Saturday, April 25, 2009

Now That's What You Call Ironic

Family claims Chicago police officer beat autistic teenager -- The very week that Chicago PD was promoting its program to deal with people with mental disabilities, Chicago cops beat up an autistic kid because he wouldn't make eye contact with them. (He wasn't doing anything wrong when they started "questioning" him.) Of course people with autism won't make eye contact with anyone.
Guzman, 16, was standing on the sidewalk Wednesday night, taking a break from working in his family's fast-food restaurant in the Pilsen neighborhood. He was watching cars go by when a police cruiser pulled up and two officers began asking him questions, his family says.

Guzman didn't understand the questions, said his sister Nubia, 25, and looked down, away and eventually began walking away. Diagnosed with moderate autism at age 4, he doesn't like confrontation, his sister said.

The officers went after him.
Of course they did. That's what Chicago cops (is that all cops?) do to someone who was standing on the side of the road harming no one. They caught up to him too. Hit him in the head with a night stick opening a wound that required 8 staples.

The cops (and the Chicago Trib) are excited about the new program.
More than 1,100 of the department's 13,500 officers have gone through the 40-hour training since its inception in 2004.
OK - 40 hours is a lot of working hours, but that is less than 10 percent of the force trained in 4 years. (Or it 5 years now?)

Chicago PD won't talk about the incident because it is under investigation, which I guess I can understand.

The family "may" be planning to sue.

The ironic part?
To mark Autism Awareness month, the department held its first Autism Safety Awareness night with the Easter Seals on Monday and sent out a six-page training memo to all sworn personnel on autism and police responses. The department also handed out thousands of index cards with tips on how to handle people with autism and distributed buttons for officers to wear.
Guess these guys didn't get that memo.

UPDATE: Jody Weis - Superintendent of CPD says we shouldn't rush to judgment. I'm sure that the 2 officers in question had very good probable cause for questioning the MINOR in the first place. He was probably standing on the sidewalk in front of his families restaurant in a threatening fashion. Yeah, I believe that. As opposed to believing that 2 of "Chicago's Finest" decided to hassle a boy who wasn't behaving the way they thought he should be, even though he wasn't doing anything wrong at the time.

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