RawStory.com printed a story today about two former police officers with the Chicago Police Department who, among other things, took a photograph of a black, male suspect wearing deer antlers as if he was a hunting trophy.
“The Polaroid picture, believed to be taken between 1999 and 2003, was turned over to the city by federal prosecutors after Jerome Finnigan, one of the officers in the photo, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for organizing robberies and home invasions with other cops,” reports RawStory.com. The other officer, Timothy McDermott, was also fired, but he is appealing that decision (he thinks a suspension was more appropriate).
Of course, to the police department, the primary concern of this photo being released was “the suspect’s privacy.”
And what did this man do to be placed in such a deplorable and compromising position? Well, according to McDermott, he had 20 bags of weed on him. According to the police reports filed — oh, wait, none were filed. These officers claimed that after this photo was taken they simply let the suspect go because he didn’t have a bad criminal record. Is anyone buying that stale loaf of bread?
The Chicago Tribune found out that “Finnigan, 48, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for being part of a rogue group of cops in the department’s elite Special Operations Section who carried out robberies, home invasions and other crimes across the city.” Finnigan had also ordered a “hit” on a fellow officer (so much for “the blue brotherhood”) whom he believed was cooperating with investigators.
Despite acknowledging that he was corrupt, at the sentencing hearing, Finnegan remarked, “I can hold my head high.” Unbelievable.
It’s easy to point at extreme examples of police misconduct acted out by a few and try to make it representative of the whole. Some may think that, as a Hollywood criminal defense lawyer, it’s even easier for me. But that’s not what I intend to do by publishing this post. This is all about everyone raising their level of awareness. We can’t turn a blind eye to these stories. Look, Finnigan was just sentenced to over a decade in prison and he still “holds his head high.” If the courts of law don’t shake him, maybe the court of public opinion will.
In my career, I interact with police officers regularly. In my experience, the overwhelming majority are upstanding men and women, dedicated to serving our communities by actually protecting them, not terrorizing them. But in today’s climate, it just seems like more than ever stories of police misconduct that shock the conscience rise to the surface. If it’s not police shootings, it’s racial profiling and fabricating evidence.
I recently published an article about Miami Beach Police Officers Wearing Body Cameras. Perhaps these programs will serve to deter police officer’s from acting rogue and perpetuating criminal conduct instead of thwarting it. In my view, though, it shouldn’t have to come to that.
This article was authored by Jordan Redavid, founding partner of Fischer Redavid PLLC, a Hollywood Criminal Defense law firm located in Hollywood, FL. If you or someone you care about was arrested for DUI, Drugs, Weapons, or Fraud, contact our experienced Hollywood criminal defense lawyers today! (954) 860-8434