Police Corruption

The Intercept’s 4-part investigative report into Chicago Police’s “Code of Silence” by Jamie Kalven

Jamie Kalven is also the founder of Invisible Institute: “The Invisible Institute is a journalistic production company on the South Side of Chicago. Our mission is to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable.”

Report in Brief:  The FBI and the Chicago Internal Affairs Department had been conducting investigations into criminal activity within the department for over ten years.  Then 2 Chicago cops became involved in the investigation.  As a result, they were then betrayed from within by being outed, threatened, and denied support within the Chicago Police Department.  They filed a whistleblower lawsuit.  Intimidation intensified.  This investigative report is about what happened.


My personal opinion, since the journalist wasn’t able to inject their opinion into the piece, is this:

It’s not just Chicago.  This “code of silence” regarding criminal behavior by cops is something we all know about–partly by scandals and partly by it being portrayed in movies and on TV (Serpico, anyone? For fuckssake, it was back in 1973)–but this sort of shit has rarely resulted in accountability because the entire system is corrupt.

Cops who are criminals, who face no prosecution, who continue to “protect and serve”(which reminds me of that Decepticon cop car with the “protect and serve” phrase replaced with “to punish and enslave”), literally get away with murder.  (And that Transformers phrase takes on ironic relevance given the recent strikes by “enslaved” prisoners in America’s prisons.)

Does it need to be said that many are good people who daily face the ugly side of humanity?  Apparently, since that’s the first defense anyone on the side of corrupt cops turns to for rebuttal.

It’s bullshit.  “A few bad apples” is the excuse meme, but that’s not the idiom.  It’s “A few bad apples spoil the barrel.”

Good cops want to turn them in.  The “code of silence” and the “thin blue line” punishes them if they do.

Police Unions aren’t there to protect the officers against corruption.  They’re there to make sure an officer gets their benefits and overtime pay.  Providing that the officer keeps their mouth shut about the criminals within.  When they don’t keep their mouths shut, the Union abandons them and lets them get assaulted, murdered, or forced to quit or retire.  They protect corrupt cops, allowing them to resign and move to another city instead of prosecuting them for their illegal behavior.

And cops, as a whole, are upset, and even surprised, that the public, especially the people of color, doesn’t trust them anymore?

I’ve seen this corruption for a long time.  It’s evident on that TV show, “Cops”.  The corruption I’m talking about is abuse of their authority.  You cannot, at all, talk back to a cop.  Unless you’re a white racist, then talk back all you like.  But if a cop doesn’t like what you say or look like, they can arrest you, make shit up, and get you thrown in jail for doing nothing at all.  Nothing.  All because they *can*.  They have that power and it goes to their heads.

In my opinion, it isn’t “a few bad apples”.  It’s more like “a few good apples” swimming in a barrel of corruption.  And it won’t ever stop until We The People make it stop.  Black Lives Matter is a good start, but it needs to expand exponentially–into the goddamn white population–in order for it to do any good.

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