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Police officers risk their lives to protect the safety of others; at least that is what we are led to believe. And probably many cops out there are good people. But, unfortunately, the profession is also loaded with corrupt officers who only want to look out for themselves. Higher-ups in departments fastidiously protect officers, even officers who may be doing something wrong. The latest examples come from Chicago and a ridiculous law that protects police officers from being recorded.
In July of 2010, Chicago police responded to a domestic situation at the home of Tiawanda Moore and her boyfriend. While separating the couple to sort out the details, Moore reports that an officer groped her breast and gave her his home number. Later on, when Moore and her boyfriend tried to report the incident to internal affairs officials at the Chicago Police Department, the couple was discouraged from filing a report, according to Robert Johnson, Moore’s attorney. “They gave her the runaround, scared her, and tried to intimidate her from reporting this officer — from making sure he couldn’t go on to do this to other women,” Johnson stated. Okay, so men in uniform protecting each other is not that newsworthy. But, Moore was arrested the very same afternoon suggesting that this form of protection goes way too far. What was her crime, you ask. During her conversation that day with internal affairs investigators, Moore began to record the interactions on her Blackberry. In Illinois, it is illegal to record people without their consent. Especially, as it turns out, police officers.
“This is someone who is already scared from being harassed by an officer in uniform,” said Johnson. “If the police won’t even take her complaint, how else is a victim of police abuse supposed to protect herself?”
The treatment of Moore has prompted outrage from domestic violence groups all over the country. “We just had two Chicago police officers indicted for sexual assault, there have been several other cases of misconduct against women,” says Melissa Spatz of the Chicago Task Force on Violence Against Girls & Young Women. “And now you have Moore, who was trying to report this guy, and she gets arrested. The message here is that victims of unwanted sexual advances by police officers have no recourse — that the police can act with impunity.”
Clearly, the Chicago police have demonstrated their wacky priorities. The Chicago cops recently indicted for sexual assault face four to 15 years in prison. That is the same sentence that Moore could receive for recording a police officer. Recording an on-duty police officer in Illinois is a Class 1 felony, the same class of crimes as rape.
And Moore is not the only or most shocking case of the systematic application of the Illinois law to protect police officers. A Robinson, Ill. Resident is facing up to 75 years in prison after he recorded conversations he was having with police officers. 75 years with no prior convictions all because the police like to act the way they want to and not take any responsibilities for their action. It is despicable and the reason why the distrust of police officers is very justified throughout the United States. I guess Ice Cube had it right all along.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagobart/