How Chicago Cops Protect and Serve

How Chicago Cops Protect and Serve

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Cook County file photo

So, this. A judge finally released this photo of two Chicago cops posing with their hunting trophy - an unidentified black guy on the floor with antlers on his head - after the police spent years trying to hide it, they said, to protect the privacy of the guy. LOL. The cops, Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan, worked for the city's secretive Special Operations Section; both were ultimately fired. Finnigan is serving 12 years in prison for robbery, bribery, torture, attempted murder and other egregious acts of thuggery unrelated to his participation in grotesque photos. McDermott was fired last year in a 5-4 vote by the police board, despite well-connected testimony about his "impeccable character" which inexplicably failed to mention the many lawsuits against him. Still, the majority wrote that “appearing to treat an African-American man not as a human being but as a hunted animal is disgraceful and shocks the conscience.” He is now appealing that decision in court; hence the appearance of the photo, taken between 1998 and 2003 but made public for the first time Wednesday by Judge Thomas Allen. McDermott's lawyer argued much remains unknown about the photo, and the still-unnamed black guy could in fact have just come from a Christmas pageant where he left the rest of his reindeer outfit behind. No, really. He did.

The photo was reportedly taken in a West Side police station just south of Homan Square, the infamous black site where perhaps hundreds of black men were tortured, abused and otherwise deprived of their rights by an increasingly out-of-control police force. In April, right after it was revealed the city had paid out over half a billion dollars over the past decade for police misconduct, Chicago became the first city to pass a reparations ordinance giving $5.5 million in restitution to its victims - an action celebrated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as marking the end of "this dark chapter." Would that it were so simple. Maybe that dark chapter, but what about all the rest, all the other photos and cities and sicko cops and "atrocities visited upon real people?" Lest we forget: This is a police torture reparations fund. That's "police" and "torture" in the same unconscionable sentence. And that's, too often, "justice" in America. Still.


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