t friends, either.

The tragedy of Chicago is that average residents can’t depend on a police response to their calls; and they also aren’t allowed to own a handgun to defend themselves or their property from the criminal elements that have transformed parts of Chicago into a scene reminiscent of Haiti, as Bill O’Reilly infamously said.  In Chicago, not only do the police not protect you, they also enforce laws against protection in order to maintain their laughable “gun free” status.