Monday, April 19, 2021

Cop ‘didn’t see the value, the humanity’



     “I grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood. I don’t know a Latino who didn’t,” said Luis Gutierrez, the former congressman and long-ago alderman. “We all grew up together. It wasn’t like ‘West Side Story.’ We didn’t dance around each other.
     “I remember the manipulation, the cruelty, the exploitive nature of gang members. People like to think of them as the protectors of the neighborhood. I get that. I was the alderman of the 26th Ward. It’s no different than Little Village. None.”
     We were talking over the weekend about what everybody in Chicago has been talking about since Thursday, when the bodycam video of Little Village 13-year-old Adam Toledo being shot by a police officer was released.
     The footage makes for sickening viewing: the jumpy chase through an alley; the barked, ignored commands; the boy’s hands going up followed instantly by the gunshot. The red blood. Watching it once, I can’t imagine ever watching it again. Once is too much.
     I had just read the upbeat update about Gutierrez that Mark Brown wrote last week; Gutierrez has returned to Chicago to welcome his second grandchild — his daughter Jessica’s baby shower was Saturday — and to promote Puerto Rican causes.
     So I almost shook off Gutierrez’s suggestion that we speak about the shooting. My job isn’t to echo Mark. Yet why not see what Gutierrez has to say? My first question was whether he truly wants to plunge into this emotional maelstrom. Or as I put it: “Do you really want to jam your hand into this spinning fan?”
     “I understand that,” he said. “But at some point you have to stop and say something. I feel that what is happening to Adam is a second demonization process.”
     Some Latino politicians are dismissing Toledo as just another gang-banger who got what gang-bangers get.

To continue reading, click here.

13 comments:

  1. A couple of places online have said that Toledo's gang nickname was either Lil Murder or Lil Homicide. Yeah, he was a real good kid!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "A couple of places online"! Then it MUST be true! Thanks for clearing this up for us, CS.

      Delete
    2. Fascinating how die-hard skeptics abandon all doubt when what they hear or read is welcome news. I sure do quickly enough, but I've got sister who demand evidence for every assertion I make.

      john

      Delete
  2. Regardless of whether or not it's true...anything preceded by "Lil" (or L'il, or whatever) is a red flag. When that word began to appear on walls in South Evanston, as far back as the early Eighties, my first thought was: "Uh-oh...things are not gonna get better...they're only gonna get worse."

    Shortly thereafter, a Sun-Times headline screamed "Street gangs push into Evanston." And things did get worse...shootings, killings, drive-bys, gunfights, the whole megillah that accompanies gangbanging.

    When you see or hear that little word "Lil"...you got trouble. Right here, right now. In River City, or in Chicago, or anywhere else. And the rappers and the hip-hop artists who have adopted it are only glorifying and celebrating the thug life. Thanks, dudes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your column was fairly balanced compared to some I've read, but seeing it in my morning's Sun Times, as opposed to EGGD, I was struck by the large type headline with it's damning quote that was anything but balanced and is all that many uncritical readers will take away from the article. Gutierrez doesn't know anything about the cop or what he thought about the "little brown boy" (actually, as we found out from the video, a pretty well developed teen) he "executed."

    You don't have to be a trump loving racist or a FOX News addict to feel that the media coverage of this whole episode has been, perhaps unintentionally in some cases, pretty one sided. We expect aggressive policing to deal with such atrocities as the murder of a seven year old featured on today's front page, or the fact that young gangsters are out on the streets in the wee hours shooting at people in passing cars, but when that goes wrong it inevitably confirms what has become a general belief in widespread police brutality. Kind of a no win for the people in charge of our criminal justice system.

    Tom

    ReplyDelete
  4. In capital cases a grand jury brings charges leading to trial .after conviction there is a sentencing hearing. Then an automatic appeal. Followed by additional avenues for appeal. Followed by request for stays.

    It takes years to execute convicted criminals. In the streets it takes seconds. One person decides your fate. You can be killed for disobeying their command.

    It's legal. Just read the section on use of force. Police officers have the power to decide if you die.

    The rules were revised a clue years ago as part of the consent decree with the justice department. Their was a period for public comment . And surprisingly the police were given more power over deadly use of force.

    Litefoot can't change that.

    I agree with Luis. The child was trafficked by the gang.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am astounded at how many "good" Americans are pro extra-judicial killings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recognizing that the use of lethal force by police can occasionally be justified in order to save lives does not make one pro extra-judicial killings. The problem in this country is that both the police and people engaged in criminal activity are lethally armed. There are about a thousand police killings in the U.S. annually. Comparable numbers in Canada and most European countries are in the teens.

      Tom

      Delete
  6. I'm pretty sure the cop didn't know if Toledo was a straight-A eagle scout altar boy or a gang banger, and even if he did, that doesn't give the police the right to execute people at will. When white police arrested white Dylann Routh after he murdered 9 African Americans in church, they were almost polite to him (you can find the arrest video on Youtube). I don't know how, but this has got to stop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shari, you've hit the very essence of the matter: it's irrelevant whether Toledo was a good kid or a bad one. It should not be in the power of any one person to decide who lives and who dies.

      john

      Delete
  7. Did the older guy give the gun to the kid because he thought the police were less likely to shoot a youngster? Or because a minor would get an easier sentence if caught? Or was he disposing of the kid in order to save himself? I guess the third option which is the most depressing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The most objective analysis of the Adam Toledo shooting I could find was at snopes.com. It debunks the Lil diablo/homicide angle. I would add the reason Ruben Roman gave the handgun to Adam was an adult caught with a discharged handgun is a felony, probably several felonies, faces years of jail time. If caught Adam being a juvenile would likely face probation. Call it cowardice, but there is a certain pragmatism, it grooms kids for future gang membership. Viewing the video it shows Adam's back to officer Eric Stillman, holding a handgun in his right hand pointed down. He did not merely drop the gun in a manner Stillman could see, but in one fluid motion turned, his body hiding the action, tossed the gun approx. 6 feet away behind a fence, completed the turn and rapidly raised his hands. The photo of the handgun shows the slide stop engaged, which occurs when all rounds have been discharged. A small detail, unknown to officer Stillman, the gun was empty.
      There are too many tragedies to count, these stray bullets hit people watching TV, or an infant in a crib. Be aware this is the price to be paid by us for perpetrating the war on drugs. By ending the war on drugs we can defund the police by cutting down the police work load. It also has the benefit of defunding the gangs and cartels.

      Delete
    2. Part of the problem is that when a person is apprehended after discharging a handgun a felony , probably several felonies, they can be released on bond. in this case mr. romans bond was posted by the Community Bond Fund, an organization that posts bond for people who cannot afford it. based on the idea of presumption of innocence.

      the judge expressed surprise. he shouldn't be. people facing weapons charges often bond out. while I support the concept of doing away with the bond system , not for weapons charges or other violent crimes. people suspected of crimes involving weapons should not be able to bond out. they often offend again.

      will the judge also be surprised when mr.romans PD and the DAs office plea bargains the case down to a lesser charge and he gets a short sentence or even probation? he shouldn't be. this scenario is a huge contributor to the scourge of gun violence in our society. the justice system is broken. offenders have a right to a speedy trial . and should get one. followed by a long sentence. as the law is structured. get weapons offenders off the streets and keep them there. the bail system and plea bargaining should be examined and restructured. it does a disservice to everyone, including the perpetrators family who often are the ones to post bond just to see the suspect skip . they lose their home or savings and the scumbag is on the streets committing other crimes, often involving weapons.

      this is part of the reason why the cops dont stand a chance when working to curb gun violence. and lawyers, bondsman and others profit from this system . abolish the bail system. hold speedy trialsmr roman would still be locked up , and would be for a long time

      Delete

Thank you for your comment, which will be published at the discretion of the proprietors.