CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Department has launched an investigation of a white police officer who was caught on video telling two black males “Mike Brown deserved it.”
Police spokesman Anthony Gugliemi said, after learning about the video, the department has opened an internal affairs investigation of the officer who made the statement about Michael Brown, the unarmed young black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.
In the 41-second video posted on YouTube, two white officers appear to be talking to two young African American men about allegations of racial profiling.
One officer is sitting in the driver’s seat of an unmarked police car, while the other is standing in the street, wearing a black T-shirt and protective vest, jeans, and a baseball cap turned backwards.
WARNING: Video contains explicit language
“It’s all black people that live here, so I got no choice but to f***ing pull over black people,” the officer standing on the street said. “You don’t like it? Move. … Sit around and bitch, I don’t give a f***.”
The office clearly knows one of the men is recording the confrontation on video.
“If you think a camera’s going to make a difference to me in what the f*** I say, think again,” he said.
One of the young men tells the officers they don’t trust police, and don’t know what the officers might do to them – including possibly shooting them.
“We don’t trust y’all. You heard about Mike Brown, though,” the man recording the confrontation said.
“Mike Brown deserved it. He got what he had coming to him,” the officer responded as he walks toward the squad car.
Brown’s death sparked a series of protests and civil unrest in Ferguson, and helped fuel a national debate about race relations in the U.S., especially regarding police treatment of African Americans. A Missouri grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to indict the officer who shot Brown.
Gugliemi denounced the views expressed by the officer in the video.
“CPD prides itself on fostering productive relationships with communities to help make Chicago safer. The comments in this video are troubling and do not represent the views of this department,” he said in an email.
Chicago Police officers told CBS 2 off camera the mounting criticism has emboldened criminal suspects.
“Everybody wants a confrontation,” a veteran black officer told us. “It’s almost a game to challenge police to see how far you can go. If it goes too far, it’s like the ghetto lottery – ‘I’m going to sue.’”
Another officer said some cops are now less aggressive in fighting crime.
“You don’t respond sometimes because you may get hurt or accused of doing something you never did,” an officer said.
Alan Mills, of the Uptown People’s Law Center, acknowledges cops have a dangerous job, but says, “They see a young man walking down the street, they put their hands against the car and pat them down…the Constitution they can’t randomly stop people in order to try to prevent crime.”
One respected criminologist struck an optimistic note, saying the interactions caught on camera and the protests could lead to better police training and ultimately a better relationship between police and the community.