By Chris Hacker
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Police officer wore a Punisher skull symbol during a 2019 incident in which officers are accused of pointing their guns at two innocent teens, according to images reviewed by CBS 2.READ MORE: Cook County Surpasses 1,000 Homicides For First Time Since 1994
The officer, Jesada Laksanaprom, was one of two officers who, on Christmas Eve 2019, forced their way into the home of Jaylin Stiger, then 16-years-old, and his brother, Lazerick James, who was 13 years old at the time. The officers didn’t have a warrant and neither teen was the person the officers were searching for.
After Laksanaprom and the other officer left the apartment, the teens’ mother, Quarnita James, took photographs of their uniforms. A close-up photo of Laksanaprom’s uniform shows him pointing to his badge number, and, next to it, the angular skull symbol of the Punisher appears embroidered on his uniform.
The Punisher is the antihero protagonist of a Marvel comic series first released in July 1987. It follows the story of Frank Castle, an ex-Marine whose family was murdered by mobsters. According to Marvel, the comic’s publisher, Castle “[sets] his sights on ensuring that every criminal be punished for their wrong-doings as a vigilante called the Punisher.”
The Punisher’s methods are brutal; he frequently commits extrajudicial executions of those he deems criminal — all while wearing the same skull symbol Laksanaprom wore that night in December 2019.Three Killed, Six Injured In School Shooting In Oxford, Michigan
The symbol has become popular among those on the far right, although it’s usage is widespread enough that wearing it doesn’t necessarily mean a person is associated with an extremist group, according to Rachel Goldwasser, a researcher at the advocacy group the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Chicago Police Department (CPD) regulations prescribe specific garments officers are supposed to wear while on duty. In certain circumstances, officers are allowed to make modifications to their uniforms, such as pins for military service, but they aren’t allowed to wear any patches other than those directly authorized by department policy.
It’s unclear if Laksanaprom will be disciplined for wearing the skull. A CPD spokesperson said the incident is under investigation by the department’s oversight agency, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA). CBS 2 repeatedly asked COPA, to respond to questions about the incident, but the agency hasn’t responded.
In addition, Laksanaprom is also seen on several other officers’ body camera videos with his badge number covered by a black strip. The badge number is often the only way an officer can be identified by a civilian who wants to make a complaint, and officers have often been accused of covering theirs to avoid accountability. During the protests last summer, Mayor Lori Lightfoot promised to fire officers who did so.
CPD Officer Jesada Laksanaprom is seen with his badge number covered and a Punisher skull sewn into his uniform during a December 2019 incident.MORE NEWS: Supply Chain Issues: How Are Global Shortages Affecting Local Customers?
Laksanaprom joined the force in March 2009 and has been involved in at least six disciplinary cases, according to records from the Invisible Institute and data reviewed by CBS 2. He was only disciplined in one of those cases: a 2015 incident in which an officer’s gun accidentally discharged during a traffic stop. He was suspended for five days.