Thirteen years ago, William Stewart Boyd, a Cook County judge, drove to a South Side church to turn in a handgun his late father had owned.
The Chicago Police Department was accepting guns as part of a buyback program meant to take weapons off the streets and help make the city safer.
Boyd, who hears domestic relations cases, brought them his father’s .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, serial number J515268. He remembers handing it to plainclothes officers who wore their badges and service weapons on their belts. Under the buyback program, they, in turn, gave him a prepaid Visa card. It was for less than $100.
The police recover thousands of guns every year, many of them through buyback programs like this, 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. But the gun Judge Boyd took in somehow wasn’t. Instead, it turned up eight years later next to the body of a young man who was shot to death by a Cicero police officer.
. . .
How did a gun Chicago cops were supposed to have kept in a locked custody room and then destroyed end up all of those years later at the scene of a police shooting in Cicero, on a patch of pavement next to the body of a 22-year-old Latin Counts gang member named Cesar A. Munive?
. . .
Police departments in Harvey, Elmwood Park and Dolton all have had guns vanish in recent years. And long before Boyd’s gun disappeared, a city audit found that the Chicago Police Department lost track of more than 130 guns that were stored at an evidence warehouse in the 1990s. Four of those later were seized during arrests.
Now, the Chicago department has opened an internal affairs investigation into how the judge’s revolver ended up in Cicero — something police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi calls “extremely abnormal and troublesome.”
. . .
Whatever happened to keep the gun from being destroyed, Munive’s family members believe they know how it ended up next to his body. It was planted there by Cicero police to cover up an unjustified shooting by a cop of an unarmed man, according to a civil rights lawsuit the family filed in federal court.
Now, after five years of litigation, Cicero officials are poised to pay the family $3.5 million to settle their case. The Cicero Town Council agreed earlier this month to approve the settlement and is expected to take a final vote soon.
There’s more at the link.
This exemplifies the dilemma most of us face in our relationships with, and attitudes towards, law enforcement officers and agencies. Any normal, sane, law-abiding person wants to like and trust them. We want to believe that they truly are protecting and serving us . . . but then something like this happens, and we have to ask: Why? Why does the steady drip, drip, drip of scandal, abuse of power, malfeasance of office, etc. continue? Why is it permitted and/or tolerated by those in authority?
All too often, those authorities exhibit an attitude of contempt and disdain towards those they are supposed to be protecting and serving. We’ve discussed several such incidents in these pages. See, for example, Haversham County Sheriff Joey Terrell, a poster child for the problem. If he were in charge of a local law enforcement agency, I’d be demonstrating in the streets for his immediate removal; and I’d distrust any officer demonstrating so great a lack of honor and principle as to be willing to serve under such a man.
If you want to know why, despite all its fallacies, flaws and failings, Black Lives Matter, and organizations like it, continue to be a force in society . . . reports like that above demonstrate conclusively why they still find support.
I’m blessed to know, in person and online, several law enforcement officers whom I’d unhesitatingly trust with my life. I’ve served alongside several others. It’s truly sad that there are not more of them . . . and that the actions described in the report above may lead to some suspecting them, too, of being untrustworthy. They deserve better than that.