Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicago police officers accused of forcing man to pose for photo during Pittsburgh G-20 summit


Chicago police officers accused of
forcing man to pose for photo
during Pittsburgh G-20 summit 
By DON BABWIN , Associated Press  
Last update: October 16, 2009 - 3:11 PM 
CHICAGO - The Chicago Police Department is
investigating several of its officers accused of
forcing a college student they arrested during last
month's G-20 summit in Pittsburgh to pose for a
group photo with them. 
The department, which has been dogged by
embarrassing allegations of misconduct in recent
years, began investigating the Pittsburgh claims
after video of the alleged incident was posted on
The video apparently shows about 15 police
officers in riot gear posing for a photo with a man
they detained kneeling in front of them.
Kyle Kramer, the 21-year-old University of
student forced to pose with police, was
returning to campus from a pizza parlor when he
was detained by police who were rounding up
protesters, his attorney Cristopher Hoel told The
Associated Press on Friday. 
"He was a college student arrested for walking on
campus. That seems to me to make him a victim,"
Hoel said. 

Kramer faced a preliminary hearing Wednesday
on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse
and disorderly conduct. Hoel said his client is
innocent of both charges. 
The department issued a statement saying the
officers were working in Pittsburgh on their own
time, but that they were still representing the city
of Chicago

"The Chicago Police Department does not tolerate
misconduct by any of its members, regardless of
where it might occur." 
It's possible the officers violated Kramer's
constitutional rights, as well as internal
departmental rules, said Craig Futterman, a
University of Chicago law professor who has
studied the department and allegations of police
brutality extensively. 
If the officers were retaliating against Kramer for
something he said that offended them, it is
possible they could have violated Kramer's First
Amendment right of free speech. The officers also
might have violated Kramer's 4th Amendment
right against unreasonable search or seizure,
Futterman said. 
Some fellow police officers declined to comment
publicly about the investigation. But they pointed
to a popular blog — Second City Cop — that
blasted the officers for heaping more ridicule on a
department dogged by several recent

embarrassing incidents, including the beating of a
female bartender by an off-duty officer. 
"How do you even begin to defend something like
this?" reads the blog. "You can't it's impossible...
You are embarrassments." 
Pat Camden, who spent more than 30 years with
the department and was its spokesman for
several years, harshly criticized the officers for
damaging the reputation of a department that has
been trying to rehabilitate its image that was hurt
by several incidents, including one, captured on
film and shown worldwide, of an off-duty officer
beating up a female bartender. 

"When you put on a police uniform you represent
the Chicago Police Department and we've got
these idiots with a prisoner right in front of them,
and supervisors are standing right there," he said,
incredulously. "That kind of childish behavior is
totally unacceptable." 
Some, though, wondered whether Kramer may
have willingly posed for the photo with the
Robert Weisskopf, a Chicago police lietenant, said
he remembered an incident when a man insisted
on being in a photograph along with several
officers in riot gear. 
And Daniel P. Smith, who wrote "On the Job:
Behind the Stars of the Chicago Police

Department," had the same thought when he saw
the video.
"I could see the guy, thinking, 'They handcuffed
me, this would be a great photo for my frat
house,'" he said. "That's what it looked like to me." 
But Camden said it's hard to imagine how
something like this could have occurred, with all
of the efforts that have been made to get officers
to understand they should always act in public as
if their actions are being recorded. 
"You continue to make people aware that
everything you (police officers) do from the
moment you walk out the door until you get home
at night is on camera somewhere," said Camden,
who said he stresses that in media relations
classes he teaches to police supervisors at
Northwestern University. 
"If you're in the public way, it's more than likely
being recorded."
Associated Press Writer Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh
contributed to this report. 
On the Net: 
YouTube video of alleged incident,


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