Chicago Police Officers Facing Dismissal After Video Shows Their Taking Gang Member To Be Threatened By Rival Gang Members

There is an interesting case out of Chicago where a gang member has reached a settlement with the Chicago Police Department after filing a tort action for intentional infliction of emotional distress and false arrest. The $33,000 settlement followed a controversy over two Chicago police officers — Susana La Casa and Luis Contreras — taking gang member Miguel “Mikey” Castillo into a rival gangs territory and allowing the rival Latin King members to taunt and threaten him. The Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy is now seeking the dismissal of the officers.

It is common to hear complaints from gang members that officers will drop them off in areas controlled by rival gangs. However, on this occasion, the incident was captured on video. Notably, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has been condemned nationally for her determined efforts to prosecute citizens who film police in public, including films of abusive police tactics like this incident. Alvarez declined to charge the officers.

The video posted by WBEZ showed the officers standing by with the doors of the SUV open as gang members yelled at Castillo and flashed gang symbols. Worse yet, the officers “made a false oral statement” about the incident to an Internal Affairs detective.

In my view, Castillo was clearly under arrest as being in custody in the vehicle and not free to leave even though he is not cuffed.

I was surprised last week to go walking along the lake on the Northside after my niece’s funeral and seeing new Latin Kings gang signs in the area. Growing up, my friends and I had to avoid gangs including the TJOs, Latin Eagles, and Latin Kings. That declined but Chicago is again struggling with resurgent gangs. WBEZ has compiled an actual map of gang turf: here.

Source: WBEZ

36 thoughts on “Chicago Police Officers Facing Dismissal After Video Shows Their Taking Gang Member To Be Threatened By Rival Gang Members

  1. Let’s face it one of the reasons that Gangs prosper in low income areas is for mutual protection and financial benefit. The protection part may also be motivated by harsh police activities that are used in poor areas, as opposed to those of the more affluent. Such treatment may well be an incentive towards increased gang activity. In this instance the officers should be fired for illegally unprofessional conduct.

  2. I sort of get it. I can see how police officers must get very frustrated feeling that they are not really changing anything or making anything better. The officers in this case probably thought they were employing a “scared straight” tactic that would make the young man think about his (likely) future. The problem, apart from the illegality of their stunt, is that empirical evidence strongly suggests that scared straight tactics don’t really work. They make for great TV: some arrogant annoying teen is changed into a penitent blubbering child. The TV audience nods approvingly, thinks, “that’s more like it”, and assumes the attitudinal shift persists after the rolling of the credits. Except it generally doesn’t because almost always nothing at all has been done to change the social dynamics of the person’s situation, and even if those dynamics don’t completely cause the nehavior, they sure do exert a significant influence.

  3. Didn’t press charges….why should he have to? If the evidence is there they should be prosecuted anyway. (They do others!)

    And as officers they should have higher standards….

  4. Dismiss and prosecute. When the police act like criminals they should be treated as criminals because they are. Frustration is no excuse for this type of behavior.

  5. MikeS, A voice from the 60’s! The myth that gangs protect their poor neighborhoods comes from the myth of the Black Hand, the precursor to La Costra Nostra. Now, the Black Hand did in the early 1900’s help people who were the victims of crime ignored by the police, mostly Irish. However, they primarily preyed upon their own people, making them pay protection. These gangs now prey upon their own people and the good people of these neighborhoods beg for police help. It’s in the papers and on the news daily in Chicago. The gangs don’t abide the most restrictive gun laws in Chicago, making unarmed citizens easy prey. I get nostalgic about 60’s music, garb, tv, culture. But not your pablum about gangs.

  6. Jude, I lived on the 2100 block of Waveland. It was gang free but walking just a few blocks north to Irving Park or a few blocks south there were gangs. The immediate area where I lived were many old Germans who had their extended families living in 2 flats. Solid families are the best deterrent to crime.

  7. “MikeS, A voice from the 60′s! The myth that gangs protect their poor neighborhoods comes from the myth of the Black Hand, the precursor to La Costra Nostra.”

    “I get nostalgic about 60′s music, garb, tv, culture. But not your pablum about gangs.”

    Nick,

    The main problem with your reading comprehension is that your read into writing and project onto people that which is not there. Neither of your quotes from above is responsive to what I wrote, nor are your surmises about my thinking derivative from what I wrote. I did not address a paean to gangs and truth be told I have had much more experience with them than you, from both the inside and out.

    You would really come off as a more interesting person if you actually responded to what people wrote, without adding your own projections to it and in doings so trying to prove your wisdom.

  8. “The protection part may also be motivated by harsh police activities that are used in poor areas.” What am I missing? And we’ve gone over this “more experience” previously on rape and maybe another topic. MikeS, you may well have, but how do you know? Gangs NOW have absolutely NO redeeming value. And to even intimate they do, is ludicrous. You did just that by saying they may serve a function of protection. Current gangs are about drugs and money, that’s all. They hardly even deal w/ prostitution or gambling anymore. The lottery pretty much killed the numbers rackets and you can just go online to get a hooker directly. Chicago has become a transit point because of logistics and the sophistication of their gangs. The geography makes Chicago a perfect location for nationwide distribution of drugs just like it does for legit commodities. MikeS, Chicago has been in free fall for about the last 6-8 years. It’s worse than any other US city.

    Lets end on a point that wwe can agree. Although it is a DemocratIC city, Chicago is not the least bit “progressive.” The past year or so there have been some young gangsters mugging people for their iPhones and iPads in the trendy Mag Mile area. They also did some wilding @ the Oak Street and North St. beach, where white folk sunbathe. Well, that was nipped RIGHT IN THE BUD! I went to the annual Air and Water Show a couple months ago. We sat @ the Oak St. Beach[in the shadows of the Drake Hotel] and there were more cops than I have ever seen, and I’ve been to that show @ least 5-6 times. We are sympatico on this, MikeS.

  9. mattcarmody, Garry McCarthy is like all big city police commissioners, a politician. It’s early so I’ll show some patience. However, when there was a Nato summit in Chicago last summer we got a glimpse into his thinking. Watch what people do, not what they say. And that applies to pols even more. Well, w/ Nato in town there were vittually no problems. You couldn’t walk 3 steps w/o bumping into a cop on the Mag Mile or Loop. During that time, dozens of poor black folk were killed on the streets of the south and west side. He talks a good game but he showed that week he knows who butters his bread.

  10. shano, Amen to that! However, as we’ve discussed here, too may public and private industries oppose it. Hopefully you support the Ron Paul’s and Gary Johnsons. I voted for Johnson.

  11. mfitch 1 wrote:

    … almost always nothing at all has been done to change the social dynamics of the person’s situation, and even if those dynamics don’t completely cause the nehavior, they sure do exert a significant influence.

    Years ago (decades actually) I worked in a psych hospital. For young patients with problems of addiction part of the therapy was a commitment to move out of the area where they were living so the influence of the friends and environment were no longer available. If they were going back to the same thing that helped them become addicted the chances for recovery were greatly reduced.

  12. Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley, San Bernadino, or the NYPD, where’s the difference?

    I live in Arizona, Maricopa County, so Arpaio is easy for many of you. Illinois, Michigan, California, or the Boroughs, it’s the same old same old. Blue or red it plays out the same. The former and the latter have being doing this so much longer than Arizona. The 1968 Police Riot anyone? The earliest recognition of Police as brutally fallible, while still meting out no real punishment. I have police in my family, and getting that pension justifies almost anything for anyone in their profession. False imprisonment, by their word, of people they consider non-human does not justify losing that pension. They have the strongest Unions in the USA to buttress that perverse opinion.

  13. “I sort of get it. I can see how police officers must get very frustrated feeling that they are not really changing anything or making anything better.”

    We went through the Peoria, AZ, case of parents being charge with child pornography because a cop Detective saw child pornography and so did a Prosecuter ( the “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it” BS). After about 9 months everything was dropped, but the children went through hell as did the parents. So don’t give Police such pure justification, they deal with the laws and they can be as ugly, biased, even perverse in their interpretation as anyone else. They do not suffer their mistakes, though, others do. They walk away fairly clean, and go on to promotion.

    The pictures of their children in the bathtub would only be sexually suggestive, and sexually exciting, to someone so inclined. That Detective and Prosecutor found them so makes me wonder as to their proclivities.

    My mother has pictures of me and a girl at three taking a bath together. I’m sure it would excite the police. It doesn’t excite my mother or me, we see it as childhood pictures. But those easily excited alpha males, alpha by brutality not intelligence, should go tumescent before arrest if only to clear their heads.

    Obviously, I took this far afield from your meaning, but police enforce laws, they don’t change anything and they don’t make things better, they enforce laws. They also game them because they’re human. Remember the Iraq Vet that ran stoplights, carefully, because he recognized his wife was having a stroke and minutes counted? The cop that chased him tried to stop him at the emergency room door, tried to stop his wife from getting treatment but the emergency personnel told the cop to back off in no uncertain terms (police power is not absolute, in medical emergencies it’s certainly second), and at the end of it all he tried to charge the Vet with “assault on an officer” (a special privilege above what the rest of us can claim as an assault) because he got a scratch, an ouchie, at some point. It was thrown out in both courts.

    The Gates-Crowley affair ( and I have a lot of respect for Crowley) is an example of gaming it. Crowley couldn’t arrest Gates for disorderly conduct in this circumstance unless Gates was outside his house. Crowley kept asking Gates to come outside, even after Gates had answered as to the purported break-in, at which time police procedure was moot if the home owner or resident tells you to beat feet, he did it repeatedly Gates being loud and obnoxious to Crowley, and willingly to continue it to the porch gave Crowley what he needed to arrest Gates, well after Crowley had no reason to be there. By getting the screaming Gates on the porch, Crowley could then justify an arrest by disorderly conduct. That was the gaming, the contempt of cop. Police are people, with all the flaws, but their flaws can leave you with fewer job opportunities while they struggle with why it’s a big deal to you because it isn’t to them.

    They live in an outlier world but think it isn’t, even to the gross misunderstanding that their world is normality.

  14. leejcaroll,

    ” If they were going back to the same thing that helped them become addicted the chances for recovery were greatly reduced.” In other words, they had to avoid enabling in all its aspects. Sensible.

  15. Shano,

    Like Spinelli, I’ll give you an amen also. The War on Drugs has been more destructive than the drugs. I imagine a phone call to the DEA, after the US legalized drugs, from the Cartels:

    Cartels: Esse, what are we going to do about this? We can’t live without your market and you have no jobs without us.

    DEA: Maybe we can make tobacco illegal. We made the Mafia rich with alcohol prohibition. Get those fields planted. We’ll tread water for the years it takes you to get running…then we’ll hit you hard and drive those prices up. Money all around, especially when we can confiscate property that smells like tobacco. It’s mostly the poor and they can’t fight us after all. They’re trash that both liberals and conservatives would drop by their very use of illegal tobacco. Addicts are scum.

  16. Ariel,

    The sum of the content in your previous four comments represents a nice summation of the mentality behind the illegal acts of many police officers, in far too many instances. It is necessary for us to understand the “why” of these instances occur, as much as we understand the “what” of the wrongness of their reality.

  17. The “war on drigs” is being taken out on those of us in chronic pain.
    The “epidemic” and media reports of prescription drug overdoses and deaths never break it down as to the numbers of those who have abused who are not prescribed these drugs but buy them on the street or steal them.
    Because the government has been so unsuccessful with the cartels (for whatever reason, complicit or incompetent as 2 thoughts) they instead come after us, changing laws and rules so that people in pain have to go to the doctor more often to get meds that once they could come in for once and twice a year for a script with refills. All that does is make it harder for us, cost more to the insurance companies (and therefore raise premiums) and often medicare as well, take time from seeing other patients who actively need to be seen.
    War on drugs? No, it has turned into a war on chronic pain patients. When you can’t get the ones you want go after those least able to fight back.

  18. Mike Spindell,

    “The sum of the content in your previous four comments represents a nice summation of the mentality behind the illegal acts of many police officers, in far too many instances. It is necessary for us to understand the “why” of these instances occur, as much as we understand the “what” of the wrongness of their reality.”

    Thank you, I’ve actually written something not devoid of logic and meaning. I’ve been looking at this for over three decades since Nixon’s no-knock policy (as if you could flush it all down the toilet) and it’s resultant abuse of the 4th, and it’s dangers to both citizens and citizen police. No matter Gene H., I believe the Bill of Rights is the rock of our Republic. The Drug War has turned Search Warrants into Writs of Assistance, Asset Forfeiture acceptable (from RICO, prior asset forfeiture was anathema in the courts), and Swat Teams as dejure, or matter of practice (no dejure isn’t matter of practice in Latin) for even misdemeanors. Swat Teams were by conception for high-violence felony situations but now for misdemeanors because…

    “Officer Safety” has become the paradigm. The overriding issue by which police should judge all situations. If you’re better trained in violence, bigger, and have more tools on your belt, escalating first will keep you safe. Unfortunately, those that don’t deserve that escalation pay the price. Go to PoliceOne or Officer.com, you’ll get a lot of “sorry, but better thee than me”. You’ll also get newtimers and oldtimers going “WTF is wrong with the rest of you”. Idealists.

    I could also go into “officer authority”, but after hours that just means beating on the female bartender, with every cop responding trying to blame her, trying to intimidate her, and writing fictional reports. But that’s the Brotherhood, a different matter going back farther.

    A cop should only be a cop while on duty. A citizen every moment in-between with no more authority or special privilege.

    I have two cops in my family, both good people. A bit better before, but still good afterwards, though one had a hard transition. His wife moderated him, grounded him, she is now an Assistant Police Chief. She understood that if I argued against a police practice it wasn’t ignorance, it wasn’t anti-police, it was just another viewpoint. He struggled with insularity, she didn’t. Just an aside to avoid the obligatory “good cops, bad apples, etc.”.

    Why can’t we just say some cops are bad, really bad, without the obligatory “cops are good”? I just did it by reflex.

  19. leejcaroll,

    Think of it as collateral damage. How can you win a War without it?

    The DEA, that group charged with winning the War, don’t care about you. After all, if your taking too much medication, and they know if you are, you’re just an addict. The DEA knows your pain and you over medicate it.

  20. Wish there was an edit function, because Mike S., I’ve met and reported to the DEA. Meth has two processes I know of: Iodine or Ammonia. I’ve been involved in selling both. The first we had strict control of because Iodine had strict reporting requirements. The second was looser as ammonia is used in so many different ways.

    I got a call from a friend that meth producers had switched to ammonia, he remediated meth labs and called me after he had found his first mobile meth lab using ammonia to give me a heads up. He didn’t want me to suffer from bad publicity if my company sold ammonia to some meth lab (you have to understand all the deviousness involved). I called my company to inform them, met with the DEA a day or two later, and all questionable calls for ammonia were sent to me. And if I got enough info, or set up a buy, the DEA was informed of the former or in our office for the latter.

    The calls were quite funny. I would never etch my driveway for painting (big in Sun City at the time) using ammonia gas, or iodine crystals for that matter. Poor one way, really expensive the other. HCl was more effective and cheaper.

    Yeah, I got the Iodine calls after that too.

  21. leejcaroll,

    My wife suffers from chronic pain. I wasn’t taking light of the issue. Just the frustration with bureaucrats deciding what constitutes pain management. They have no qualifications to decide, but they do have the law.

  22. Looking at that video, I thought, “Wow, those police officers are the luckiest people in the country right now. What they did could have led to something so much worse than what happened, they should be down on their knees thanking god that they didn’t end up in worse trouble than Cheorge Zimmerman.”

    And here’s why: They decided that they would do something they weren’t allowed to do because they had this stupid “little hero” complex or because they wanted to star in their own little 15-minutes-of-fame-TV-reality-cop-show action that they produced, directed and acted in. Yeah. Cool idea, huh? :cool:

    NOT. Just imagine if they started off to scare and humiliate the guy in the back seat and either he didn’t act as predicted or one of the gang members didn’t act as predicted (and after all, nobody has to act as predicted) and this turned into a minor riot and those officers “had to” shoot somebody, huh? And then? And then? And then an armed gang member on the street has to shoot back? And then somebody has to set the car on fire? And then there has to be a response? And then maybe a little riot? And then maybe a few frustration murders? And then what? Huh?

    Started by those two little demigods who figured they could misuse their power?

    People don’t always follow your script, you stupid punks. They should be fired, fined, prosecuted, made examples of, given the stiffest sentences available, be forever marked so they can never have a responsible job again, never be allowed to carry a concealed weapon again, never be allowed to seek public office, etc.

    The charges should be federal. Look what they DID! That cannot be tolerated anywhere, for any reason, at any time. EVER.

  23. Malisha,
    “That cannot be tolerated anywhere, for any reason, at any time. EVER.” Except it often is, this was just one example that wasn’t. If they had beat him, it would have been.

  24. “Why can’t we just say some cops are bad, really bad, without the obligatory “cops are good”? I just did it by reflex.”

    Ariel,

    I think that we all have been conditioned to it by years of TV shows extolling the police and elected officials, both Federal, State and Local doing the same. I NYC where I was in the Civil Service bureaucracy it was quite telling that from City officials praise and support was always give to the NYPD. Yet the Department infrastructure was dated and neglected, individual officers were often treated badly by the bureaucratic system and the low person on the totem pole was often made scapegoat for institutional errors. Knowing many officers I found them to be smart enough to understand the dichotomy with how they were praised in public and treated badly in private. In my estimation this was one reason for the “blue wall of brotherhood” and an ingrained disrespect for those outside the profession.
    Then too, it was a profession that elevated “macho” to great heights of importance. When “macho” is king, reason suffers.

    Another factor that needs consideration is that politicians have always found it electorally expedient to be against “crime”. Frightening the populace to exercise control, while garnering widespread public support is an ancient tactic. The more fear you can instill, the greater the license to those who would protect the public.
    After awhile, those empowered, begin to believe their own myths. While at some points policing ca indeed be a dangerous job, with mortal consequences, I believe as has been pointed out there are far more dangerous occupations. Somewhere I’ve read the statistic that the overwhelming majority of police officers in NYC never has to fire their gun in the pursuit of crime.

    That you bring in the truth that this can’t be discussed without looking at the history of law enforcement is equally important. While certain trends can be traced to the “no knock” policy coming out of the Nixon era and to that abomination of the constitution known as RICO, the seeds of law enforcement excesses date back to the formation of our republic. I truth law enforcement in the U.S. has always had a close interrelation with upholding the interests of the propertied class. We have made heroes of mythic figures like Wyatt Earp, who owned 10% of the Brothels in Dodge City at one point and may well have gunned down the Clanton’s in the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” because they were political rivals for his position.

    Another historical truth that comes to mind is that the City of Los Angeles, beginning in the 1930’s started to import police officers from the South who were experienced in “Jim Crow”. The purpose was to contain the large Mexican ad growing Black population in that city. Historically the LAPD has been recognized as a corrupt and brutal force, despite the PR machinations of the program “Dragnet”.

    Lastly, the deleterious effect of the “War on Drugs” has severely deteriorated our Constitutional protections, again in the name of mindless fear. If a definition of insanity is to continue to use the same methods that have proven failures such as Prohibition, then in the “War on Drugs” our efforts have been insane.

  25. Mike S.,
    “When “macho” is king, reason suffers”. I’d take it a step further to reason disappears. “Contempt of cop” is where ego displaces reason. Reason being that they should understand their powers versus the fellow citizens rights. I would add that they see being put into the system with charges dropped as nothing, other than their ego satisfaction, while the rest of us know the ramifications of even an unfounded arrest.

    While we have actually only had what we would know as law enforcement since roughly the 1840s (I draw from memory), I’d give the seeds where planted as soon as immunity, in any form, became accepted. Sovereign immunity was the start. Propertied classes have always been given preference, but I’ve always seen them as having more to lose too, so I’m ambivalent. The property class put both life and property on line with the Revolutionary War.

    I pretty much agree with each of your paragraphs, I’d just be nit-picking to try to make a point for no reason. I chose NIxon because of my hate of “break-the-door-down” with its whisper cousin “Police, we said police”, but it does go way back. RICO is a cancer that all branches embrace as healthy muscle. The Drug War is another, RICO being it’s child.

  26. “I’d take it a step further to reason disappears. “Contempt of cop” is where ego displaces reason. Reason being that they should understand their powers versus the fellow citizens rights. I would add that they see being put into the system with charges dropped as nothing, other than their ego satisfaction, while the rest of us know the ramifications of even an unfounded arrest.”

    Ariel,

    I agree.

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