Fri. Oct 18th, 2019


Entertainment, Politics and Sports

For African-American police officers, a foot in two worlds

“I was like ‘Officer, I’m in an ’88 Honda Civic automatic, not even a stick,'” Spradley recently recalled, a wry smile on his face.

Clearly not amused, the officer said: ‘So mother——, are you trying to get smart with me?'” Spradley recalled.

Before it was over, Spradley, a veteran Chicago cop, had to pull out his police ID — not so much to get out of a ticket — but so the officer knew he was armed and the situation didn’t turn ugly.

Many black officers say they very much understand the conditions that brought young people to the streets to protest harsh treatment by officers, white and black. But they bristle at attacks on police at a time when violent crime in Chicago is a national topic.

“There are good and bad in every profession, any profession, and I don’t deny we have bad cops,” said a black veteran patrol officer assigned to the majority black Wentworth police District on the South Side, who asked not to be identified. “But what offends me the most is the protests like they’re doing now. A possibly bad shooting happens somewhere else in the country — where is your protest over the 4-year-old who was just shot?”

“There are things to protest, but you attack us instead of attacking the actions of the gangbangers that you know, the people that you know have the guns,” he said. “You know who shot the child, who robbed the old man, and you say nothing.”

Chris Fletcher, a 30-year veteran with theChicago police before taking the police chief’s job in south suburban Calumet City, knows all too well the duality of the job. “I’m on both sides of the fence depending on what day it is,” Fletcher said. “Some days I’m all over the police side, depending on the police incident, and the other days, I’m just as outraged as (the public).”

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