With the recent jury finding that the CPD's code of silence emboldened Anthony Abbate to beat up bartender Karolina Obrycka in 2007, many people are wondering if the code wields as much power as this case implies. Terry Ekl, Obrycka's lawyer, even called upon the mayor to break up the automatic deference to this code of silence by Chicago Police Officers. Yet, is it really the root cause of what happened to the bartender?
Despite my super liberal leanings, I don't think all cops are bad. I even wrote a post earlier about supporting the Fraternal Order of Police if they decided to go on strike after the teachers. If I were to judge cops solely based on my experiences with them, they'd get a great score, but it's not just about me. I believe that power corrupts, and that corruption added to the code of silence is what led to the sad beating of Karolina Obrycka.
Since cops are the enforcers of the law, and many people don't know all the various rules, officers can get away with bending the law to their own benefit. I watch Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as much as the next guy (in fact, probably more). If that show is at all a realistic depiction of what cops do to catch a bad guy, it does not bode well for the reputation of real cops. In the show, they constantly break the law, but it is easily forgiven by the audience, because in the end, they are catching a rapist or child molester. The ends justifies the means, and the means are kept quiet. The problem with that mentality is that not everyone they come into contact with is a deadbeat criminal.
So that leaves some cops to walk around with a sense of entitlement to do what they 'need' to get what they want, like beating up a bartender because "no one tells [a cop] what to do" such as ordering him to pay his tab or go home because the bar is closing. The code of silence just makes it harder to get justice when a corrupt, entitled cop gets out of line. The Huffington Post headline for this article was "She fought the law, and SHE WON." If cops are clearly in the wrong, then they should be punished more easily. It shouldn't be a big deal that someone questioned authority and WASN'T beaten down (no pun intended).
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