Video Shows Cops Letting Onlookers Taunt Suspect

UPDATED 03/23/11 6:22 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS 2) – Two Chicago police officers are off the street – temporarily relieved of police powers because of a home video of them was posted on the web.

Critics say the video shows the officers in a bad light, watching while a group of onlookers taunts and curses at a teen being held in police custody. The video is so clear, you can see the license plate number on the police SUV. The video allegedly shows police in Humboldt Park, leaving the doors to their vehicle open and exposing the teen inside to insults from an unruly crowd. At one point, one of the officers appears to tell a person recording video to, “Get a closeup.”

Max Cerda runs a teen outreach group called Latino Cultural Change Coalition. He watched the video and says the officers’ action and inaction were unprofessional.

“It’s unfortunate that stuff like that still happens,” Cerda said.

He’s a former gang member who says he’s seen police use situations like the one in the video. Cerda says on a few occasions when he was young, police took him to rival gang territory and forced him out of the vehicle.

“They took me to the so-called opposition’s neighborhood and yelled in the horn, yeah we got dude in this neighborhood. And they thought it was funny,” Cerda said, “they threatened me if I didn’t get out.”

WBEZ-Chicago Public Radio discovered the video on YouTube over the weekend. On the radio station Wednesday, Robert Wildeboer, the station’s criminal justice reporter, weighed in on the situation, and the incident of picking up suspected gang members and dropping them off in rival territory.

On the WBEZ program “848,” Wildeboer said the impression might be that police are trying to teach young gang members a lesson about the consequences of their lifestyle and the dangers they will face. But he said a police officer told him this is not really the purpose.

Rather, Wildeboer said on the radio station, a police officer told him the tactic is “usually about the police punishing someone that isn’t cooperating; someone’s giving them lip, and they want to say, ‘OK, you want to be a tough guy? Fine, we’ll bring you over here into this gang territory and you can find your way home. Good luck with that.”

Chicago Police say their Internal Affairs unit is investigating the video and the officers involved. The department issued a statement:

“In this incident, Department members reportedly demonstrated unbecoming conduct while an individual was in a Department vehicle. The internal investigation into this allegation remains ongoing. The conduct that is alleged does not reflect the behavior and core values of the men and women of the Chicago Police Department nor our commitment to serve the community in a professional manner. The Chicago Police Department stands for professionalism and the highest standards of police service.”

The video has been removed from YouTube and Facebook. It still appears on WBEZ’s Web site.

  • mike

    This video is just dumb. So they yelled at some kid. Two cops and 10 or so onlookers so the police were very outnumbered. If they did tell the group to get back and the group refused even more chaos would of occurred and then the video would be about CPD fighting innocent civilians. Damned if you do damned if you don’t.

    • GO Southside


  • Wallace Gator Bradley

    Why would they take this off youtube and facebook this as important as the Derrion Albert

    • Vick

      Because it is illegal to film cops on duty.

    • Lauren nicholas

      Gator, shame on you. Have you become so insiginificant that you think this is news? Once an instigating gang member, urban terrorist, always, an instigating gang member urban terrorist. This vídeo is such bs, taken by the urban terrorist, seen at the wbez introduction and making those two so-called reporters part of this shameless display of indignation. The officers might have used better judgment, but no one got hurt. Now we have a great vídeo of a bunch of urban terrorist, the alledged latin kings and the lonely imperial gangster. Thank you, maybe the viewers can now pick out realize what the good citizens and police have to deal with 24/7.

  • Rita

    Unfortunately, I seen this coming once I knew Weis would not be our Superintendent anymore. It looks like I was right!! That is one of the biggest reasons why the chicago police officers did not want him there, Weiss did not tolerate police brutality and a lot of it stopped while he was there. Unfortunately, my son and a friend fell to victim of narcotic officers police brutality from the 10th district, my son was beat, but I took pictures and went down to OPS and filed a complaint, an investigation is being done. Looks like the pollice want to go back to when Burke was the Superintendent, people will not stand for it!!! something needs to be done, we need another Jody Weis

    • Poorpookie

      Weis is the reason gang bangers are so emboldened..Thanks to weis cops are getting shot at all day and their lives are increasingly at risk.

    • SP

      Let me guess — your son is an honors student who was minding his own business when the police, for absolutely no reason at all, decided to brutalize him.
      By the way, there hasn’t ever been a police superintendent in Chicago named “Burke.”

    • Lauren nicholas

      Sorry rita, nice try. There is no OPS and Burke was never superintendent. If you remember OPS, you must be an accomplice to the urban terrorism, going on in the 10th district. How bout becoming part of the solution, instead of looking for a free ride by suing the city. STOP the no-snitch alliance with the real criminals and help the police with cleaning up your neighborhood. So next time your son doesnt get swept up in the neighborhood criminality. Weis is history, because he was here to bring the olympics, not for what you think. The signed affidavits , fighting back in court, instead of settling, and real police investigations have proven that the chicago police department is and never was out of control. It was just a few officers that brought discredit to themselves and to the police department. The police have fought back for their dignity and respect, well deserved by those that have given the ultimate sacrifice and those that work out in those streets 24/7. This vídeo being broadcast is just another attempt by the real criminals, using the very willing media to discredit the working police. The blue shirts trying to keep anarchy and chaos from affecting the good citizens. Good Citizens pick your battles, if you keep trying to tie officers hands behind there backs with your noneducated judgments, you might as well hand over all that you have worked so hard for. God Bless the CPD.

  • mr reality

    Nobody knows the facts. These officers were doing their jobs.It looks like this was a transport. It soon became apparant to the officers that the kid did not live at the address he siad he did..The kid put himself in this situation by lying to the police.

    • Athena

      And you know this or your creative imagination is coming up with the story… It is apparent that you did not grow up or live in “at risk” neighborhood

  • Roberta Waker

    Actually, Chicago needs someone BETTER. Weis may have done some good, but he wasn’t tough enough on the real criminals. We can blame the judges, too, for not cracking down on repeat offenders and letting them roam the streets while they are on “probation.” I know too many people that were terrorized by juveniles that barely got their hands slapped for attempted murder, armed robbery, etc.

  • Maria

    I’ve lived on the South Side my whole life–and I don’t mean the South Loop. Never have I been harassed or beaten by the police. Something tells me these kids weren’t playing Scrabble in their living room when the Big Bad Cops came and ruined their lives. I don’t care what their frantic mothers, with their hair undone, tell the tv reporter. “Something in the milk ain’t clean.”

  • George Pickett

    Looks to me like the Police were using community and peer pressure to discourage bad behavior.

  • nell

    Looks like FOP has taken control of this board.

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