Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday sought to distance the Chicago Police Department from two ex-Chicago police officers who posed more than a decade ago for a racially-charged photo with an African-American man lying on his stomach with deer antlers on his head.
The photo, which was believed to have been taken between 1999 and 2003 at a Chicago police station, was published in the Chicago Sun-Times this week after a Cook County judge declined to keep the photo out of the public eye.
“Let me be clear: That photo does not represent the values of the city of Chicago that we all share in common,” Emanuel told reporters Tuesday. “It doesn’t represent the values of the Police Department.”
In the photo, officers Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan, are armed with rifles and kneel over an unidentified African-American drug suspect who they allegedly splayed to look like hunters’ bounty. Both former officers are white and the suspect is black.
The publication of the shocking photo comes as Chicago, like many other big cities in the USA, is grappling to repair damaged relations in the African-American community.
Earlier this month, the city council approved an unprecedented reparations package to the mostly African-American victims who were tortured by police officers under the control of former police commander Jon Burge.
From 1972 through 1991, the suspects were subjected by Burge’s police officers to mock executions and electric shock and beaten with telephone books as their interrogators flung racial epithets at them. A Chicago Police Department review board ruled in 1993 that Burge’s officers had used torture. He was fired.
The day after Emanuel announced his support for the Burge reparations package in April, the city approved a $5 million payout to Laquan McDonald, a black teenager fatally shot 16 times by police last fall.
Last month, Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced that he was launching a listening tour to meet with residents and community leaders to mend strained relations between police and minority communities.
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SOURCE: USA Today – Aamer Madhani