Crackdowns have consequences
Tuesday, Aug 4, 2020
* July 8…
* 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.
Also, this was a summer mobile unit.