Editorial

Guilty

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(Handout/Screenshot ABC7Chicago broadcast)

Guilty

Jason Van Dyke was just found guilty of 2nd degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. His bond has been revoked and he was remanded to the county jail. This happened minutes ago. By the time you read this, there will be hours of broadcast time spent digesting the verdict and the trial, with more to come.

Laquan McDonald
Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer accused of fatally shooting Laquan McDonald, was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. (Screenshot ABC7Chicago broadcast)

The sentencing is set for a future date, but it will be significant. This is effectively a life sentence, even if he is sentenced to the minimum time. A white police officer found guilty of murdering a black man and tossed into the prison system is a terrifying thought.

The news followed up with scenes of celebrations on the street outside the courthouse as well as on the south side. The lynch mob has gotten what it wanted. I’m sure they are disappointed he wasn’t found guilty of 1st degree murder but as the judge pointed out that to be found guilty of 2nd degree one must be found guilty of 1st degree murder and they have mitigating circumstances. For the moment the mob seems mollified. Only time will tell if peace is maintained today.

I’m sure there will be appeals. They might be effective, however, that may take years, years spent in jail waiting for the outcome. My prayers are with Jason Van Dyke and his family.

So where does that leave the members of the police department now? I don’t know. Will the officers be met with more resistance from people on the street who now feel they don’t need to listen and comply with a lawful order? The law clearly states a person does not have the lawful right to resist an arrest. Their recourse for the arrest is in court not on the street. That’s something the news media and public leaders need to ensure the public knows. Of course, that will never happen.

Dan Herbert, the defense attorney, just stated on the news that Jason Van Dyke was a sacrificial lamb. Sacrificed by the CPD brass, city politicians, and public leaders. They all had their agenda to serve and Van Dyke and the police department were never their concern.

So, for now, Fr. Pfleger along with other public leaders are patting themselves on the back. They moved their agenda ahead. The lynch mobs are satisfied for the time.

Saddled with a consent decree and this verdict, how will the rank and file CPD officer react? The adage that the society gets the police it deserves may be very true. I’m sure most officers will once again take it down a notch. Personally, I see no reason to generate parking and moving violation revenues for a city that doesn’t support my work. I see no reason to not take full advantage of the medical roll when I have a sniffle. I see no reason to develop and execute search warrants. Of course, when you get assigned to a man with a gun call or a robbery in progress you go to it. Do your best job but don’t risk your safety traveling above the speed limit with lights and siren.

It’s been called, “getting fetal.” It just isn’t worth being a sacrificial lamb for some politician.

Bless the Chicago police officer and all officers across our country. Be careful.

Run low and zigzag.

– Robert Weisskopf (Lt. ret.)

www.bobweisskopf.com

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Author
Robert Weisskopf

Robert Weisskopf is a retired Chicago police lieutenant. In thirty years, he rose from police officer to sergeant, to lieutenant, serving every role in patrol with 18 months detailed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development leading a team for narcotics enforcement. He became a member of the Lieutenants Union and served as its’ president for six years negotiating two contracts. He also served as vice president of the Illinois Police Benevolent Protective Association. He’s a divorced father with three sons. You can view my website at BobWeisskopf.com.

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