Weis, Daley wrong on abusive cops

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It took a scolding by a federal judge and threat of being held in contempt of court, but Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis finally released the list of Chicago police officers who have been accused of more than five citizen assaults.

It took a scolding by a federal judge and threat of being held in contempt of court, but Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis finally released the list of Chicago police officers who have been accused of more than five citizen assaults.

It should never have come to a court order. Judge Robert Gettleman called Weis’ refusal “absolutely intolerable.” Weis and Mayor Richard Daley argued that releasing the names of the officers would put them at risk and have a chilling effect on crime-fighting, having the officers second-guessing their behavior.

We argue that having officers on the streets with five or more complaints of abuse against citizens – those they are sworn to protect and serve — puts the citizens at risk. While some of those accusations have been unfounded, the public, and particularly lawyers for citizens who have brought charges against officers, ought to be able to know if those officers have exhibited a pattern of violence.

As for the release of the names affecting crime fighting, perhaps Weis and the mayor should take a look around. They should see that violent crime is on a terrible upswing in Chicago, and this past weekend’s violence is just further indication. That includes another police-involved fatal shooting that took place in front of the slain man’s toddler son. Chicago now has the dubious honor of being the nation’s murder capital, and there seems to be no relief in sight.

Police officers should be second-guessing their actions if they result in private citizens being abused and having their rights violated. We are still a nation of laws, and the police cannot be above the law simply because the job they do is so dangerous.

It is exactly why they should be held to an even higher standard. Because we expect so much out of them.

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