A Chicago police officer, who was beaten unconscious after responding to the scene of a car crash this week, told her police chief from a hospital bed that she did not pull her weapon and use lethal force against her attacker because she was worried about the backlash she would have faced from the community and media.
“She thought she was going to die. She knew that she should shoot this guy, but she chose not to, because she didn’t want her family or the department to have to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news,” Supt. Eddie Johnson said.
Johnson, speaking during an awards ceremony for police and firefighters, said the recent focus on police shootings has officers “second-guessing” themselves.
“It’s an example of how dangerous this job is. And because of the scrutiny going on nationwide, there (are) officers second-guessing themselves. That’s what we don’t want,” said Johnson.
Listen to Johnson’s remarks here:
That reluctance by police to use aggressive tactics is now referred to as the “Ferguson effect,” named after the Missouri town where a police officer shot an unarmed black teenager in August 2014. The shooting sparked riots and led to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as a national debate over race and policing.
“This officer could (have) lost her life last night,” added Johnson. “She’s hospitalized right now, but she still has the spirit and the bravery that these officers and firefighters display every day — every day. We have to change the narrative of the law enforcement across this country.”
The president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police echoed Johnson’s comments, saying law-enforcement officers “don’t want to become the next YouTube video.”
“If you participate in a deadly force situation you can save your life, but in 2016, you can lose your job,” Dean Angelo told the Chicago Tribune.
“The War On Police: How The Ferguson Effect Is Making America Unsafe” is a cop’s-eye view of one of the most tumultuous times in recent history for law enforcement, which has spawned a growing movement, fueled by a biased news media and Black Lives Matter, to demonize police across the country. Pre-order your copy today at the WND Superstore!
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said police officers in his city are “becoming fetal” out of concern they will be fired or prosecuted for their actions.
“We have allowed our Police Department to get fetal, and it is having a direct consequence. They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact,” Emanuel said, according to the Washington Post.
Emanuel made the comments in 2015 during a meeting in Washington, D.C., with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a group of mayors and police officials from across the nation to discuss a spike in homicides and other crime.
“What happened post-Baltimore, what happened post-Ferguson is having an impact,” Emanuel said. “And I still believe recent events over the last year or 18 months have had an impact. And officers will tell you that. And I tried to speak up for the good officers that are doing community policing that make up the men and women of the Chicago Police Department.”
The unidentified officer, a 17-year Chicago police veteran, got into an altercation with a man who crashed his car into a building and then began walking away from the scene. He began struggling with her as soon as she and other officers began questioning him about the crash.
The man was under the influence of PCP, a hallucinogenic drug also known as angel dust, according to Johnson.
The suspect struck the officer in the face and smashed her head into the pavement “for several minutes” until she lost consciousness, according to police.
Three other officers on the scene were also injured by the attacker, who was finally subdued by a Taser and pepper spray.
“I think it’s pretty apparent that it was a horrific incident. … Anytime you face a life-or-death situation, then you can use deadly force, because that’s what he was trying to do to her,” said Johnson.
The attack was captured by the surveillance cameras of a nearby business.
“It is terrible. It is total disregard for law enforcement. They put their lives forward every day for us and to see somebody do this, to pummel the police officer is terrible. It is a terrible thing,” business owner Louie Rainone said.
The suspect in the attack has three prior firearms arrests and one conviction, reported the Chicago Tribune.