Chicago PD's Professionalism Problems

Three days after her name appeared in a Chicago Sun Times report about police harassment of residents in her public housing facility, a narcotics team raided the home of 63-year-old grandmother Carol Wallace.

Carol Wallace, a 63-year-old grandmother, has no criminal record and said she has never had any run-ins with the police in her 10 years at the Dearborn Homes public housing complex. She accused the police of trying to silence her.

"They did this just to harass me," Wallace said. "My nerves are shot, and I'm afraid. I feel like I've been violated."

[...]

Wallace said about six of the officers dumped clothes from a dresser and closet on her bed and floor and rifled through her medications. Police also told a friend at the apartment that visitors weren't allowed, she said.

It may have been another case of a wrong-door raid, rather than retaliation. The description of the suspect in the warrant seems to fit one of Wallace's neighbors.

This comes on the heels of a number of recent police scandals in Chicago, including...

• Two high-profile videos of off-duty cops beating, respectively, a female bartender and a group of businessmen.

• In the beating of businessmen, Chicago Police Chief Phil Cline (who has since resigned) initially swept the complaint under the rug. He waited four months to suspend the officers, and then only after the video surfaced in the media.

• At a hearing for the cop caught beating the bartender, Chicago PD cruisers attempted to block media access to the courtroom, then ticketed media vehicles parked in the lot.

New questions are also emerging about the 2005 police shooting of an unarmed immigrant. Strangely, Cline was actually present at the crime scene.

• The city has been vigorously fighting an order to release a list of some 662 officers—or about five percent of the Chicago police force—who have had ten or more official complaints filed against them in the last five years. The city finally complied, but redacted the names of the officers—it says to protect their privacy. Thing is, the city doesn't seem to care as much about privacy when it comes to non-police citizens suspected of wrongdoing.

Just last week, 30 Chicago police in full paramilitary attire shut down a poetry conference. Officials say the show of force was necessary because the event was unlicensed, was serving alcohol, and because there were candles placed near "very flammable, oil-based paintings."

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  • ||

    30 Chicago police in full paramilitary attire shut down a poetry conference.

    How much of a milktoast do you have to be to hide behind body armor and full-auto weapons to bust a poetry contest? I would think you'd only need to hurt their feelings to get them to disperse.

  • ||

    "30 Chicago police in full paramilitary attire shut down a poetry conference."

    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ambivalent about this.

  • Seitz||

    Sticks and stones may break their bones, but words apparently require full riot gear.

  • jimmydageek||

    Ok, be truthful, which on this list are highnumber, VM, Mr. Steven Crane, and ChicagoTom??

  • ||

    TO THE URKOBOLD TRUTH IS SUBJECTIVE!

  • Mejohn Big Tree||

    AND LEON IS GETTING LLLLAAAARRRGGGGEEERRRR!!!!!

  • ||

    Fuck Tha Police!

  • ||

    look, as a Chicagoan, i know that all you have to do is report for your weekly, regularly scheduled beating and the cops will otherwise leave you alone. it's only the whiners who complain that get their homes ransacked.

  • VM||

    Srsly -

    this is crazy stuff. the thing is, the "fear creep" strategy across the board is really scary.

    getting used to "paramilitary" actions. ProGLib likened it the other day to "turning up the heat on the frog in the water" until the water is boiling.

    Whether it's the WoD or the WoT or the Wo[whatever], spreading fear is the tactic. We have plenty of people who buy in to this tactic when it fits their pet issue. *That* for me is the most frightening aspect: they are willing even to glance down that authoritarian path.

    Fear will keep the local systems in line.

  • ed||

    63-year-old grandmother Carol Wallace

    Propaganda value aside, is there any reason to note that she's a grandmother?

  • ||

    ed,

    Yes. To distinguish her from crazy cat ladies. Or witches.

    I've got Wallace blood--hence the cognomen--so I'm personally offended. I may have to put on the blue and white paint and attack the fucking English. Oops, sorry. I'm okay now.

    FRREEEEEEEEEEE-DOOOOOOOOM!

  • ||

    "63-year-old grandmother Carol Wallace

    Propaganda value aside, is there any reason to note that she's a grandmother?"

    It is more descriptive than 'person of interest'. You might think she's a ninja or something, deserving of her state sanctioned beat down.

  • ed||

    So she would be less sympathetic if she had never reproduced?
    That's Nancy Pelosi-type reasoning.
    Pure propaganda.

  • ||

    "So she would be less sympathetic if she had never reproduced?"

    Duh.

  • ||

    Everyone has a grandmother. But not everyone has a ninja cat lady.

  • ||

    The lake looks thuggish today.

  • VM||

    *notes to self

    1) Adjust ProGLib's meds
    2) Take away his ninja costume and cat launcher
    3) Leave the cake out in the rain.

  • ||

    Radley has (understandably, since there are so many of them) missed the most recent CPD scandal: an undercover cop who beat up four guys for yelling at him after he almost hit them while running a stop sign. On a side note, while living in Bridgeport (Daley's old neighborhood which is crawling with cops) I routinely had to dodge cop cars while walking my dog. The idea of a Chicago cop stopping at a stop sign is as ludicrous as Dick Cheney obeying the constitution.

  • ||

    Propaganda value aside, is there any reason to note that she's a grandmother?

    No, and that also goes for Radley's favorite word: "paramilitary".

  • ||

    Now, now. They heard there was going to be a poetry slam, and assumed there would be violence, or that slam was street slang for a new kind of drug. Got to nip it in the bud.

  • Abdul||

    an undercover cop who beat up four guys

    In some ways, it's good to see that a cop can beat up four guys singlehandedly rather than picking on bartender girls and grandmothers.

  • ||

    "No, and that also goes for Radley's favorite word: "paramilitary"."

    Wait, that reminds me of a great one I heard in a bar the other day. Stop me if you've heard this:

    Q: What's the difference between FARC and CPD SWAT?

    A: FARC can only afford AK-47s with their drug money!

    Ha. Haha. Isn't that frikkin' hilarious? I'm so glad that CPD could 'take on' a south american revolutionary group while they are serving domestic drug warrants. Whoo. That is hysterical. There are tears in my eyes ...

  • ||

    Cops and Preists wonder why they are all looked at so pathetically. Can they honestly sit back and look at things and think GEE I just don't know why the public doesn't trust us. Things are so fucking out of hand nothing at this point will change anything its sliding down further and further.

    It is time to use their tactics against them. Send them to the ends of the earth chasing tips. Just make sure to send them to local politicians, judges and other elected officials houses.

  • Radley Balko||

    No, and that also goes for Radley's favorite word: "paramilitary".

    What other word would you suggest to describe this?

  • ed||

    Over-the-top marketing?

  • ||

    What other word would you suggest to describe this?

    Homoerotic?

  • ||

    In some ways, it's good to see that a cop can beat up four guys singlehandedly rather than picking on bartender girls and grandmothers.

    Sorry to get your hopes up, Abdul. My initial post was a little inaccurate... The undercover cop being sued merely WATCHED while other cops beat the crap out of the four.

    Had it been single-handedly, I picture it like a Patrick Swayze movie where each guy would take his turn charging on the cop, and he would give them a quick karate chop before turning his attention to the next guy. Then when all four had been dispensed of, he would quip, "Looks like YOU'RE the one coming to a complete stop."

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    Is "neidermann" a new troll or have we identified him as the latest incarnation of "Edward" or "Juanita" or such?

    And de stijl wins. Also a great album.

  • VM||

    Radley and destijl are awesome!

    Anonymo - probably.

  • ||

    I wonder how free we'll be when cops are running around in invulnerable body armor with strength-enhancing exoskeletons? And, of course, phasers?

  • ||

    Just to add to the pile, evidently the BATF has threatened the owner of a gun shop in Idaho with legal action if he continues to blog about the investigation into his shop, and/or take pictures of the process.

    ATF considers blogging to be "harassment"

  • ||

    Propaganda value aside, is there any reason to note that she's a grandmother?

    No, and that also goes for Radley's favorite word: "paramilitary".


    Why include these stuff.

    Because they are called "details."

    If you put several of these "details" together, you get what we call a "story."

    Chuck Norris says, "Don't be a Dick!"

  • VM||

    ProGLib - agonizers.

    MediaG: ARGH! this is going beyond mere BIBERTARIANISM. IT'S ... IT'S...

    /hrumph

  • ||

    VM,

    You are correct--agonizers are the perfect tool for law enforcement.

  • ||

    VM-

    Link to the blog in question. The story about Red's is getting a lot of press in gun culture circles. I'm still not completely up on the situation, though.

    More backstory here. (For those who may be interested.)

  • ed||

    Because they are called "details."

    In journalism school they teach you to separate random facts from pertinent ones. That she is a grandmother is no more pertinent to the story than her height or her tastes in music. It was included purely for emotional impact.

  • dhex||

    "What other word would you suggest to describe this?"

    boneriffic?

  • ||

    Ed-

    So you'd be happy if the story had just said "old woman"?

  • ||

    You are correct--agonizers are the perfect tool for law enforcement.

    Do you mean for their use, or to use on them?

  • ||

    BakedPenguin,

    I was sarcastically referring to law enforcement, of course, but you're right. I could use one around the house, come to think of it.

    I particularly like the idea of asking the victim for his agonizer--that's just mean:

    Citizen: "Officer, your agonizer, please."



    ed,

    Bene Gesserit witch?

  • ||

    In journalism school they teach you to separate random facts from pertinent ones.

    Not exactly. In Journalism 101, they teach this. However, by the time you receive a B.A. in Journalism (like myself, from the University of Pittsburgh), they teach you how to fill in stories with a little more scene and detail so they aren't dry, boring, AP-like stories.

  • ||

    In journalism school they teach you to separate random facts from pertinent ones. That she is a grandmother is no more pertinent to the story than her height or her tastes in music. It was included purely for emotional impact.

    Radley's head would explode if the grandma herself had been wearing paramilitary attire.

  • Sal Paradise||

    Ed wants Balko to say "old woman who probably had it coming".

  • ||

    We're all ignoring the real crime here - Wallace lived in public housing. In other words, housing paid for by money taken from us at gunpoint. This is the true injustice that we should be focusing on from the comforts of our McMansions.

  • ||

    63-year-old grandmother

    Hmmm.

    I wonder if Chelsea will have had any children by the time President Clinton visits in 4 years? ;P

  • ||

    Woo Hoo!! GO Chicago!!!

    Just wait...next time we are gonna make sure that the complaining grandma old lady who clearly had it coming gets shot and killed.

    That'll both teach em to run to the newspapers and show Atlanta that anything they can do we can do better.

    Ok, be truthful, which on this list are highnumber, VM, Mr. Steven Crane, and ChicagoTom??

    I can't speak for anyone else, but I am defintely not PAHNKE, RAYMOND

  • ||

    The undercover cop being sued merely WATCHED while other cops beat the crap out of the four.

    Were they minions or henchmen of some sort?

  • ||

    It was included purely for emotional impact.

    What's wrong with that? It's a fact and it's an emotional story when an old lady is harassed by police officers. Why does its inclusion seem to bug you more than the behavior of the police ?

  • Russ 2000||

    I was going to submit this to Radley but 2 things bothered me about the story.

    1 - it focused on the woman's emotional state when it should have been muckraking about the police

    2 - it focuses on the woman which makes me wonder by a person with an apparently good employment record would retire early to live in a housing project.

  • ||

    At least when a poor person is harassed by the cops Reasonoids will pretend to care about them for a while.

  • Liberty<b>Please</b>||

    "neidermann:

    We're all ignoring the real crime here - Wallace lived in public housing. In other words, housing paid for by money taken from us at gunpoint. This is the true injustice that we should be focusing on from the comforts of our McMansions."


    Suggested Soundtrack: http://benfolds.lyrics.info/jesusland.html

  • ed||

    Why does its ["grandmother"] inclusion seem to bug you more than the behavior of the police ?

    It doesn't. I'm merely stating that there is propaganda on both sides of this particular event, and people who are concerned with justice should not diminish or cheapen their argument by making appeals to emotion. I couldn't care less if she's a grandmother. That fact adds absolutely nothing to the story. It's a cheap shot.

  • ||

    I'm merely stating that there is propaganda on both sides of this particular event, and people who are concerned with justice should not diminish or cheapen their argument by making appeals to emotion.

    I understand your point, but justice is an inherently emotional concept.

    If a man is wrongly imprisoned, for instance, and I point out that he's being kept apart from his children, that doesn't diminish or cheapen the argument against wrongful imprisonment, even if we all know that the injustice would be no less if he had no children.

  • highnumber||

    jimmy,

    I kind of look like a cross between RUDYAK, VASYL with sideburns and LOPEZ, CARLOS without the goatee or vandyke or whatever that is.
    What we can deduce is that the cops were trying to arrest me, but got these two innocent men by mistake.

  • Cactus||

    The real shame of this is that grandma didn't kill the entire entry team when they invaded her home. When these ninja clad thugs start having to drag their entire entry teams out in body bags maybe they will begin to rethink what they're doing. When you have the most law abiding and peaceable citizens (from law enforcement backgrounds no less) who are rooting, nay, longing to see you and your colleagues shot dead maybe you should rethink following the orders you are being given.

  • ||

    If the people in Chicago had 2nd amendment rights, they could buy guns to protect themselves from the police. On second thought, that's just silly. They should call the police.

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