Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chicago Cop Fights Dismissal Over Photo of Him Pretending to Hunt Black Man
A former Chicago police detective is suing to overturn his firing for posing in a photograph showing him and another officer in a mock hunting scene with a black man wearing antlers.

Timothy McDermott in the lawsuit seeks to rejoin the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The snapshot, showing the officers with rifles standing over the unidentified black man, was reportedly taken sometime between 1999 and 2003 at a Chicago police station.

The Chicago Police Board fired McDermott in October after the photo surfaced during an FBI probe into the second officer, Jerome Finnigan, now serving a 12-year prison sentence for corruption. Both McDermott and Finnigan are white.

The majority of the board wrote that "appearing to treat an African-American man not as a human being but as a hunted animal is disgraceful and shocks the conscience."

The police board found McDermott guilty of bringing discredit on the department, disrespecting or maltreating a person on- or off-duty, and unlawful or unnecessary use or display of a weapon, the Sun-Times said.

A Cook County judge unsealed the photo in March after it was filed as part of the lawsuit, the New York Daily News reported.

McDermott's lawyer, Dan Herbert, said Wednesday there's no evidence the photo was taken against the black man's will, WLS-TV reported. Police officials said they believe the man in antlers was a drug suspect.

Finnigan was convicted in 2011 of leading a group of officers who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from drug dealers, even ordering another officer killed to keep him quiet about the scheme.
Although McDermott was not found to be involved in that, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he doesn't deserve to get his job back.

"As far as I'm concerned, to that officer: Good riddance. You don't belong in the Police Department," Emanuel told reporters Wednesday. "Our whole idea of the Police Department (is that it) is there to serve and protect, and the values expressed in that photo are not the values of the people of the city of Chicago."

McDermott acknowledged to police officials two years ago that the photo was a mistake, the Sun-Times reported.

"I was asked to join the photo and I did so without exercising proper judgment," according to a transcript of his remarks. "I made a mistake as a young impressionable police officer who was trying to fit in."

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