A Chicago police department photo recently stirred ire and prompted online backlash. The photo showed two white police officers holding guns and kneeling next to a black man laying on the ground who is wearing deer antlers on his head.
The Chicago police department photo prompted claims of racism and the termination of detective Timothy McDermott. The police detective was fired long before the photo became public and was published by the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday. The other white Chicago police officer in the photo is Jerome Finnigan. He was convicted on income tax evasion and murder-for-hire charges and is serving a 12-year sentence in a federal prison.
The Chicago Police Department found out about the photo of white police officers holding guns while posing over a black prisoner wearing antlers in 2013. Detective Timothy McDermott was fired shortly after the photo surfaced. The Chicago Police Board reportedly voted five to four in October to fire McDermott. The controversial picture was taken between October 14, 1999, and July 2, 2003, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Jerome Finnigan would also have been fired if he had still been working for the department, according to police officials.
“This picture is disgusting, and the despicable actions of these two former officers have no place in our police department or in our society,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy stated in a release about the photo of a black man wearing antlers as two white officers pose above him.
Former Chicago police detective Timothy McDermott is now contesting his termination in court. McDermott was charged with violating four department rules and was found guilty on “bringing discredit on the department, disrespecting or maltreating a person on or off duty and unlawful or unnecessary use or display of a weapon.”
During the time period when the guns and deer antler photo was taken, the detective was reportedly assigned to the Special Operations Section. The unit was ultimately disbanded amid allegations that members had taken part in “numerous crimes and civil rights violations” from 2002 to 2006. Finnigan was reportedly considered the “ringleader” of the group.
Federal prosecutors reportedly gave the guns and deer antlers photo to Chicago police officials. Police department attorneys and McCarthy reportedly asked a Cook County Circuit Court judge to keep the photo sealed in an effort to protect the identity of the black man wearing antlers in the photo.
The judge did not agree with the argument and ordered the photo released. The Chicago Bureau of Internal Affairs says it was unable to identify the black man in the photo. Finnigan and McDermott reportedly did not file an arrest report on the man who wore deer antlers in the photo.
The black man in the Chicago police department photo was arrested for possessing 20 bags of marijuana, according Finnigan and McDermott. The image was reportedly taken inside the tactical office of the Harrison Police District police department on the West Side of Chicago. McDermott’s attorney, Daniel Herbet, said there is evidence that the black man in the photo was a “willing participant.” The lawyer also says that the former Chicago police officer “jumped” in the photo as part of a “split-second decision” and was not “consciously thinking of what he was doing.”
What do you think about the viral photo of the white Chicago police officers posing with guns above a black man wearing deer antlers?