Friday, September 28, 2007
Chicago's finest under fire
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- Robin Petrovic, a college English teacher, was out dancing at a popular Chicago nightclub, the "Funky Buddha Lounge," when she got into an altercation with the bouncer and called police for help.

But according to Petrovic, the officer who showed up -- James Chevas, a 12-year veteran -- turned on her when she refused to sign a blank incident report and tried to write down his badge number.

"He picked me up and threw me face down into the ground. And since my hands were handcuffed behind my back, I couldn't break my fall at all, so I just landed on my face," she told CNN.

Petrovic is one of thousands of ordinary people who every year accuse Chicago police of abuse. Few complaints result in disciplinary action.

Click here to read more

From Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent
Ismael Estrada, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 4:05 PM ET
  10 Comments
Between the "stop snitching" rule by the gangs and abuse by the police, Chicago is in very deep trouble. If we can't count on the police to protect us, then who can we count on? Why do we keep them around? To abuse citizens and collect a paycheck to boot? A good housecleaning is in order...they need to get rid of incumbents involved in the brutalities. This is the only way you can get accountability.
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 5:26 PM ET
I was somewhat disappointed in that you didn't include the fact that on July 19, 2007, Mayor Daley announced the appointment of Ilana Rosenzweig, a Los Angeles expert on police abuse, to be chief administrator of Chicago's Office of Professional Standards, the agency that is responsible for investigating allegations of police brutality and misconduct. This will make Chicago's police abuse and misconduct investigations independent from the police.

Also, you have singled out Chicago without providing how their number of police brutality cases compare to other major cities during the same time frame.

So much for the 360 point of view.
Posted By Jan from Wood Dale, IL : 5:37 PM ET
I am appalled by the behavior shown by these officers in Chicago! It is no wonder that we can’t fix the crime problem in this city, some of the officers who are supposed to be catching criminals and bringing them into the court system so that they may be tried, and so that justice may be sought out, are part of the problem. The fact that those who have had complaints filed against them have not received disciplinary action, only ensues more cases of abuse, because officers will feel like they can act however they want and not be held accountable for their behavior and actions. It is an on going cycle that will continue until the city begins to investigate and punish officers for abuse.
Posted By Jessica, Bourbonnais Illinois : 5:39 PM ET
This begs me to ask the question how many of those 10,000 complaints against the Chicago police are being made by women? That stat is alarming. Mayor Daley didn't appear to be so alarmed did he. I guess going "clubbing" in Chicago means a little bit more than just dancing now!
Posted By Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 5:49 PM ET
This story is disturbing on all accounts. A little more background is needed. Exactly how many complaints are "normal" for officers in large cities? The officer in this case had 50 over a 12-year period. It seems high, but is that in comparison to, say, NYC, Atlanta, or Houston? Also, are the 10,000 complaints mainly in certain Chicago districts?
Posted By Loria : 11:59 AM ET
For veterans in large cities, what is the average complaint rate? Were the 10,000 complaints isolated to specific police departments in the city?
Posted By Loria : 12:01 PM ET
It is beyond belief how a Judge can admit Officer Mette was in his right by defending himself against receiving bodily harm but still convicted and sentenced him to five (5) years in prison. It’s quite obvious politic’s played a major role in her decision and her qualifications to sit on the bench should be put under a microscope as to how she got there in the first place.

It should be her honesty and character that should be on trial not Officer Mette’s.

Sal LoDolce
Posted By Sal LoDolce : 2:26 PM ET
You need to clarify the department's complaint procedure and policy to get a grasp on what the number of complaints mean. For instance, at one large metropolitan police department, it is policy that every complaint is filed and investigated, so if a person calls in or goes to a station and says I just beat my neighbor with a bat and set my kids on fire, but when the cops came out I didn't like the way they looked at me...it's counted and investigated as a complaint. The result is thousands of complaints with the content ranging from real offenses to the officer wrote me ticket really slow on purpose, the officer looked at me funny, I didn't like the detective's tie. I'm not kidding. Tax dollars doing good work for the citizens. Without clarifing the process, the numbers are misleading at best and meaningless at worst.
Posted By ELECTIONGRRRL : 3:00 PM ET
I live in Chicago on the Northside in a neighborhood called Rogers Park. I believe that police officers in general think they are better than the general population. The "power" of being a police officer is amazing. Having the legal authority to make an arrest and to use lethal force if warranted is tremendous power and authority for a human being to have. I have seen over the years, Chicago police officers abuse people that they think will not speak up. Mainly the poor. If they think you are, "poor", "dumb", "uneducated", "unsophisticated" you are a target. Immigrants are also favorite targets of abuse. The Chicago police have the "good ole white boys mentality". A lot of these police officers hang out together after work, and are friends. They stick together. I think more minority officers should be hired. This would alleviate some of the blatent racism that exists among many chicago police officers. Read 2nd City Blog. Also a top down approach must be instituted. Starting from the Mayor on down. Tougher policies should be instituted so that any officer caught mistreating a citizen be punished immediately. The threat of being fired and losing that cushy paycheck will make most officers think twice on how they act with the public. OPS (Office of Professional Standards) must do a better job, and stop cozying up to the police dept. The people of Chicago must speak up more. We are living in America, right, not Bangladesh, Mexico or any other third world country. So people in this country have rights, civil rights, unlike any other country. I believe that change will happen eventually. Actually over the past 40 years they have improved significantly.
Posted By Anonymous : 5:45 AM ET
Nothing disturbs me more than hearing of violence caused by law enforcement. These people are hired to protect us and keep us safe, yet they're the ones bullying people around? Unbelievable.
Posted By Tori, Kalamazoo, MI : 1:56 PM ET
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