“The police recover thousands of guns every year,” chicago.suntimes.com reports, “many of them through buyback programs, as well as by confiscating weapons seized during arrests — more than 5,000 guns so far this year alone. The guns are supposed to be destroyed.” TTAG commentators have often wondered . . .
how many “buyback” guns have gone walkies. After all, a small percentage of these guns are extremely valuable — just as a small percentage of cops are corrupt.
What our Armed Intelligentsia may not have anticipated — save our resident cynic Ralph — is that a bad cop might secretly divert and pocket a “buyback” gun to use a “throwdown.” That’s the term for an untraceable firearm that a cop can place next to the body of a citizen shot by a police under questionable circumstances.
The Sun Times reports that there’s a civil case against the Cicero, Illinois police alleging that a “buyback” Smith & Wesson was placed next to Cesar A. Munive, shot to death by a Cicero police officer Donald Garrity.
Usually, cases like this — and there are other cases like this — get settled quietly, so as not to tarnish the shield. Not this one. Cicero officials are set to pay the victim’s family $3.5 million to end their lawsuit.
This despite the fact that the official Chicago police investigation into the shooting concluded that “We have completed our review of the matter and found no conduct by the officer which would give rise to criminal charges.”
A good part of the civil settlement has to do with the background of Officer Garrity, promoted from patrol officer to detective after the shooting.
Garrity was making $84,707 a year when he left the department — nearly $27,000 more than he made as a patrol officer. That higher pay boosted his yearly disability payments to $55,000.
Cicero Town Attorney Mike Del Galdo says Garrity went on disability after sworn, pretrial depositions in the lawsuit revealed he had omitted key facts about his work history when he first applied for a job with the Cicero police.
Garrity had resigned as a Berwyn cop in May 2008 after being arrested by North Riverside officers who pursued him as he sped down Cermak Road in his personal car, records show. [ED: The Times didn’t provide details of the charges against Officer Garrity.]
Records also show that, while still with the Berwyn police, Garrity was once investigated for violating orders by wielding a high-powered rifle during a felony traffic stop.
It looks like this incident involved a bad cop. A stupid cop, too, if he pocketed/stole the “buyback” pistol without realizing that the gun was logged by the “buyback” administrators.
The question raised by this lawsuit: how many other police officers have removed guns from Chicago “buybacks” and how robust is the security system to make sure that confiscated/purchased gun don’t return to the street?