Tuesday, August 1, 2017

If police want our trust, they must prove themselves to be trustworthy


Following a long string of scandals, police in Chicago have a long way to go in that regard.  The latest does nothing to improve their reputation.

Thirteen years ago, William Stewart Boyd, a Cook County judge, drove to a South Side church to turn in a handgun his late father had owned.

The Chicago Police Department was accepting guns as part of a buyback program meant to take weapons off the streets and help make the city safer.

Boyd, who hears domestic relations cases, brought them his father’s .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, serial number J515268. He remembers handing it to plainclothes officers who wore their badges and service weapons on their belts. Under the buyback program, they, in turn, gave him a prepaid Visa card. It was for less than $100.

The police recover thousands of guns every year, many of them through buyback programs like this, as well as by confiscating weapons seized during arrests — more than 5,000 guns so far this year alone.

The guns are supposed to be destroyed. But the gun Judge Boyd took in somehow wasn’t. Instead, it turned up eight years later next to the body of a young man who was shot to death by a Cicero police officer.

. . .

How did a gun Chicago cops were supposed to have kept in a locked custody room and then destroyed end up all of those years later at the scene of a police shooting in Cicero, on a patch of pavement next to the body of a 22-year-old Latin Counts gang member named Cesar A. Munive?

. . .

Police departments in Harvey, Elmwood Park and Dolton all have had guns vanish in recent years. And long before Boyd’s gun disappeared, a city audit found that the Chicago Police Department lost track of more than 130 guns that were stored at an evidence warehouse in the 1990s. Four of those later were seized during arrests.

Now, the Chicago department has opened an internal affairs investigation into how the judge’s revolver ended up in Cicero — something police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi calls “extremely abnormal and troublesome.”

. . .

Whatever happened to keep the gun from being destroyed, Munive’s family members believe they know how it ended up next to his body. It was planted there by Cicero police to cover up an unjustified shooting by a cop of an unarmed man, according to a civil rights lawsuit the family filed in federal court.

Now, after five years of litigation, Cicero officials are poised to pay the family $3.5 million to settle their case. The Cicero Town Council agreed earlier this month to approve the settlement and is expected to take a final vote soon.

There's more at the link.

This exemplifies the dilemma most of us face in our relationships with, and attitudes towards, law enforcement officers and agencies.  Any normal, sane, law-abiding person wants to like and trust them.  We want to believe that they truly are protecting and serving us . . . but then something like this happens, and we have to ask:  Why?  Why does the steady drip, drip, drip of scandal, abuse of power, malfeasance of office, etc. continue?  Why is it permitted and/or tolerated by those in authority?

All too often, those authorities exhibit an attitude of contempt and disdain towards those they are supposed to be protecting and serving.  We've discussed several such incidents in these pages.  See, for example, Haversham County Sheriff Joey Terrell, a poster child for the problem.  If he were in charge of a local law enforcement agency, I'd be demonstrating in the streets for his immediate removal;  and I'd distrust any officer demonstrating so great a lack of honor and principle as to be willing to serve under such a man.

If you want to know why, despite all its fallacies, flaws and failings, Black Lives Matter, and organizations like it, continue to be a force in society . . . reports like that above demonstrate conclusively why they still find support.

I'm blessed to know, in person and online, several law enforcement officers whom I'd unhesitatingly trust with my life.  I've served alongside several others.  It's truly sad that there are not more of them . . . and that the actions described in the report above may lead to some suspecting them, too, of being untrustworthy.  They deserve better than that.

Peter

11 comments:

Unknown said...

Courtesy of the state, that street thug with a criminal record has finally brought riches to his family. Although that riles my sense of injustice, I could barely care less since the blue is unto itself a thuggish gang. It's more or less a gang war. Just like every other turf war, it is the law abiding citizens who suffer the most. That last is the only part which I care of.

Do not be surprised if no answers coming forth. In fact, inquiring thereof makes one the antagonist.

Glen Filthie said...

"Why does the steady drip, drip, drip of scandal, abuse of power, malfeasance of office, etc. continue?"

Gee, Pete. For a guy supposedly well versed in cops n' robbers - I wonder how you can even ask that question. The perp gets every benefit of the doubt. The cop gets none. Good, trustworthy, honest cops have been fried for doing their jobs. Lord help you if you are a white cop forced to shoot some feral black baboon that is trying to kill you. If you look at what society expects them to do - it is no wonder they are being turned into psychopaths.

At the rate you are going you will end up with the cops you deserve - like the unarmed, overweight meter maid Bobbies in Britain that will sit back and watch a mob of feral chavs beat you to death in cold blood.

Divemedic said...

Glen: More cops get away with bad behavior than get "fried." I disagree that there are many good cops. Why? Because even the so-called "good" cops look the other way when they see the "bad" cops breaking the law. Thin blue line, don't want to be a rat, and all of that. That is exactly why cops have those "thin blue line" bumper stickers- so other cops know not to pull them over when they break the law. Thanks to cameras, we are finally seeing for ourselves how power hungry and dirty our cops are.

The Orlando cop who tried to pick a fight so he could make an arrest.

The cop who arrested a woman for refusing his sexual advances.

The cop who threatened to plant evidence and arrest a teen because the teen was mouthing off. This cop wound up getting promoted, IIRC.

You get the idea. It isn't a binary choice of "never question cops' actions" or complete breakdown of society.

Cops who DO try to enforce the law against other cops pay the price.

As a cop, if you look the other way while other cops break the law, you are part of the problem.

Comrade Misfit said...

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the revolver was a "throwdown gun".

C. S. P. Schofield said...

If police AND PROSECUTORS want our trust, they must be answerable for their 'mistakes'. Police who can be proven to have lied on the witness stand should be tried for conspiracy to deprive the defendant of his civil rights. Prosecutors who withhold exculpatory evidence in a capitol case should be tried for attempted murder. No qualified immunity for officers who raided the wrong address and killed somebody, dammit, GETTING THE ADDRESS RIGHT before you kick in a door in an armed raid is BASIC. If you can't manage that, you aren't doing your job, and should be deprived of its special protections.

Aesop said...

When the (anecdotal, mostly) "good" cops start bringing the heads of the bad ones forward, figuratively or literally, then - and only then - will anyone of sound mind trust them.

After the 10,000th corrupt one surfaces, it's not stereotyping anymore, it's predictive analysis.

The police burned that bridge with the public decades ago, and they continue to lob in artillery every passing year to get rid of the pilings, and they're the ones who'll have to rebuild it, if they even can, or want to.

I think I'd rather have no police, and constitutional carry in 50 states, and take my chances with the new wild west, than go on with what we've devolved to.

As proof of the pudding, nota bene Cicero is paying the family of the deceased hush money, but there's no word on charging the officer with murder, firing him or any complicit partners for planting false evidence, etc., or even intending any of the same.
QED

tweell said...

Sadly, there's ample proof of corruption, overreach and misbehavior by the police. The peace officer that we think of as the ideal policeman has largely retired or left, and is replaced by the law enforcer (at best). Think, folks, when you see a police car do you feel secure, or do you feel apprehensive?

A relatively modern day (well, at least in my lifetime) demonstration of no police = less crime was the Albuquerque NM police strike in 1975. People strapped on their guns and crime went down.
http://www.nytimes.com/1975/07/24/archives/rate-of-crime-believed-lower-in-albuquergues-police-strike.html

Unfortunately, without law enforcement many big cities would go up in flames. Dindus would take the opportunity to pillage and burn. BLM sees the police as being against them, and they're right - but the truth is that the police are keeping the lid on our boiling (not melting) pot. The pressure is building, though, and something as simple as EBT cards not working could blow that lid off.

I'd rather not see that, many (as in millions) innocent people could get hurt or die. It's just that the current situation isn't a good one, and there's a decent chance that it will get worse.

The police need to figure out who they want to stand with if/when big trouble comes, and behave accordingly. Right now, they aren't trusted by anyone.

Mad Jack said...

It's pretty messed up, but now it's getting press that it never had before. It's been conclusively proven that the Chicago PD actually tortured confessions out of citizens, and got away with it for years. I think it was Jax, FL where things got so bad that the DOJ had to run the PD for a while. Then you have places like Culver City, where the Chief of Police blocked off Culver during the Rodney King riots, saving the city and the people in it, and getting barbecued by the media later on. How dare he infringe on the civil rights of those peaceful demonstrators? Right, the peaceful demonstrators who were looting and burning, and who were headed straight for Culver City.

Saner Than Your Average American said...

"Any normal, sane, law-abiding person wants to like and trust [law enforcement officers and agencies]."

Yes, but why would any normal, sane, law-abiding person naturally trust someone who has sovereign immunity?

I'll take my chances with the employees of private security firms instead -- they can be dragged into courts along with their bosses.

As for those normal, sane, law-abiding people, they were going to obey the law anyway, not because they were in fear of it, but because it's easier. They get more benefits from getting along and going along than they would from becoming irascible pains in the backside.

Anonymous said...

It has been going on for a long time. I have a copy of Bill Jordans book "No second place winner" in which he describes throw down guns and justifying no warning shootings. It was published in 1965, over half a century ago.

Much as I admire his writing on gunfighting, it chilled me to read of the casual bending of the law to benefit the Police Officer.

Phil B

JayNola said...

I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!!

Maybe one too many crime dramas but that's seems to be the most likely scenario.