July 2018, police officers shot a 30 year old man in the back 5 or 6 times. He died on the West-side of Chicago. Anger and protests followed. The police videos showed the victim with a gun he refused to give up. Friends of the victim said the shooting was justified and the protests stopped. More than one person said, “Why didn’t he just drop the gun?”
July 1998, two unsupervised rookie police officers hid among trees after midnight observing drug sales at the Robert Taylor housing development near 42nd and State in Chicago. A lookout noticed movement in the woods, one shot was fired. The bullet penetrated one officer’s body below his vest killing him. The other officer traumatized by the event gave a description of the shooter. Witnesses were held at the police station for over 24 hours until specific people were named.
A 16 year old boy was arrested for firing the gun and tried as an adult (three other men were also convicted one of whom was not at the scene). The first trial ended in a hung jury. The second trial brought a conviction. He was sentenced of 60 years to be served at 100%, the maximum. The Chicago Police Department no longer allows rookie officers to patrol the streets without an experienced officer.
January of 2019, a police officer, with numerous complaints of brutality, was sentenced to just under seven years (he will serve approximately three years) for executing a defenseless 16 year old boy in front of a dozen officers and unknown number of citizens. The killing was videoed. At least three officers filed untrue reports, temporarily protecting the shooter and impeding the investigation. A judge exonerated the three officers saying they made a mistake. At sentencing, the officer’s wife said, “There was no malice, the officer was only doing his job.”
In George Orwell’s book Animal Farm, the animals chase off the humans to create an idyllic animal run farm. A sign proclaims “All animals are created equal” in the hopes of living free and prosperous. Soon the farm evolves and becomes oppressive. The sign changes to “All animals are created equal, but some animals created are more equal than others.
As a child, I was taught that some professions (ministers, public servants, the courts, and law enforcement) were held to higher standards. As an adult I learned this is not true. In a country “where all men are created equal,” some men are created more equal than others.