The Chicago Police Department is under fire from severe criticism after a photo was released that may have never been meant for public eyes. The photo shows two white police officers, holding rifles, standing over a black man laying on his stomach, but with deer antlers attached to his head as if he is a dead deer.
In the photo are former Officers Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan with an unidentified African-American drug suspect.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, the photo is a Polaroid that is more than 10 years old and thought to have been taken sometime between 1999 and 2003. It was handed over to the city by the feds sometime in 2013, and it led to some serious consequences.
McDermott was a serious force in the department, and the photo surfacing resulted in his being fired in 2014. The police board ended up voting 5-to-4 to take his job away from him. The four voters believe that McDermott merely should have been suspended.
The majority voters believed that his firing came from the situation being much worse than others saw it.
“…appearing to treat an African-American man not as a human being but as a hunted animal is disgraceful and shocks the conscience.”
My Fox Chicago states that McDermott is indeed appealing his dismissal from the Chicago Police Department in court. He has since been driving a truck to support his family and make money.
His next court hearing is scheduled for June 10.
The photo of the black man in the antlers was staged by the former officers (McDermott on the right and Finnigan on the left) at the West Side police station. The man on the ground was arrested for having “20 bags of weed” on him, and he was in possession of the rifles shown in the photo.
Records show the man was released without charges.
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has said that the photo is horrible and issued a statement regarding its release.
“This picture is disgusting, and the despicable actions of these two former officers have no place in our police department or in our society. As the Superintendent of this department, and as a resident of our city, I will not tolerate this kind of behavior, and that is why neither of these officers works for CPD today. I fired one of the officers, and would have fired the other if he hadn’t already been fired by the time I found out about the picture, which is why I fired the officer involved as soon as I learned about photo. Our residents deserve better than this, as do the thousands of good men and women in this department.”
Attorneys for McDermott and for the police department have both asked Judge Thomas Allen, who presided over the case, to keep the photo sealed away from the public. The judge denied the request back in March.
The photo of the black man wearing antlers and acting like a dead deer as Chicago Police Department officers stand over him with rifles is not good. It’s just bad all around for all those involved, and is showing that even the past can come back to haunt you.
[Image via Chicago court photo file]