Militarization of Police

Chicago PD's Professionalism Problems

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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."