By John Beacham
The Chicago Sun-Times has published an image of two Chicago police officers posing with a Black man as a trophy.
The Chicago cops in this heinous and deeply revealing image, a Polaroid taken somewhere between 1999 and 2003, were in an elite special operations squad. They were top street cops. They were the most trusted of the trusted by the powerful CPD brass. They were in an unit that was given virtually free reign over the people of Chicago.
What could have possibly made them feel, in their position of armed authority, like they could take this despicable picture other than it was an integral part of the job to terrorize Black people and enforce their second class citizenship—that Black lives really do not matter?
These cops are not an aberration or bad apples. They quite literally ARE the CPD. Top cops at the CPD have been guilty of torture, drug dealing, home invasion rings, and a constant record of daily inhumanities and injustices. But even more than that—the CPD has killed thousands of unarmed civilians, mostly Black and Latino, with absolute impunity.
The two racist cops in this photo are quite literally at the heart of what it means to be a top cop in modern day america—at the heart of what the modern day american system is if we are to be honest. The Black community is not only treated as second class, but kept unemployed, impoverished and incarcerated—all at gunpoint by thugs like the cops in this picture: Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan.
Finnigan has tortured, plotted murder and robbed people—all with a badge on—and is behind bars. McDermott has been give 74 awards, despite the fact that he was the defendant in four different federal lawsuits.
During their careers, they have had numerous top cops and city officials go to bat for them. Finnigan continued to wear a badge despite over 200 internal investigations.
McDermott is related to a former police superintendent, Thomas Byrne. At McDermott’s appeal of his firing over the photo, Byrne defended McDermott. McDermott was also defended by former police superintendent Phil Cline who said that McDermott was a “very hard-working policeman, the type of policeman I wanted working for us and his character was impeccable.”
At his appeal hearing before the police board, four out of nine board members were against firing him. Yes, there were four people on the police board that thought McDermott should still be wearing a badge.
This picture—it is the system—a system of racism, white thugs, a handful of billionaires and mass incarceration. A system that needs to go.