After bringing youth to gang’s turf, cops won’t face charges

July 25, 2011

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(special to WBEZ)
At one point, three of the SUV’s doors are open as onlookers peer in from both sides.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office says two Chicago cops accused of unprofessional conduct will not face local charges. The office says it examined an incident involving a video that shows people on a Northwest Side street taunting a young man in the cops’ backseat.

The officers picked up the youth March 19 on a Logan Square block where a decades-old gang operates. They drove him in their marked police SUV to the turf of a rival gang.

A 90-second video shot there shows the officers outside the SUV with a backdoor open as onlookers insult the young man inside and flash gang signs. After WBEZ spotted the video, the police department put the officers on desk duty and began an Internal Affairs investigation. At a news conference, interim police Supt. Terry Hillard said “scared straight” tactics were always inappropriate.

The department also asked State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office to review the case. Now Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly says the office conducted the review but “was unable to develop sufficient evidence that would rise to the level of criminal charges.”

Police spokeswoman Sgt. Antoinette Ursitti says her department’s internal investigation is still pending. The two officers remain on desk duty.

Attorneys at the Chicago firm Loevy & Loevy say they are preparing a civil suit for the young man, whom they have not named.

The officers have not spoken about the incident publicly but some homeowners in the neighborhood have rallied behind them. WBEZ is not naming the cops at this time.