Thursday, August 9, 2007

Cops not 'out of control,' Daley says of 2 killings

LAW ENFORCEMENT | He urges residents to await investigations

August 9, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
The Chicago Police Department is "not out of control," Mayor Daley said Wednesday, urging family members and community leaders angry about the death of two men at the hands of police in the last week to await the outcome of internal investigations.
"Every day, Chicago Police are called. They get thousands of calls. Yes, these are two instances. They're very serious instances. They're . . . looking at it. But this is not an easy job out there," the mayor said.

Gefery Johnson, 42, died Saturday after police used a Taser and pepper spray to subdue him at his Gresham home after being summoned by family members.

Two days later, police shot and killed 18-year-old Aaron Harrison in the West Side's North Lawndale community after Harrison allegedly pointed a gun at an officer chasing him on foot.

On Wednesday, Daley withheld judgment on whether police officers acted properly. But he did not hesitate when asked about the angry reaction to the Monday night shooting. Residents threw bottles at police during what was described as a near-riot.

"Anybody starts throwing bottles at anyone else -- it's not respectful. I mean -- you may disagree or something like that. But you have to withhold" judgment, he said.

He also didn't hesitate when asked whether the community reaction to both incidents stems from distrust that the newly revamped Office of Professional Standards will conduct its investigations fairly.

"No. Historically, people don't like police. . . . They like you when they come. But they don't like the results," Daley said.

Meanwhile, some West Side church ministers and Harrison's relatives are expected to call on the U.S. Justice Department today to conduct a separate investigation on this week's shooting.

"There are a lot people who know about the shooting, but they don't feel secure talking to the police and they don't trust them," said the Rev. Robin Hood, pastor of Redeemed Outreach Ministries Church.

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