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“A flashlight. A wrench. An L-shaped object under a towel. Even a Chicago Fire Department badge in a wallet. All allegedly have been mistaken for guns in recent cases in which people were shot by Chicago police officers who believed they were under threat, a Chicago Tribune investigation has found.” Well . . .

I know I have something of a rep for being anti-cop, but that’s not true. I’m anti-bad cop. By that I mean, cops who are homophobic, racist, overly aggressive, etc., and poorly trained. While there are police officers who answer to that description, I hardly think the majority are anything other than strictly professional. As for cops who make mistakes, well, sh*t happens.

What sh*t happened here? The Trib fills in the blanks. A bit . . .

Those shootings, in which police said the victim had a gun but one was never found, resulted in seven deaths. But that was not the only cost. Lawsuits have been filed in all 14 shootings, and, even with three cases pending, the city already has settled with plaintiffs for more than $15 million — a hefty price for Chicago taxpayers.

Although none of them had guns, six people who survived the shootings were nevertheless charged with aggravated assault of a police officer. Four were either found not guilty or convicted of a lesser crime. One person shot by police, a paramedic, was not charged.

The question here is the same one that applies to you or me after any defensive gun use: did the police officer reasonably believe that they or other innocent life were in imminent danger of grievous bodily harm or death? Who decides that? The police, the prosecutor, a judge and/or jury.

Which leaves us wondering whether or not the police who fired the fatal bullets were properly investigated and treated fairly by the resulting police investigation and judicial process.

The law, [MacArthur Justice Center at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law professor David] Shapiro said, “provides a whole lot of insulation for officers to act unreasonably. It’s designed to keep officers from being too cautious, but the net effect makes it so there are almost no consequences.” . . .

[University of Missouri at St. Louis law professor David] Klinger also said it is not necessarily uncommon that a police oversight agency, criminal court and civil court arrive at seemingly different conclusions about a shooting.

Klinger pointed to the 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo by police in New York City. Diallo was shot 19 times after officers thought he was raising a gun — which turned out to be his wallet — in their direction. The four officers involved in the shooting were placed on desk duty, indicted in state court but then cleared in a criminal trial. The city settled a civil suit with Diallo’s family for $3 million.

While three of the four officers involved retired, the one who did not eventually was restored to full duty and given his gun back.

“It is possible to have what you would call a bad shooting that is still not illegal,” Klinger said. “We call it ‘awful but lawful.’ “

Until and unless police lose their civil immunity from prosecution — a debatable proposition — that’s the way it is. As Walter Cronkite (ask your parents) used to say.

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    • That could be their end-game. Like driving Christian Patriots out of Public Schools and still making them pay for it. Driving AMERICANS out of Detroit, etc., etc., etc.


      But It Is One of the Few Things in Life That JUST Happen.

  1. Hey I knew a gal who was friends with one of the cops(a petite 120pound black woman) who shot a woman eluding the po-leece. Hey boyfriend was the one they were after. All she had was a cellphone. The family got $18000000. So sorry RF your stats are wrong. But the message is the same. I won’t comment on having little women riding shotgun. Or the complete ineptitude of Chicago’s “finest”…LaTanya Haggerty-2001.

    • “At least 14 times since 2010, Chicago police officers shot someone and said they thought the person had a gun, though police ultimately never found one (and forgot to bring a drop gun).”

      So your 2001 story isn’t part of these stats.
      One thing I’ve noticed here in FeigerLand (although I guess Chitcago isn’t necessarily too far for Jeff to travel for a million dollar contingency fee either) is that the payouts have been going down, not up. For instance, Eddie Swans, a homeless drug addict, was worth $12 million in 1998 to his cousins, who would rather see him sleeping on the sidewalk than on their sofas. More recent wrongful deaths are usually worth a million or two, even when the decedent had serious remaining earning capacity.

  2. Chicago is a democratic hell hole. Much like CA. That being said, cedric forgot the golden rule. Play stupid games and win stupid prizes.

    If the police are coming after you with drawn guns it’s time to get very compliant.

    As for the immunity thing. I think about that and consider where we expect our cops to operate and the type of folks we expect them to interact with. I worked in a prison for a non profit providing services for inmates and their families. Give these people any opening, any advantage and we’ll start seeing more Petit families in the nicer neighborhoods.

    • “If the police are coming after you with drawn guns it’s time to get very compliant.”

      True enough, but we’ve seen that sometimes it’s a no-win situation, where people were being 100% compliant and got shot for doing exactly what they were told because the cops suddenly decided they were at risk.

      • I’d like to see some stats, a breakdown on police shootings as regards the folks that got shot. How many of the shot were soccer moms, or gainfully employed folk with clean records as opposed to how many were involved in a life of crime?

        A bad shoot is a bad shoot. But how often does the lifestyle and history of the “victim” contribute to the shoot?

        • “One person shot by police, a paramedic, was not charged.” I remember that case for a few years ago. It was a firefighter who’s wife or girlfriend had said he was suicidal. He was in his car talking on the phone when the police located him. The original police report says that when officers found him, he made the sign of the cross, jumped out, and then fired at the officers. To be clear, they originally reported that he fired at the officers.
          Then they said that he did not fire, but jumped out with a gun.
          Then they said he jumped out, but did not have a gun.
          Then they said he jumped out and they shot him.
          They ended up with, he got out of the car, complied, with a cell phone held high in his hands, and they shot him.
          All charges dropped.
          No life of crime, no crime being committed. No threats. No gun present. Complying with commands. The cops shot him, and then lied to cover it up. When the truth came out, none of the cops went to jail.

        • I said “all charges dropped”, but I’m not sure if he was charged or just arrested and then released once he left the hospital.

        • I think it’s obvious that the rules of engagement cops use have changed over the past decade or so. What hasn’t happened, however, is that public expectations of how to deal with the police haven’t changed. We still think we can exit our cars when stopped and have a one-on-one conversation with a cop. No anymore. Doing that today might get you shot. So, if the rules of engagement have changed and the police understand them and use them in routine encounters with the public, those same rules have not been communicated to the public. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that there’s an obvious disconnect between public and police perceptions, with the police being conspicuously circumspect about telling us just how and why they’re going to act under these new rules. I suspect that they aren’t all that forthcoming about their new rules of engagement because they fear the political fallout from admitting to the public just how militarized police training has become.

      • Its always nice to Constitutional Rights take a back seat to Authoritarianism, and Fascism…Nothing like being accosted by The Paramilitary, and being turned into a political prisoner….Just ask some of the open carry folks, or those that strayed over a local, city, or stateline……

    • What if multiple officers are shouting contradictory commands? It’s not hard to find videos showing police officers doing this.

      “Freeze!” says one. “Put your hands up!” says a 2nd. Well which is it?

      “Get down on the ground face down!” “Keep your hands up!” What if one has bad knees and needs to use their hands to get down on the ground?

      “Show me ID.” The poor guy in NC did exactly that and got shot by a panicked cop when he reached into his truck to get his wallet.

      Complying with police commands is no guarantee of safety.

      • What you are describing is the loss of the ‘cover-contact principle’ in law enforcement.

        It used to be that at any scene with more than one cop, there was always one and only one that was ‘designated’ to give verbal commands.

        That’s not true anymore. I don’t know if this principle was dropped by formal design or if it’s just street-laziness or what. But, the loss is being sorely felt…and people are getting hurt/dying because of the exact confusion you described.

        That alone is criminal, and the cops wear it. You can’t shoot a person for ‘non-compliance’ anyway (at least not LEGALLY), and certainly not if he is hearing contradicting orders.

      • Oh, you mean like those Youtube self-defense video club; “Masters of the dark arts crew…” Where on a live video shootout showed a bunch of want-to-be rookie SWAT team police Commandos engage in some kind of Felony takedown arrest in broad daylight a shopping plaza…And suddenly, they put the hammer down on this tall black dude…And it gets ugly , and he reaches into his pocket…He pulls out something and starts dancing around…The Mod Squad starts yelling “Freeze !!! ” The other Commando yells , Stop !!! I’ll kill you! !! ” Now , let’s remember that the Keystone coppers are in a busy public shopping plaza with a few pedestrians, shoppers, and bicyclists….And then it becomes a shooting gallery…Both cops open up on these guy….They dump their Glocks and bullets are flying….Hit the tarmac, the store brick face—missing people under the vestibule…. errant rounds flying everywhere….They hit the guy 3 times out of fuselage of bullets from both officers hi-cap mags….Some hard-edge conservatives will probably give these guys a free pass , a pat on the back, and maybe polish a badge, or lick a trooper boot….But , as a constitutionalist / libertarian lite, I believe they conducted this stop in a highly populated area, endangered the general public, and caused property damage! This is why constitutional rights are in place…Why Law enforcement should be disarmed….Only the citizenry has these rights….No, there is way to much paramilitarized LEO’S. This NWO stuff needs to go…..

  3. “I hardly think the majority are anything other than strictly professional”

    Yeah, professional, except when it comes to dealing with the criminals in their own ranks. In which case they at best look the other way, and at worst actively help them.

    • The majority are professionals?

      Heck, this is Chicago. If there are ten cops in the entire city who’ve outlasted their probationary periods without becoming serious professional criminals, I’d be very surprised.

  4. When the IL legislature passed state Senator Kwame Raoul’s SB1304 “Body Cam” bill in 2015, the press made a big deal about how this bill was a Great Leap Forward in police accountability. One little problem though, the bill does not have criminal charges for cops who delete or alter video or audio evidence, or turn off their recorders. That’s why only two of five cameras were “working” when Laquan McDonald was shot by Chicago police.

    Per the State Journal-Register of May 28, 2015, from Springfield, Illinois: “Officers who neglect to record would be treated at the departmental level instead of being charged with a crime.”

    The police unions got their nose under the tent in the Body Cam bill and convinced the good old boy element in the state legislature that they would never destroy video evidence that makes them look bad. Kwame Raoul has a reputation as The Great Helmsman of the black community and civil rights, but he allowed white racist good old boy Reps like Brandon Phelps to give the police unions an out in the Body Cam bill so they can kill, then destroy the evidence later. Their buddies in the police department can then “investigate” their negligence and give them a three day suspension instead of criminal charges and time in county jail. Imagine having a “job” where you can kill people and get away with it- legally.

    Kwame Raoul kept Duty to Inform w/ criminal penalties in the state Senate version of Brandon Phelps concealed carry bill in 2013. These are the kind of people NRA state lobbyist Todd Vandermyde “does business” with: Kwame Raoul, Brandon Phelps, the anti-gun police unions, and everyone else who supports the ability of police criminals to set up and murder citizens like Philando Castile in Minnesota. Send in your NRA life membership. Chris Cox & Chuck Cunningham at NRA-ILA need to send Vandermyde a bonus.

    • First, I have no problem with the duty to inform in the FCCA, as it’s not automatic (you only have to inform if they ask), and can be accomplished by simply handing the officer your CCL. Of course, this can all be avoided entirely by simply not causing law enforcement to need to interact with you in the first place.

      Second, as for not automatically charging officers who neglect to record, this is because automatic/mandatory charges can and do ensnare innocent people, and if you paid much attention at all, you would know that Phelps and Todd both generally oppose things like this. The charge should come IF it’s determined that the lack of recording was intentional, or that footage was tampered with, deleted, etc. These are all still chargeable options, by the way.

      Finally, I’m already a life member (Patron, actually), and I agree that Todd should get a bonus. He and Phelps both have done (and continue to do) a lot for us and our gun rights.

      • “…I have no problem with the duty to inform in the FCCA…” Then you go right ahead and inform Barney Fife yourself, since you know the Klan handshake and all police are your friends. Those who believe in the Constitution and the rule of law don’t care to have the right to remain silent and the right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty reversed, especially when any cop in Illinois has the “right” to arrest/ kill you if he lies and claims you didn’t inform, since EVERY violation of the IL carry bill is criminal: six months or one year in jail.

        “(you only have to inform if they ask)” Wow, that’s really nice that you only have to inform a cop that you are armed if he feels like asking you! Now crouch down like a slave and thank the police unions for allowing you to have concealed carry in IL at all, since they wrote most of Phelps bill anyway. Cops don’t have Duty to Inform between each other, why is that?

        “…and can be accomplished by simply handing the officer your CCL.” Who’s an “officer” by the way? Nothing in the carry bill states that the “officer” who confronts you with the ability to kill you has to be in uniform or on duty, or even working in their proper jurisdiction. You can be walking down Michigan Ave. in Chicago to shop at Water Tower Place and a Champaign cop can walk up to you, flash the badge (or not) demand to “see your I.D.” and ask if you are armed. Then of course we have the matter of serial killers such as John Gacy and Ted Bundy posing as cops to disarm, abduct and kill women, but that will never happen to you or yours, you live in downstate and never travel outside the county you live in.

        “Of course, this can all be avoided entirely by simply not causing law enforcement to need to interact with you in the first place.” Translation from HickSpeak: I’m one of the “good guys” and I’m “on the same side” as police against “bad guys.” How quaint and ignorant that you expect to be treated differently by police in 2016 since you have a plastic card in your wallet. You believe the cops will give you a good citizen award when you shoot someone?

        “…Phelps and Todd both generally oppose things like this.” Brandon Phelps is an ignorant racist hick, a coward, and one of the people who used and betrayed Otis McDonald and every gun owner in Illinois by insisting on Duty to Inform in his “NRA backed” carry bill. The only people in the state legislature who opposed DTI were Chicago area Black Caucus Reps.

        “…I agree that Todd should get a bonus. He and Phelps both have done (and continue to do) a lot for us and our gun rights.” You’re right about that, they have done a lot- of damage to the Constitution. It will take ten years or more to correct what Vandermyde has done. But that’s the plan of any lobbyist with no morality, create job security by passing the worst bills possible, then “fixing” them. Sort of like building a substandard road if you work for William Dugan at the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers local 150 in Countryside.

        Todd Vandermyde is a traitor who deliberately sold out the interests of not only NRA members, but all 12 million residents of Illinois and every gun owner from every other state that ever passes through Illinois. Whether it’s Vandermyde’s rambling drunken arguments with real heroes like Alan Gura, or the fact that he set up armed citizens to be harassed, arrested, abducted, raped and murdered by police and police impersonators, Vandermyde is a national disgrace to the NRA and the entire gun rights community.


    • Hey, if you guys would never deliberately destroy evidence, then you have no need for immunity from prosecution for destroying evidence, right? (that’s what the legislature should have told the unions)

  5. You fail to connect all the dots. When the police have an encounter in certain neighborhoods they are on a hair trigger because of the high probability that they are confronting an armed felon. You can chalk up some percentage of these cases to a side effect of the high level gang violence. As a practical matter, the city should just pay damages and move on.

      • Not a very pratical to automatically charge the officer since the police cut back further on risky stops. Depends on the circumstances. If the incident happened during the pursuit of suspect in gang territory the officer probably did mistake the object for a gun. You want to charge the police then you will just make self defense more difficult for Joe Citizen, you know just arrest him and let the jury decide.

        • I didn’t say automatically in every case. Did you mean the city should just automatically pay up in every case?

        • You didn’t qualify your statement. You said “charge the officer and let the jury decide.”
          You are now moving the goal posts.

          And yes pay the money for any case where an unarmed shooting victim was not physically resisting the officer when the mistake was made. You people keeping going on about ending civil immunity for police. Let’s have the government assume the liabilty instead so an officer can do his job without fear of a honest mistake bankrupting him or worse. If the government has to pay they will get rid of police officers who keep costing them money. It should not affect the good cop who may make a mistake.

        • tdiinva, you have a problem with a cop being bankrupted for mistakenly ending the life of an innocent citizen.

          What do you propose to keep the rest of us from being bankrupted if we make the same mistake? Or should only ‘trained professionals’ be held unaccountable while the rest are held to a higher standard?

        • You didn’t qualify your statement either and I didn’t assume you were just suggesting we should pay everyone that gets shot. Because I’m trying to have a real debate and not just assume you’re an idiot and rant to myself.
          Now I see what your criteria is, which is what I assumed it was,I still strongly disagree. Don’t pay out my money unless you file charges. In every one of those cases that you reference, the officer should have been charged with attempted murder or at the very least depraved indifference, and let the jury decide.
          There is not “government paying”, there is the taxpayer paying. I’m that taxpayer. I don’t want to continue paying for one mistake after the next, as I am now.
          Also, when have I ever suggested ending qualified immunity? Certainly not here.

  6. IMHO, the best course of action is to drop anything that may be in your hands, reach for the sky, don’t move and wait for the cops to “adjust” you.

    Yes, you make get taken down rather hard but you likely won’t get shot. When multiple officers are present they often give conflicting orders and following one may get you shot by an officer who’s giving a different order. So, just freeze and let them calm down.

    • So is it freeze or reach for the sky? Either will get you shot.
      With the firefighter/paramedic listed in the story, he complied, put his hand up, they shot him, lied about it, and changed their story when they got caught.

  7. If police already have drawn on you, then the situation has already become deadly serious with little to no margin for error.

    Quit being a punk and introducing opportunity for error by making sudden moves and simulating a threat. Better yet, don’t be a gangster or other loser who gets himself into these sitations.

    • But we’ve seen that doesn’t always work either. The firefighter listed above, the video of the disabled man’s caretaker who was literally seated with his hands up when he was shot, these cases go on and on. Are they the norm? Absolutely not. But they do happen.
      Complying does not guarantee you wont’ be shot.

      • The Chicago po-leece just shot a 13year old boy to death(last night) while he was(so they say) holding a BB gun pointed at the cops.. I guess that qualifies as “gun shaped”. It was was also “reported” he had a laser on his BB pistol. Yeah right…shades of the Cleveland Rice boy.

        • Are you thinking about that case in Columbus, or was there another 13 year-old with a BB gun shot by police last night?

        • My mistake DaveL. But it was all over the Chiraq news. Kinda’ like “what else is new”? And they shoot a lot of perps- many justifiably.

      • No argument from me on that. There are no guarantees for anything. Not in this life, anyway. Just be smart and play the odds, but there are never any sure things.

  8. Or maybe just actually decriminalize and normalize guns and they wouldn’t be afraid of things looking like guns. Deadly assault umbrellas. You know, something along those lines; ignoring the cases where somebody is suspected for a crime, already has a gun pointed at them. That moment, don’t do a thing. Don’t reach for your gun-looking wallet.

  9. Chicago cops are no longer the finest, they are the AA and politically connected hires. The people who actually cared about the job have left save a few holdouts.

  10. The Chicago PD is the most corrupt in North America. NOTHING they say should be believed.

    Look at the beating of the barmaid. Not only was she savagely beaten by a cop 100lb.s heavier than her, there was a conspiracy of his cop friends to intimidate the victim, her employer and co-workers. And that was confirmed in civil court.

    Then there’s the SOS home invasion, burglary and kidnapping ring. Police departments usually investigate home invasions. The Chicago PD PERPETRATES them.

    What’s the difference between the Chicago PD and the Black Gangster Disciples? The signature on their government checks.

  11. Other things that may get you shot if you’re holding them up, because they look like guns to the police:

    Your son or kid brother (if he’s black),

    A bible (it has a black cover).

    A Mont Blanc pen (it’s black).

    A ripe banana (it’s turning black).

    Your hands (if you’re black).

  12. If I understand correctly, our armed forces overseas–who face real danger on a day to day basis–are required to actually verify that a target has a weapon before they can open fire.

    Is it really asking too much of domestic police forces that they be held to the same requirements? (I am not using the term “ROEs” because the police are civilians.) As opposed to simply being able to say “I was in fear of my life”?

  13. You shoot a paramedic, I’ll still help you when you get shot, but I’ll be damned if I’m giving you any painkillers.

  14. If you don’t carjack you won’t get in a situation like this. Also try stopping when confronted and don’t have anything in your hands, drop the phone.

    Free advice for the criminal elements.

  15. A lot of comments here underestimate how often Chicago police run into folks (& people) that have no problem shooting at the police. I’m OK with a policeman shooting a fleeing felon who pulled something out of their pants during the flight approximately 30′ away from the pursuing officer. However, this individual officer had a history of multiple questionable shoots and non deadly use of force.

    That is the problem in Chicago. There is a fair amount of corruption in the police department that allows connected individuals to operate on a completely different set of rules and consequences from regular officers. These ‘clouted’ officers are usually promoted well ahead of their peers due to a merit system and those that aren’t are often fed answers by secret study groups ahead of the exam. It’s a joke.

  16. McCarthy’s training strikes again. “No need to hold your fire…” They should have fought every one of them, though. The crime families who receive all that money only serve as an excuse for the next Laquan McDonald to smoke even more PCP, slash more tires and march toward even more cops with a knife in his hand. And all that.

  17. This story cannot be true. After all, Chicago has very strict gun control, so clearly no criminals can be carrying guns, and therefore no cop is in fear for their life, and therefore there is no reason for skittish cops to shoot anyone.

    Right?? Right??

  18. Loving the comments. The implications that this only happens in Chi-town and/or it only happens to those who deserve it by some mental gymnastics. Isn’t the 2nd Amendment supposed to be a “protection” from tyranny? Or does it only apply to certain “people”?

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