Chicago’s “Top Cop” Says He’s Breaking Police “Code of Silence”

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In a rare and refreshing instance of a police officer striving to do the right thing, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson is standing up against “the culture of the code of silence” between brethren in blue.

Following the discovery that seven police officers filed false reports in the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, Johnson is recommending for the days of paid administrative leave to be over, and that corrupt officers be outright fired. While these measures may seem drastic to some- former Chicago Police investigator turned attorney- Lorenzo Davis seems to agree:  “We’re trying to change the police culture – that culture has existed since before I was born – that culture of the code of silence. How else can you finally change that without taking serious drastic measures?”

As reported on NewOne Now:

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson is recommending that seven police officers be fired for filing false reports in the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald.

The city’s inspector general and outside counsel also reviewed reports, along with videos and other evidence, and found that the officers involved violated Rule 14 of the Chicago Police Department’s Rules and Regulations.

Attorney Lorenzo Davis, a former Chicago Police investigr, was not surprised by Chicago’s top cop’s recommendation to fire the officers involved in the shooting and cover-up. Davis told Roland Martin the situation in Chicago “finally got to that level where it had to be done.

“We’re trying to change the police culture – that culture has existed since before I was born – that culture of the code of silence.

How else can you finally change that without taking serious drastic measures?”

In speaking about the level of transparency in the Chicago Police Department, Davis said, “When I worked on the independent police review board for more than seven years as a supervisor, my team and I found several shootings that we felt were not justified, but there was not transparency. The taxpayers in Chicago paid out more than a half a billion dollars in settlements in court suits, yet no one was held accountable.

“The public did not know what was going on,” said Davis.

Davis was a police officer for 23 years and was fired from the Independent Police Review Authority for insisting there be some accountability in the instances of unjustified police shootings and subsequently retired at the rank of a commander from the Chicago Police Department.

As a result of rising through the ranks of the CPD, Davis knows “the ins and outs” and the culture of the “code of silence.”

Later during their conversation on NewsOne Now, Martin asked Davis if targeting the pensions of police officers is the only way to get their attention and gain more accountability.

Davis responded: “That would get their attention of course, but in addition to that, the [police] contract is where changes have to be made.” 

Immanuel Sodipe, an Organizer for BYP100, believes the way to grab the attention of police officers who operate in impunity is to “have a full divestment from policing and incarceration.

“In the city of Chicago, we spend 40 percent of the city budget, that equals out to roughly $4 million dollars a day, $4 million dollars a day can go towards mental health police, towards education, towards job programs.

“That’s what safety looks like for Black and Brown communities across the city and across the country. Not more terrorism and police violence.”

While terminating an officer for being corrupt, and violating their oath to “Protect and Serve” should be a given- unfortunately, it isn’t the reality. With the police policing themselves, officers will continue to get away with crime and corruption with impunity. While the “good cops” come forward to break through the culture of silence and secrecy is most definitely a positive change- as Sodipe suggests, divestment form the wholly corrupt institution of law enforcement and incarceration may be the only solution.

What are your thoughts on how rampant corruption within law enforcement should be handled? How should those who violate their oat be dealt with? Is divestment from policing and incarceration a logical and viable solution?

Watch Roland Martin, Lorenzo Davis, Immanuel Sodipe, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the CPD Superintendent’s recommendation to fire seven cops for their involvement in the shooting of Laquan McDonald in the video clip below.

(Article By Tasha Sharifa)

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