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Crackdowns have consequences

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2020

* July 8

Following an especially bloody holiday weekend in Chicago that saw dozens wounded and at least 17 killed by gunfire, police Superintendent David Brown has announced plans to create a permanent, specialized citywide unit to stop sudden flare-ups in violence and other crime, officials said.

Brown first told the Tribune in May he was contemplating forming such a unit, a controversial crime-fighting strategy that has occasionally been used here.

Details of the new unit were still being worked out this week, but once formed, it will be the first time CPD has used such a roving team on a permanent basis since 2011. That’s when two similar citywide units were disbanded amid concerns about their aggressive style and after a previous unit was rocked by a corruption scandal.

* Former House Deputy Majority Leader Art Turner, Sr. told me he thought he had prepared himself Saturday to drive to the suburbs to pick up a new F-150 truck by donning a pro-police shirt. But he never made it that far. Turner, who retired in 2010 after representing the city’s West Side for decades, managed to drive a block and a half from his home before he was pulled over by two CPD officers because he had no front license plate.

“I had my registration, I had the title, I had my insurance card and a driver’s license,” said Turner, who said he gave it all to the officer.

While the officers ran him through the computer, Turner called his wife and asked her to bring his plate to his car. But just after he hung up, he was ordered out of the car. He asked what was going on and was told they had a warrant for his arrest, he said.

Turner said he insisted to the officers that there must’ve been a mistake. He has no warrants out for him. But he was cuffed tightly, tossed in the back of the squad car and they were off to the station, with the other officer driving his car.

Except, Turner said, the officer driving the squad got lost. The two, he said, were part of that new roving citywide unit and apparently weren’t familiar with the area. So, he gave the police officer directions to the local station and the driver made a U-turn, while Turner complained that the cuffs were on too tight.

Turner said as soon as they walked into the station he shouted for a desk sergeant, but nobody came. He was placed into a cell and told to surrender his belt and his shoe laces.

Finally, a lieutenant who Turner knew from his years living in and representing the area came down to see what was going on.

Turns out, the Art Turner they were looking for was born in 1986, has tattoos up and down both arms and is over 6 feet tall. Art will be 70 soon, has no discernible tattoos and is not a tall man. A case of “mistaken identity” this is not.

This is all bad enough, but in the age of COVID-19, Turner is worried he may have been exposed to the virus while in the cell. “For the last five months, I can tell you the six people I’ve been around,” Turner said.

Turner, who had hernia surgery two months ago, went to the hospital to get his wrists checked and they referred him to an orthopedic doctor. He’s also filed a complaint.

* All of y’all who want the cops to get tough and crack down, just know that this sort of thing is an inevitable consequence in certain neighborhoods. Good and innocent people, particularly Black and Brown people, are swept up for no good reason. And then anger builds.

I’ve known Art Turner a very long time and I’ve never heard him so furious as he was yesterday on that phone call.

We gotta do better.

…Adding… CPD…

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) strives to treat all individuals our officers encounter with respect and any misconduct by officers will not be tolerated. A complaint has been received regarding this incident and an investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) is currently ongoing. Due to the open investigation, we are unable to comment further on this incident but we will ensure that if any wrongdoing is discovered by COPA, officers will be held accountable.

As a reminder, anyone who feels they have been mistreated by a CPD officer is encouraged to call 311 and file a complaint with COPA, who will investigate allegations of misconduct.

Also, this was a summer mobile unit.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

44 Comments
  1. - Almost the weekend - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    This is the scene from the Wire when they pull over the pastor and he’s got pull at city hall. The blind is leading the blind in the police department and on the streets where the violence is.


  2. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    So flying squads may not be the answer. What’s the next page in the Dallas handbok


  3. - Ray Gun - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:44 pm:

    Children are being shot dead. I would guess the families that have lost children will happily tolerate imperfect policing if it saves lives. In short, a bad afternoon for a legislator isn’t a particularly compelling story when compared to what the mothers of dead children will have to live with for the rest of their lives.


  4. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:45 pm:

    Sadly, this is exactly what many of the “get tough and crack down” crowd want. I’ll await John Kass’s outraged column on this…


  5. - JoanP - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    Appalling, but, sadly, not surprising.

    =the Art Turner they were looking for was born in 1986, has tattoos up and down both arms and is over 6 feet tall.=

    And that information would have been available to the officers at the scene.

    I hope Turner files a complaint.


  6. - Fresh ideas - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:47 pm:

    Disgusting story. What only makes it worse is to imagine how far this would have gone if the person arrested wasn’t a state rep with a local profile, but just the wrong random person. This should never be happening, but is happening all the time


  7. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    “Sadly, this is exactly what many of the “get tough and crack down” crowd want”

    No it is not. This should be pointed out and rectified but it should also be pointed out these past two weekends had the lowest number of shootings in ~6 - 8 weeks.

    The crackdown that’s needed is what the below articles reference.

    https://abc7chicago.com/chicago-crime-black-disciples-street-gang-drug-trafficking/6340729/

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2020/7/20/21331764/operation-monticellos-revenge-open-air-drug-market-humboldt-park-sam-howard-kelvin-franklin


  8. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    They need to find a balance and soon. Over the weekend, rank and file police, presumably under orders not to engage with protesters, watched as dozens of Loop buildings were vandalized with graffiti.

    Turner’s situation is the exact opposite. There has to be some sort of middle ground that protects the city without punishing innocent people. What happened to Turner is unacceptable, but Black Chicagoans have been victims of this forever.

    FWIW, I’d rather pay to clean up graffiti than subject people to false arrest or police harassment.


  9. - Actual Red - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    John Locke got it right when it comes to the mentality of the law and order crowd:

    “Men are so foolish, that they take care to avoid what mischiefs may be done them by pole-cats, or foxes; but are content, nay, think it safety, to be devoured by lions.”


  10. - In_The_Middle - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    Most warrants (not sure about City of Chicago warrants) provide dob and physicals of the person that the warrant has been sworn for. Also, check for fit and double lock, has been taught statewide in the police academy, including the Chicago police academy for many years.


  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:55 pm:

    === guess the families that have lost children will happily tolerate imperfect policing===

    Yeah. I’m sure you know so many of those folks.


  12. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    I don’t think you can train stupid out of people. CPD needs to review who is on the force. These cops showed terrible judgment.

    The flying squad idea is a military type response. Not likely to help. Seems the cops need better relationships in the neighborhoods. This does not build that.


  13. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 2:59 pm:

    You can’t reform CPD. Defund and abolish.


  14. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    I drove the same truck with no front license plate all over Chicago for 5 years. Got pulled over exactly zero times.


  15. - Roadrager - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    ==So flying squads may not be the answer. What’s the next page in the Dallas handbok==

    “Find a new gig, leave town”


  16. - Reality - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    @Ray Gun & @1st Ward. - Policing responds to violence with violence, it does not address the root causes. These communities have already suffered from over-policing for decades and it does nothing to positively change people’s material outcomes. In fact, it does the opposite, relegating people to a lifetime of struggle and creates criminals out of the very people they claim to protect. Most crime is born out of poverty and inadequate access to resources. Try picking up a sociology book.


  17. - Vaungh Leland - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    Defund and abolish is the only thing that’s going to fix this situation and those alike.


  18. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:22 pm:

    Art Turner, Sr. is one of the most decent, congenial people in public life.

    I wonder the race of the cops. What did they see when they looked at the former House Deputy Majority Leader since they couldn’t recognize he was not 34 years old?

    How long will he wait to get an apology from the officers, the superintendent and the mayor?


  19. - Tynie - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    Vaungh, I have a serious question. As a mentally disabled person on SSI. (Bipolar, ADD, PTSD, ODD are my primary ones) I can’t legally own a gun. (I’ve checked state & federal laws on it)
    On top of it, I live in an area that’s had several shootings in the past 3 months. (I lost count on them, but they all happened within a 2 mile radius of my home)
    So, how do you propose I survive without police protection?


  20. - ajjacksson p - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    Wow. A complete lack of common sense….


  21. - Shytown - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    Think about how many others out who had the same experience as him that we don’t know about. Why can’t police entities, with all the technology available to them today, get this right? And it completely plays into the narrative of defunding the police when you see a completely avoidable situation like this go down. Like Rich said, we’ve got to do better.


  22. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:31 pm:

    I too wonder what the race of the police officers were. I think it is more of a cop against them thing. Especially if it is a “flying squad” all dressed up in military gear. Maybe before we try and defund police we should demilitarize them.


  23. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    “Policing responds to violence with violence, it does not address the root causes”

    The police job is not to address the root causes. The legislative and executive branches of state/local and federal can work to address root causes but have abdicated this duty. Again, they obviously screwed up and consequences should happen in this case but the continued scapegoating for all of societies ills is ridiculous.


  24. - Austinman - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:36 pm:

    As a person who lives in the same neighborhood as the Rep, I am not surprised… the life of a black male is very harsh.


  25. - low level - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:43 pm:

    One of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met, not just politicians

    And then CPD wonders why people have issues w them.


  26. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    ==a bad afternoon for a legislator isn’t a particularly compelling story==

    That is a pathetically sad and flippant defense.


  27. - Reality - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    1st Ward, the only scapegoating happening is that the very communities that have been denied access to resources since the dawn of this nation and have felt the blunt wrath of the state for centuries are being blamed for their condition. Policing is a scapegoat to respond to the consequences of systemic racism rather than addressing the actual problem. You are correct that the state has turned to policing to respond to its failures in addressing the root causes. But in the U.S, that is by design. It was never an accident. The just response should be to defund, abolish and redistribute those funds. Prisons disappear people, they don’t disappear problems.


  28. - Club J - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 3:51 pm:

    I was reading this and my watch told me to breathe and then told me my heart rate was going up. I feel so sorry for this man. He did nothing and was put through the ringer. I sure hope the officers that pulled this master mistake are rightfully punished.

    This happens to much to good people..


  29. - Lynn S. - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:01 pm:

    I’d like to start by thanking Mr. Turner for allowing Rich to share this story.

    I don’t know how many folks here remember Chris Rock’s sitcom, “Everybody Hates Chris.”

    There’s an episode where Chris’s mom witnessed a crime, and the police interview her to get a description of the criminal. She gives a very detailed description–height, weight, approximate age, clothing, haircut–but because she started with, “He’s a Black man”, the camera cuts over to the cops, who aren’t writing down a darn thing, and a voice in their heads is saying “He’s a Black man. He’s a Black man.”

    And, predictably, the cops go out and scoop up the first Black man they see, who looks nothing like the criminal (too old, too short, wearing a suit).

    The story shared with us is a sad commentary on how little has changed in almost 40 years.


  30. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:02 pm:

    Cops using military tactics act as Soldiers…for the sake of definitive reality.


  31. - west side chicago - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:03 pm:

    For those that suggest this is the price we pay for saving children’s lives (Ray Gun) - what makes you think that what they did to Rep Turner has anything at all to do with reducing crime? Actions like this by the CPD undermines trust in the CPD, it doesn’t save any lives whatsoever. It makes law-abiding people incredibly angry and diverts resources from really looking out for violence and preventing it or intervening in it.


  32. - Cosgrove - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:24 pm:

    Appalling! Art Turner Sr. stands out as one of the kindest and most decent people I’ve met in government. It screams madness that this could happen to him—or anyone else for that matter.


  33. - David Starrett - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:43 pm:

    What Lynn said.


  34. - Winderweezle - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:47 pm:

    Interpretation of the information on an arrest warrant is such incredibly basic police work that one decently trained officer should be able to do it in his sleep. Two officers both screwed this up?

    I am starting to believe that there may be a crisis of competency at cpd. I thought it when I watched the Van Dyke disaster video and I thought it when I heard cpd officers testify in his case.

    This all seems to be a training issue. How can you be a big city cop and not know how to do the job?


  35. - Southwest Sider - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:52 pm:

    What a bad post. Yes, a bad incident, but the title suggests that crackdowns are not good. Yes, they are for surging crime areas.


  36. - Cornfield Cowboy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:58 pm:

    ==This is not Facebook, so uncivil comments, profanity of any kind, rumors== Rich’s rules prevent one from sharing their true thoughts on this. What an embarrassment for CPD and an unjust travesty for the Turner Family.


  37. - Are you kidding me - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 4:59 pm:

    This makes me so angry. He is wonderful person that never would come off like he did something wrong. I will pray for his (and his family’s) safety.


  38. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:10 pm:

    === I would guess the families that have lost children will happily tolerate imperfect policing if it saves lives.

    They should be outraged at this. It took police resources for a person who is obviously not the person with a warrant and could likely result in a settlement that will take more police resources away.

    Basic competence by police should be expected.


  39. - Amalia - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:39 pm:

    oh my, he’s a very courtly gentleman, I’m so sorry he had to go through that. get it together, CPD. that said, it’s pretty horrible in Chicago re the stats on shooting and murder. worst July ever, and there seem to be some newbies sent out cause all hands on deck.


  40. - Froganon - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 6:04 pm:

    Complete fail by the CPD officers. These guys can’t be trusted to be crossing guards. Families who have lost children need officers with the basic competency to identify suspects and connect the dots. These two clearly lack even minimal job skills.


  41. - Give Us Barabbas - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:49 pm:

    How does this happen, when the officers ostensibly passed training to not do dumb things like this? Without intention of insulting cops in general, I gotta say the hiring practices are part of the problem. In that, literally, the process screens out the more intelligent and educated cop applicants, on the theory that “too smart” equals “likely to quit early in career for better pay”, and “will be a disciplinary problem”.

    A cop’s job is about as tough as you get. I’d like every one of them paid right but also to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, plus associate degrees in key disciplines that would be of use in the job, including some psych training, conflict resolution, criminology, constitutional law, sociology…. But we don’t get that. The qualifications for CPD are biased to hire soldiers. In fact, you can’t -get- hired to CPD unless you’re a veteran, and serving a ,long-enough hitch is considered equivalent to and a replacement for college courses.

    They just plug in soldiers in to the police force…

    Because they teach soldiers the particular talents and skills a peace officer needs on the streets and they’re not just interested in hiring people that know how to beat someone up and to shoot… right? …right?

    The old saying applies: “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” You want to reform police, stop just hiring soldiers and calling it done. A great police officer needs to be built from scratch, but they’re too cheap and lazy to do that, so they just change a soldier’s uniform from green to blue and call it good. And this is what you get.


  42. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:52 pm:

    ===We gotta do better.===

    Says so much, saying so little… saying it all.

    Institutional and systemic racism and seemingly targeting by those sent to allegedly help, it depresses me that it can be seen as “unintended consequences” by those not looking to make better where these sad incidents never happen at all.

    My best to Mr. Turner, Sr..


  43. - Muddy trail - Wednesday, Aug 5, 20 @ 6:08 am:

    ==In that, literally, the process screens out the more intelligent and educated cop applicants, on the theory that “too smart” equals “likely to quit early in career for better pay”, and “will be a disciplinary problem”.==
    I that is just an urban legend.


  44. - Muddy trail - Wednesday, Aug 5, 20 @ 6:11 am:

    Other than that I agree with you. A more professional police force will go a long way. We don’t have the money to do that yet we blow money on lawsuits all the time when things go wrong.


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