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Proviso Probe

Friday, November 18, 2005

PO-PO, police brutality Forest Park [FP]

I have read Dan Harder's complaint to the EEOC that he experienced retaliation for his role in a successful sexual harassment suit against the Village of Forest Park and Edward Pope, who was the police chief at the time.
Beginning in October 2003, until the present I have been subjected to repeated retaliation because I initiated and assisted Sgt. Frawley and Officer Caines in bringing the sexual harassment claims....

Part of Harder's statement rang especially true based on my experience as a whistleblower in the Navy.
Sergeant Murphy allegedly used excessive force against a homeless man, Sidney Hooks. I explained [in the memo to Lt. Knack] that as I was returning to Patrol Division, numerous members of the Patrol Division approached me. They told me they needed direction concerning the position the department was taking in this matter. Several Forest Park Police Officers had been interviewed by the Cook County States Attorney's Office and planned to testify against Sergeant Murphy because they observed him use excessive force against Sidney Hooks. Mr. Hooks was pepper sprayed and his wrist broken when Sergeant Murphy him him. These officers were concerned that the department was "covering up" the incident....

I explained [to Deputy Chief Steve Weiler and Chief James Ryan] that based on incidents I observed, statements made by other individuals, and what I had learned through my education and training, that Sergeant Murphy may be a risk to himself or others because of his behavior.... I felt an obligation to report this information to my supervisors in order to prevent any further problems. I also related that Detective Pete Morrissette reported an incident to me where Sergeant Murphy has a "blow up or tantrum" in the presence of other officers and the officers felt as if Sergeant Murphy was "losing it".

What rang true was the phenomenon of individuals that saw something wrong, but didn't want to make the complaint themselves. In reality few people will put themselves at risk to report wrongdoing. They disapprove, but they would rather pass the responsibility on to someone like Harder, who had proven he would do the right thing and weather the adverse consequences.

This was how I learned about senior officers leaning on lieutenants to give their children or children of their peers Navy ROTC scholarships. None of these captains leaned on me. They leaned on my peers and my peers didn't like it. Rather than the other lieutenants raising the issue themselves, they brought it to me. I think they could satisfy themselves that they had taken a stand--albeit a weak stand--against the corruption. But if the situation were to get nasty, I would be the one actually taking the risk.


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