Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicago Criminal attorney comments on the 1st Amendment and the police

This Chicago Criminal attorney is surprised that a Chicago Police Officer would say publicly, what she’s heard several police officers say to her about the job, the mayor, and the superintendent.

 Chicago police Lt. John Andrews knew that he was nudging a hornet's nest when he posted an essay on his personal blog criticizing the Police Department as beleaguered by a manpower shortage, low morale and public perceptions of rising crime.
Last week, he finally got stung.
The 25-year police veteran, who works as a watch commander at the West Side Harrison District, was notified that he was being investigated by the Internal Affairs Division for bringing "discredit" to the department for comments in his 3,072-word essay, decrying everything from internal cronyism and public apathy to emboldened criminals and pay disparities.

 Andrews said he was just exercising free speech when he told the public about the problems police officers face. He said he felt compelled to comment publicly after the slaying of Officer Michael Bailey, the third officer killed within two months, to discuss the problems officers face every day.
"I just was doing a lot of soul-searching and I said, 'Something needs to be said,'" Andrews said.
His essay takes aim at what he calls worsening violence both toward the public and officers, indifferent police and political leadership, and a loss of passion by officers.
The charge against Andrews points to a comment he made regarding recently promoted Cmdr. Anthony Carothers. Carothers' brother Isaac is a former alderman who was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison this summer on bribery and tax charges.
Andrews referred to Carothers' promotion as a "recent example of alleged political corruption ties to top tier leadership." He said his promotion less than a month after his influential brother's sentencing gave the appearance of impropriety.

 It can be difficult to realize that doing what you think is right can lead to an unwanted backlash.

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