The April 20 article by John Conroy ["Killed on Camera"] raises questions about information that Mr. Conroy puts in his article. He dwells on the subject of the officer not being in full uniform, but taking police action. If an officer comes to the aid of a battery victim (as the officer in question did), does the injured party really care if the officer is in full uniform, or wearing a plain T-shirt and shorts? Mr. Conroy does not give credit to the officer for living up to his oath when he saw the brawl occurring. He could have just walked on to his office and ignored the incident, but he did not, he became involved. The article mentions that the officer is attempting to take the person he believes was the instigator to the police office. As the photos show, the man the officer is trying to take to his office does not seem to be cooperating. The article goes on to say that the subject "doesn't appear to be making any attempt to overpower the officer." As the article states and the photos show, the officer has his firearm in hand. Is it possible that the subject thought about immediate consequences if he began striking the officer? The article puts the onus of the situation on the officer. Had the person he was trying to take to his office cooperated and the person who was unfortunately shot not interfered, Mr. Conroy probably would not write an article about an officer just doing his job.
Mr. Conroy then goes on to suggest a cover-up by the super-intendent of police in the matter. He suggests that the officer and the superintendent crossed paths many years ago in the 11th Police District. The article does not offer any proof that they knew each other. The district has well over 200 officers assigned. If the superintendent (then lieutenant) were on the same watch, then they may have had knowledge of each other. To imply that they knew each other makes an unwarranted assumption.
Anthony F. Graffeo
Retired Chicago Police sergeant
John Conroy replies:
Because the officer wasn't in uniform on time he lacked the tools--handcuffs, pepper spray, baton, and radio--he could have deployed in a situation that did not call for deadly force. Responding to the fight with a gun drawn was against department regulations and he was censured for that by the Office of Professional Standards, which sustained ten charges against him.
The article does state that the superintendent crossed paths with Officer Weems in the 11th District, and it goes on to cite Cline's stated belief that "downtown" rules did not apply there, but I wasn't able to comment on the level of acquaintance of the two men. I would have been happy to have heard Superintendent Cline's clarification of that question and his insights on other issues raised in the article, but he declined to answer any of the questions I submitted to him about the incident.