The CPD is not, and has not ever been, a good PD.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 9:59 AM
horizontal rule

I do love the point he makes about how the reason that he got out of the situation uninjured is that he kept calm and handled everything perfectly. And the way the police set it up, it was incumbent on the surprised civilian to be perfect, rather than the professionally trained police officers who instigated the encounter with no emergency justification for the timing or aggressiveness.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:14 AM
horizontal rule

2 - he mentioned later in the piece that he didn't do it "perfectly" - it took him a couple seconds to register what was going on, during which he took a couple steps in the direction of one of the officers.

Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:22 AM
horizontal rule

3 is me.

Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:22 AM
horizontal rule

Sorry, perfect was my word, I'm not sure the writer used it. Calmly work better for you?

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:25 AM
horizontal rule

Besides, even in this situation, somebody had to be rational in the face of mortal fear. CPD methods just ensured it was the scared-witless citizen, instead of the trained, armed cop. Here's a quick comparison: The cop thought I maybe-possibly-can't-rule-it-out had a weapon; I, on the other hand, had a very real gun shoved in my face. The cop got to make the first move, after 15 minutes of electronic tracking; I was daydreaming until ambushed by bellowing aggressors. Apparently it's reasonable to ask me to keep my composure. Why can't we ask the same of him, especially after all of that training and oath-taking?

The answer (I suspect) is that the logic of brute force is not entering this situation by way of self defense at all, but by way of rehearsed ideology. I doubt this cop even considered trying to defuse the situation-- he had ample chance, and declined. In the seconds leading up, I clearly couldn't have escalated a situation I didn't know was unfolding. He decided to come out yelling and waving a gun long before he saw me on Rush Street. This is a matter of policy, not split-second reaction.

This was the bit I was talking about, and he doesn't use the word perfect -- he says 'rational' and 'composure'.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:28 AM
horizontal rule

Yeah, I'm noting that he amplifies this a bit later; not really arguing with your characterization:

Of course, for much of the city it is normal and there's nothing new about it: Take this same story, and instead of River North, transplant it to West Pullman. Instead of a white dude on his way from the office, make the subject a young black man. In both cases, it's dark, the cop thinks the subject has a gun, and the subject is carrying something innocuous. The cop proceeds directly to chaotic, armed confrontation.

I was walking for a good second or two with a gun pointed at me before I realized what was happening, moving towards the officer with something in my hand. Given that my hand was at my side, complying with his order to raise my hands necessitated raising that object, though hopefully not too fast, or too close to his general direction. In the chaos, with no light, every one of those cops represented a finger on a trigger, who could have thought I was brandishing my tea cup when I was only raising it, or even just been set off by the sound of it hitting the ground.

Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:34 AM
horizontal rule

Ugh, both those paragraphs should both have been blockquoted.

Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:35 AM
horizontal rule

I was once sitting on the grass in Grant Park minding my own business when a cop came up to me and said, "Get up now or I will kick the shit out of you." I got up and walked right up to him and said, with the vast and unknowable arrogance of an overeducated suburban white girl (I was 21, probably), "Excuse me, Officer, what did you just say to me?" At which point I was grabbed and dragged away by a black friend who was like, "Yeah no. We get up or get ass kicked now." I was once asked to lie under oath by a Chicago police officer (about something that seemed inconsequential involving my car being broken into -- they literally caught the guy in my car while CA watched so it wasn't a matter of not having the right guy). I also was forced to pull over and have my car searched because pulling onto the my very own block was probably cause for looking to score. There are more! That seems like a fair amount of annoying (and it was all just annoying and not scary) police interaction for my law-abiding self. I lived in NYC for nearly as long and I am not sure I ever spoke to a cop.

Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:38 AM
horizontal rule

I mentioned in the other thread that we should restrict access to realistic-looking toy guns, but apparently we also need to restrict access to half-full cups of tea, as even well-trained professionals can have trouble distinguishing them from dangerous weapons.

Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:41 AM
horizontal rule

I just read the linked piece. It's really well done.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:52 AM
horizontal rule

Oudemia, you have the ethnic look of a criminal. Don't take it personal.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:53 AM
horizontal rule

The NYPD is certainly far from perfect, but as a middle-class white woman, I've never been hassled by them (shooed off street corners as part of a gaggle of teenagers, but not in a scary or particularly hostile way.) All the personal stories I've heard about bad cop encounters are minority teenagers my kids know.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 10:56 AM
horizontal rule

Another recent article on this subject My white neighbor thought I was breaking into my own apartment. Nineteen cops showed up.

[A] visit from a locksmith later, I was inside my apartment and slipping off my shoes when I heard a man's voice and what sounded like a small dog whimpering outside, near my front window. I imagined a loiterer and opened the door to move him along. I was surprised to see a large dog halfway up the staircase to my door. I stepped back inside, closed the door and locked it.

I heard barking. I approached my front window and loudly asked what was going on. Peering through my blinds, I saw a gun. A man stood at the bottom of the stairs, pointing it at me. I stepped back and heard: "Come outside with your hands up." I thought: This man has a gun and will kill me if I don't come outside. At the same time, I thought: I've heard this line from policemen in movies. Although he didn't identify himself, perhaps he's an officer.

Looking up the story, I see that the police responded to it, in a not particularly convincing way.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 11:06 AM
horizontal rule

My only negative interaction with a cop was on the phone when I told him I wanted to complain about insufficient notice of a street event before towing my car in college. I was told that I was not allowed to complain and he hung up on me. Otherwise my only interaction with cops is playing hockey with a few of them who are/were regulars at pickups.

Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 11:16 AM
horizontal rule

Ugh. The CPD are terrible. I've mostly encountered university cops, who leave anyone who looks affiliated with the university alone, though I imagine they're also horrors to young black men and women who don't look like students. The black college students all but dress in bow ties and tweed jackets to signal their elite student status.

For cops elsewhere behaving poorly, my boyfriend is Italian-Armenian, so white but swarthy with long dark hair. One day in his early 20s he was bicycling home around midnight to his middle class LA neighborhood, while wearing backpack and a gray hoodie sweatshirt (big problem, as we now know). On his own lawn, to LAPD stopped him, roughly pulled him off his bike, throw him on the ground and handcuff him, with no warning and no reason given. My boyfriend's mother comes running out of the house screaming, and he's screaming back (in Italian) to get back into the house. The cops grabbed his backpack and searched through it, and when they found nothing suspicious, they threw it aside. They tried to get my boyfriend to admit that he "looked suspicious" and they had reports of burglaries that had happened around that area. He wouldn't admit he looked suspicious, and they ended up fining him for his reflective light not being reflective enough, or something bullshit like that.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 11:47 AM
horizontal rule

Actually, I lied. I did once ask a Chicago cop for directions during a parade, and he shrugged and basically told me to piss off (slightly politer language, but that was the overall body language). This ranks at about 0.5 on the 100 scale of outrage, but I remember kind of shocked the cop would fuck up a softball opportunity to not be a dick, and also kind of dirty that I'd chosen to interact with the CPD after reading what terrible things they've done.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 11:53 AM
horizontal rule

I don't see what the problem is there. Telling somebody to piss off (politely) is a perfectly reasonable thing do to if you are working on something else.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 12:07 PM
horizontal rule

My interactions continue to be cordial and professional, but of course I have every advantage. A few years ago, taking in a neighbor's mail, I set off his house alarm. A veteran officer appeared at the door quickly, but had no dog or drawn weapon, asked a few questions, seemed satisfied and left.

Nowadays I'm old, large and non-ethnic-looking, vaguely resembling Jeb Bush, so every advantage as I say. When I was young and out late on foot in Hyde Park, I was stopped and patted down a couple of times by the CPD, and sent on my way; the UofC cops never bothered me. How much of that different-from-what-you-hear-about experience was due to my appearing—and actually being— conventionally serve-able and protect-able, and how much was due to it being a different time, I don't know.

Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 12:44 PM
horizontal rule


The cop was standing there doing nothing, and I was asking a parade-related question about crossing the street. Answering route-related parade questions when standing around at a parade is part of the cop's job.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 12:51 PM
horizontal rule

Unless he had his thumb literally in his own butt, I don't think you can assume that standing there is "doing nothing." Security involves watching things.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:09 PM
horizontal rule

I myself was threatened with torture by a CPD sergeant.

Revenge! Revenge! Working men, arm yourselves and appear in full force!

Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:12 PM
horizontal rule

21: Moby has a point. You should consider yourself lucky that he didn't shoot you.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:19 PM
horizontal rule

I'm mostly just fed up with people asking me questions when I'm at my desk sitting perfectly still. If If I'm perfectly still, it's because I'm focused.

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:25 PM
horizontal rule

My son commented after the UC shooting threat that he found it a bit scary that someone had threatened to shoot people who look like him at a time and place that he could plausibly have been. He's mostly just outraged by the CPD stories, but I find them scarier than the non-uniformed criminals in the neighborhood.

Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:34 PM
horizontal rule

The NYPD rousted me out of Central Park for flying a kite, and by "rousted me" I mean "Two NYPD officers, one white male, the other Latina, each at least a head shorter than me, politely asked me not to fly the kite there."

White male privilege: real and pretty sweet.

Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:40 PM
horizontal rule

"Go fly a kite, but in Brooklyn with the hipsters who might give a shit."

Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:43 PM
horizontal rule

I'm pretty OK with not being targeted for petty power trips, particularly physically threatening ones. I'd just like to see people who aren't white males extended the same level of basic human decency.

Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 1:49 PM
horizontal rule

24: People shouldn't be asking me questions when I'm still either. I might be sleeping.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 2:18 PM
horizontal rule

Conservatives may or may not ever come around to acknowledging this sort of thing as a real and widespread problem, but if they do decide it's a problem, their "solution" will be to break the unions. And then liberals will have to decide whether to side with the police/unions, or let the conservatives destroy the unions. It could get interesting.

Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 2:30 PM
horizontal rule

He was standing next to another cop chatting. Pretty sure his focus was not 100% on the crowd.

Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 3:29 PM
horizontal rule

The CPD is not, and has not ever been, a good PD.

Hey, I told you to move out here where you'd have a connection. Instead you decided to pay high cost of living expenses in what's maybe the most corrupt big city in America.

Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 3:50 PM
horizontal rule

Cost of living isn't that high in Chicago compared to, say, where I live. Probably higher in the fancy 'burbs were ogged lives, though.

Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 4:06 PM
horizontal rule

Yeah, I don't live in the city, and my suburb is a decided step down from the fanciest ones. It's not such a bad place to live, honestly. Of course it's ugly here, but apart from that...

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 4:16 PM
horizontal rule

|| The Rolling Stone article about America's Tropical Gulag Paradise is surprisingly good. |>

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12-30-15 8:26 PM
horizontal rule

I was in Cambridge yesterday, chatting with a nice cop as we were both getting a wrap at the falafel place. The owner was asking whether the guy was workign New Year's Eve which led to a discussion of holiday pay and wowrking conditions. New Year's Eve was double time but not a lot of fun. The hardest holiday for him was actually Thanksgiving. Families get together, and there's a lot of domestic violence. He said that it was not fun having to go in and arrest people over Thanksgiving dinner.

I like the Cambridge cops.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-31-15 5:24 AM
horizontal rule

36: And still it was a Cambridge police officer that started this discussion in the Obama years by arresting Skip Gates.

Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-31-15 6:18 AM
horizontal rule

36: My liking is a relative thing.

Also, while probably not great on a lot of issues related to race, they are pretty good with homeless people and those with serious mental illness. Certainly compared to the harassment I saw in Toronto, and -to a lesser extent- in Boston.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12-31-15 6:48 AM
horizontal rule