By: Chip Mitchell, WBEZ 91.5: April 5th, 2011
A veteran Chicago attorney says he is representing a young man shown on video in the backseat of a Chicago police SUV.
The video, shot March 19, shows a backdoor of the SUV open as onlookers flash gang signs and taunt the young man. The officers are outside the vehicle, a Chevrolet Tahoe with police markings, and appear to be standing by.
Attorney Arthur Loevy says the young man is a minor whom the officers loaded into the SUV against his will before driving him to the Humboldt Park block where a bystander shot the 90-second video.
Residents of that block say the house closest to the SUV is a base of a street gang that operates in the neighborhood. They say the officers drove away with the young man after about five minutes.
Loevy says the officers then dropped the youth off nearby and did not charge him. The attorney says the young man made it home OK but is moving out of Chicago for his own safety.
After WBEZ spotted the video, the police department said it put the officers on desk duty and began an internal investigation. Interim police Supt. Terry Hillard said tactics to scare kids straight are always inappropriate.
WBEZ is not naming the officers at this time.
Meanwhile, neighbors involved with CAPS, the city’s community-policing program, want the department to return the officers to beat duty.